How Many Times Do You See An Ad Before Buying?

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Also known as the advertising rule of 7, it’s a common belief that customers need to see an ad seven times before making a purchase.

How often must we look at a billboard in traffic, scroll past a targeted post on Facebook, or hear the same catchy jingle before digesting and retaining it?

The scope of advertisements we see in just one day is fascinating.

In the 1970s, the average consumer in the U.S. saw around 500 ads per day.

We know we encounter about 4,000-10,000 ads in our immediate surroundings- almost 500 before leaving the house in the morning!

We don’t realize most ads are right in front of us until they tell us they exist.

You cannot just run a couple of advertisements one time and expect the customers to buy the product.

The hidden message of rule of seven is the continuous and repetitive effort that should be put in for marketing.

Repetition is one of the cornerstones of any advertising campaign and is especially important in today’s world of one-second pop-ups and social media-hungry short-term memories.

Marketing Rule of 7

In the first few times, a person will not notice the message. People are usually resistant to marketing messages by nature.

Otherwise, people will be overwhelmed by the noise made by the marketing companies. You have to compete in this noisy market.

So, you need to repeat your message until they hear you out.

It’s one of the oldest concepts in marketing.

If you’ve been in the marketing world for a while, you’ve probably heard of the rule of seven.

The marketing rule of seven states that a prospect needs to see or hear an advertiser’s message at least seven times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service.

It will create an impression on your audience. Through the rule of seven, they will hear about the value you offer many times, so the money will not be a problem.

But it begs the question if any of these methods remain accurate.

Traditionally, the number seven has been given precedence over other numbers by many cultures. Therefore, you may notice various things coming in number seven.

The important thing in the rule of seven is not the number, but the message.

This tells you that you need to let the prospect hear and see your marketing message so many times before they buy it. There are many reasons for the need for repetition.

Buyers can’t trust you and make the buying decision the first time you show your message.

But where did this rule come from?

In 1859, the marketing rule of six was introduced.

Found in the Weekly Constitutionalist, the rule of six says:

The first time a man sees an advertisement, he takes no notice of it; the second time, he looks at the name; the third time he looks at the price; the fourth time he reads it; the fifth time he speaks of it to his wife; the sixth time he buys.

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Does The Rule of 7 Work?

The rule of seven is a marketing maxim developed by the movie industry in the 1930s.

Studio bosses discovered that a certain amount of advertising and promotion was required to compel someone to see one of their movies.

Today, your odds of success are pretty slim without a clearly-defined social media strategy to map out how you’ll touch that prospect at least seven times.

You might need more than those seven times just to be heard above all the clutter in people’s newsfeeds or fields of vision. Not all touches are created equal.

Print Marketing Messages

As businesses grow and times change, you may begin to look into unconventional print advertising.

This is often linked to grocery store advertising, which we have found to be one of the best venues for local businesses.

There are many ways to present your previous mailers as supermarket advertisements by printing them on the back of receipts or printing your campaign on SmartSource carts.

How The Marketing Message Has Changed

Today, the term “ad” can mean various avenues. It can mean outdoor, print, or display advertising. It can also mean influencer posts, blogs, or referrals from friends.

In a time where ‘TikTok strategist’ is a real job title, an ad’s reach is a priority, and engagement is the end goal.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

If they see your marketing message once, they may not remember you when they want to buy the product by next week or next month.

Out of sight for marketing is out of mind. Therefore, you need to keep your marketing message in sight. Let me take an example.

Most people do see and hear about great products or services, and they make a mental note that they will buy those when they need them.

But in reality, when they buy the actual product, they go with the latest marketing message they heard or saw.

Car commercials, for example, we may see once or twice. It’s not likely someone will immediately run to the nearest dealership.

However, there’s a psychological process happening subconsciously. Most of us will become curious and at least research the vehicle.

Google is today’s go-to for all things research.

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Presenting Your Ad

That being said, we have to think about exposure, which is essentially the presentation of your advertisement.

If 1,000 versions of the same text or pop-up advertisement keep jumping up on every website you visit, you may view the product or service 1,000 times.

Still, you’re probably no more likely to buy it than initially and may be turned off by the idea.

Savvy advertisers look at these factors and try to zero in on the best way to reach their clients.

Lead With Value

The average person must see a message five to seven times before they retain the information in an ad, and may need to see the advertising ten times or more before they buy.

It all depends on consumer value perception, product, and offer.

Sometimes, people do not buy things due to the price. This has nothing to do with the product’s price or the service.

This means that you have not been able to convince the customers fully about the value of your offering.

If someone sees the value of your product or the service, they find a way to buy it. They never worry about the price if it’s the right thing they want.

Therefore, through your message, convince them about the value you offer.

Incorporate Expertise

It’s crucial to incorporate and illustrate employees’ expertise.

Their knowledge can only be accessed by engaging with your business, bringing value to your brand, and differentiating you from your competition.

Keep in mind that while great stories attract new customers, your engaging content keeps current customers engaged and coming back for more.

We talk more passionately about things we care about than things we’re ambivalent about.

Social Media

Social media allows retailers to engage a customer often seven times every day!

This is accomplished by sharing content, interacting with users, and targeting ads to people who are interested in what you sell.

Social media (and all digital marketing) takes thoughtful content strategy to engage customers at every buying process level, including those not in-market yet and those who have already purchased.

Much of social media can be categorized as a “light touch” in that a Facebook wall post or a tweet can go by so quickly that the message is not absorbed, except perhaps subliminally. 

The unanswered question is how are these social media actions valued, if at all. 


  • Do they create more noise in the channel that causes the buyer to overlook the message completely? 

  • For that matter, how many banner ads do people see?

  • So, which part of the entire sales process is best?  

  • The most cost-effective? 

  • The most productive?

Old Marketing vs. New Marketing

Old school marketing messages (such as broadcast and print) lack a reason to connect. Without meaning, messages are lost in the din of content in your customers’ lives.

Socially-savvy retailers publish marketing messages that come in the form of useful content that delights their intended audience.

These messages tell stories that create an emotional connection. Two things shape buying decisions: stories told and the memories they leave behind.

It’s a fact that storytellers make emotional connections.

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Sales vs. Advertising

The sales department’s job is to close the transaction: overt and costly, but necessary. – Advertising is overt, and has a broad reach at a reasonable cost per contact.

Publicity tells your story in-depth, and increases credibility and visibility. When done right, it has a meager cost per contact. The goal is first to build familiarity and trust. 

Most marketers agree that there should be a blend of advertising and publicity (or public relations), which eventually brings a customer and a salesperson together at the point of sale.

Each type of contact has its own level of importance. Aggressive display ads get attention, but not as much as personal sales calls.  The price of such ads can be quite high.

A 500-word PR article about your company has a different effect and can be quite cost-efficient. 

A well-orchestrated sales plan uses a mix of all types of contacts (touches), including social media.

Video Testimonials

Video testimonials are incredibly compelling and get noticed by Google when you optimize them on YouTube.

They can also be used on Facebook and LinkedIn as influential ways to reinforce your credibility. A powerful video testimonial may even be the deciding factor that makes your deal.

A New Customer Landscape

Connect to cultural ideologies that are current and powerful. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas.

Increasingly conscious and informed consumers are moving away from blind allegiances to brands and exploring what’s personally right for them.

We’re entering a consumer-first landscape where relationships with brands are symbiotic and based on shared ideals, values, and mutually beneficial interactions.

Let The Customer Know Who You Are

Market research continuously proves the obvious:  a person needs to know you, your reputation, and your product or service before they are willing to purchase. 

Building visibility, familiarity, and a positive reputation take time and a series of memorable contacts.

Not knowing the business is why people do not buy your products or services. Let them know who you are through the rule of seven.

The more they hear about you, the higher they will accept you.

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The Reality of The Marketing World

Most of the time, most people just get on with their lives, and you only become noticeable when you upset them. That is why, of course, ad agency creatives get paid.

To get you noticed and to get your message across. But is getting your message across enough?

Ultimately, you need them to buy your brand of whatever product or service you are providing to get a positive marketing ROI when they may not have done so otherwise.

We should approach mass communication as a last resort – a mayday, if you will. If your message needs to be said from the stage, it means you are sinking, and you need help.

You speak and interact with your audience every week. You should be speaking with them even more consistently than that.

Lead Generation With Kennected

If you searched Google for Kennected, you’d find search results relating to “leads,” “sales,” and “LinkedIn.”

Kennected specializes in lead generation, which is the point of any marketing rule. But not just any lead generation. We’re talking hundreds of leads within weeks of LinkedIn prospecting.

Automated prospecting is the future of marketing, and you check out our website for solutions that will serve your company.

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