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Glossary keyword - Gross Rating Points

Gross Rating Points

Simply put, gross rating points or GRP is a math equation used by media planners to calculate how many consumers might have watched TV commercials. For example, if an advertiser wants to show his ads to men aged between 16 and 50 and know that 40 percent of TV viewers who are primarily males watch the car show at 9 pm. Therefore, an advertiser puts his commercial two times between 9 and 10 pm. The gross rating point would be 80:40 percent of the targeted audience reached, which is multiplied by the number of times the commercial was aired. This is just one illustration to give you an idea about how gross rating points are determined by different times of day, demographics, among other criteria. 

How does it Work?

How do experts know how many people watched anything? There are slightly under 120 million TV households in the USA, and estimates are calculated based on 40,000 TV viewers who report their watching habits daily. This is a tiny number, not even one percent of the total TV households, but unfortunately, this is the most accurate estimate available to media planners. Who invented it? There is not a straight answer, because no one knows who invented it. 

Gross Rating Points 

Gross Rating Points or GRPs have been around since the 1950s when TV advertisers started to put commercials on TVs. They were always concerned about the number of views their ads got. During the pre-internet era, gross rating points were the only way of determining the number of people businesses could reach through TV advertisements. Does GRPs measure that the commercials worked? 

GRP is a metric branding system. It is logical to think that if a person watched one commercial a lot of times, she might go out and purchase that product or service which were advertised on TV. But gross rating points cannot measure how many people switched the channel or went to the bathroom while the advertisement aired. Rating Point You might be surprised how many people who are making media decisions today do not fully appreciate this concept. A rating point merely is 1% of your target audience, no matter how you define that audience. It might be as simple as saying adults 25-50 or a little more specific such as teenage drivers. 

GRP at Work

Let’s show you a quick example. For example, let’s say you are an advertiser, and you placed schedules on three different radio stations. On one schedule, the radio station delivers an estimated number of 25 percent, another gives 42 percent, and the last one delivers 33 percent of the target audience. The figures add up to 100% for the sake of convenience. Now, does that mean you have reached 100 percent of your audience? Well, in reality, the answer is no. The reason 100 rating points do not equal 100% reach of your target audience is that people are sometimes reached more than once by your advertising message, and there is no way to control that individually. 

Some people are going to watch your ads more than others. A person who drives a delivery truck and spends all day listening to the radio very well might be reached by your message a ton of times. However, somebody who stays home and never listens to the radio will not hear the ad this way.


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