Repeat, Repeat…Repeat? Finding the Right Repetition in Radio Advertising

When used poorly, repetition in advertising can be just plain annoying. (We’re sure you can think of some examples.) But when it’s incorporated well, repetition can help make a marketing message stick—especially in radio advertising.

Today’s post will take a look at the nuances of effective repetition and why it’s necessary to your radio advertising strategy.

Theories on Repetition in Advertising

Marketers agree universally that a person typically needs to be exposed to a message more than once in order to remember it and ultimately take action. Repetition in branding serves to keep your business top-of-mind while building familiarity and credibility. It can be a key ingredient in what makes household names and go-to brands.

More than 30 years ago, a classic public work on the subject of repetition in advertising—Effective Frequency—claimed that three was the optimum number of times you want a customer to hear your ad. Unfortunately, the exact formula for the repetition required in your marketing plan to achieve that frequency isn’t something marketers agree on—probably because no two people, brands, or campaigns are exactly the same!

Why does any of this matter? Consider the two-factor theory, which states that repetition will have a positive impact over a certain period of time—but then will have an increasingly negative impact if repetition continues. Do you want that for your marketing messages?

So How Much is Enough in Radio Advertising?

Even if the number three was truly the optimum frequency needed, that doesn’t mean you can place three radio commercials and expect optimum results. After all, how can you guarantee a listener will hear all three? Complicating matters further is any existing influence your brand already has in the market. You may expect an unknown brand to experience ad wearout (i.e., when what’s initially positive becomes annoying) at a slower rate than familiar brands, but in reality the opposite is true. Brands that audiences are very familiar with will actually maintain positive responses to repetition for a longer period of time.

Repetition in radio can help your message land, but as you might be starting to realize, finding a balance between too little and too much repetition is a delicate process. Too little repetition means it won’t have any impact at all, while too much starts to take us into the second half of the two-factor theory described above.

It’s important to note here that repetition doesn’t have to mean repeating a call-to-action word-for-word or using the exact iteration of a script over and over. A family of ads with a similar message but slightly different creative executions can help reset where your campaign is on the two-factor spectrum.

Lean on Radio Experts to Find the Right Repetition

How many radio spots you produce and place will ultimately depend on how many stations you utilize, which dayparts your ads will air on, not to mention listening habits of your target audience. You may need five spots per station per week—or you may need 15. Be sure you talk to your media partner to zero in on a specific number for your exact needs and goals.

Share This

Posted in


Stay on top of industry news and trends.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Recent Posts



There's so much more to talk about.

They say word of mouth is the best advertising. Well, we’ve got a big mouth. But in a good way. A way that drives interest and demand in your business. Check it out!