Identify unknown potential with the TURF Analysis


The abbreviation TURF stands for Total Unduplicated Reach & Frequency. To be precise, the TURF method is not a survey method per se, but can be applied to a variety of different question types — even after the survey is already done. The aim of the method is to determine which product portfolio, marketing mix or even product variants appeal to the highest number of customers and hence, expand the potential target group. 


1. What is the TURF Analysis?

TURF Analysis is a way of analysing existing data. Its origin lies in media research, where it was developed in order to determine the reach for advertising campaigns.


With the TURF method, it was originally possible to calculate with which combination of channels each person of the desired target group could be reached at least once (Unduplicated Reach) and how often the target group becomes aware of the product or campaign through the media mix (Frequency).


The use of this method in media research was therefore aimed at maximising the efficiency of a campaign without having to increase the budget.


But this goal is not only pursued in media and campaign planning, it can also be applied to many other areas. Hence, the TURF Analysis is no longer used only in media planning, but also as a tool for assortment planning and the development or optimisation of product portfolios. Thus, the metrics of reach and frequency are not analysed for one campaign, but for an entire portfolio.


Basically, the main two questions answered by this method are:

  1. How many and which products do I need in my portfolio in order to reach the largest possible target group? (Reach)
  2. On average, how many products would a person from the target group buy from my product portfolio? (Frequency)


2. Examples for the TURF method

In addition to its original use in media research and planning, the TURF Analysis is also used for product planning, claim testing or product and advertising placement. This is because the TURF (Total Unduplicated Reach and Frequency) components are also of central importance in these areas. 


Furthermore, limiting factors that have an influence in the planning of the portfolio or the campaign are taken into account.

These limitations are, for example, budget or limited space (e.g. on the supermarket shelf or on the packaging).


Below are some sample questions that can be answered using a TURF Analysis:

  • There's only enough space for four types of ice cream in my refrigerated counter. Which varieties should I include in order to reach as many customers as possible on the one hand, but also offer each person on average more than one variety that they like?
  • I already have various fruit juices in my range. Are there other fruit juices that could appeal to new customers and, would the costs associated with a new product launch be covered by the additional revenue?
  • On the product packaging there's only space for one of the two USPs of the product. Which one needs to be printed to appeal to the most customers?
  • For a new campaign, print ads are to be printed in several magazines. However, the budget is only enough for two magazines. In which magazines can the most customers be reached and at the same time develop several touchpoints with them?
  • A café's product range is to be expanded to include oat milk in order to offer more milk alternatives. Can new customers be reached through the expansion, or will this only address the existing customer base?


The TURF analysis is very versatile and can therefore also be used in the areas of


  1. Assortment management
  2. Marketing and activation 
  3. Category Management
  4. Advertisement and media planning


to identify potential and subsequently use them as efficiently as possible.


3. How to use the method

It does not take much to conduct a TURF Analysis. In fact, since it is not a stand-alone survey, it can be conducted with a variety of survey types, such as a Multiple Choice or Matrix question in a conjoint analysis or a MaxDiff analysis. No special question or survey methodology needs to be considered to conduct a TURF Analysis.

We have summarised more about the different question types in our survey guide.


TURF method example

Let's take a closer look at the TURF Analysis using an example: fruit juices. We want to address new customers with additional fruit juice varieties without endangering cost coverage, so it is necessary to determine which varieties bring the greatest added value. 


A Multiple Choice question could be used to identify the flavours generally preferred by consumers. All available flavours are listed and then displayed in the Multiple Choice evaluation according to popularity.


TURF_MC Basics EN (1)


At first glance, the Multiple Choice results seem unambiguous and one would probably choose the flavours orange, apple, peach and passion fruit, as these can be clearly identified as favourites in the evaluation.


The problem with this is that since it is a Multiple Choice question and each participant can give multiple answers, it is possible that the 64% of participants who like orange juice also like the other three flavours. So the groups may overlap and despite offering four different flavours we only reach 64% of the target group.


So, in order to expand the target group, it may be that one of the less popular flavours should be added to the range. In this case, the TURF Analysis can be used to calculate which flavour combination reaches the most customers.




4. Evaluating the TURF Analysis with Appinio

So now we know a potential use case for the TURF method. But what results are we getting with this analysis?

In the first step of the TURF Analysis with Appinio, a waterfall diagram is the output that indicates how many more customers can be reached with more products.


TURF Wasserfall EN

With one variety (orange in our juice example) we already reach 64% of all customers. With a second variety, an additional 14% can be reached, with a third another 8% and with four varieties a total of 91% of all customers can be reached. 

Now a question arises: Why not add a fifth variety, which can reach another 2% of customers? 


The answer is simple. Even if another 2% can be reached, there are costs associated with producing a fifth variety. The juice producer in the example knows the costs of the product launch and how much additional income 2% more customers would generate. If the costs exceed the income generated by the variety, the introduction of a further variety is not economically worthwhile.


Now the optimal portfolio size has been finally determined — but which flavours should be offered?


Portfolio Tabelle EN


These tables show the optimal variety combination depending on the portfolio size. For the juice example, the flavours orange, apple, grapefruit and mango should be chosen. In this table, the values Reach and Frequency are also provided. 


With this portfolio, the reach is 91% of all customers. Of these, on average everyone likes 2.3 of the varieties offered (Frequency) and will most likely buy several.


5. Advantages and disadvantages


The TURF Analysis offers many advantages and this makes it indisputably the most popular method when it comes to determining sales potential.

  • The method is very flexible and can be used for almost all topics in assortment, category and media planning.
  • Since the two metrics are calculated directly, the potential can be determined both for the number of products per purchase (Frequency = how many products does a customer like on average?) and for sales (Reach = which products really reach new customers?) with one evaluation.
  • With the TURF Analysis, cannibalisation of products can also be determined. Often, the analysis can show that a smaller portfolio is more efficient.



But there is also a disadvantage to TURF Analysis. The TURF Analysis is only suitable when the problem is clearly defined. Other influences, such as competitors and substitute products, are not automatically included in the analysis and they have to be included manually to be taken into consideration. 


With the help of the TURF Analysis (Total Unduplicated Reach and Frequency), differentiated and  detailed insights into the preferences of a target group can be gained. The optimal product portfolio, colour combinations, media mix and even sales locations can be determined quickly and easily in order to reach new target groups and be cost-efficient at the same time.


The biggest advantage of the method, however, lies in its flexibility. It can be combined with a variety of surveys, such as a MaxDiff or conjoint analysis, as long as a multiple choice question is included in the questionnaire.

Are you interested in conducting a TURF Analysis? Feel free to reach out to our research consultants any time!

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