Why Does Ad Frequency Matters and What You Need to Consider?

Ad Frequency and importance of viewability

Frequency determines the amount of times an ad will be seen by an internet user. Finding the optimal frequency limit will not only determine if your ad will receive the right amount of spotlight, but it also determines whether or not your ad budget is going to waste. In our previous blog post, we wrote about the importance of viewability, but for a real digital guru consideration of frequency, optimization is a must. It will influence your potential clients’ attitude towards you – they will either have no idea you exist, recognize you from somewhere or be straight up annoyed and frustrated with you.

According to Comscore, an average internet user is exposed to 1707 banner ads each month. That is a lot of clutter to cut through if you want to get your message out there and reach your desired target audience.

There is not a defined number of times you should set your frequency. Low frequency might not deliver the results previously intended but high frequency can result in overexposure that can negatively impact your brand in customers eyes. This can deliver low CTR scores. Finding the optimal frequency highly depends on the industry you are in. The type of campaign, target audience and how detailed your targeting is. When looking at frequency there is an optimal solution when creating ad campaigns – frequency caps.

What is frequency cap?

Frequency caps determine how many times a user will be exposed to your advert. Usually you can set your frequency cap per day, lifetime or even x times per minute/hour. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ when it comes to optimal frequency cap. There are many variables and campaign overall goals that need to be remembered. In programmatic advertising frequency settings influence the whole media plan. This means that frequency should be higher especially for ad exchanges. For example, if you set your frequency to 3, it can all be spent in one publisher. Therefore, you have to keep in mind that nothing else is left for other publishers if the same user is visiting other sites.

For retargeting campaigns

Retargeting campaigns usually come with two type of goals:

  1. re-engage your page visitors by targeting them with relevant products/services
  2. increase your campaign’s conversion goals.

Retargeting campaigns have already developed audiences, who are familiar with the brand, so the likelihood of conversion is higher. What is worth thinking about is – only because a user is familiar with your brand does not automatically mean that your banner ad will be noticed if it appears on your target’s screen only once a day.
Another important aspect would be to deactivate the campaign in time – when users have made the desired actions. That way the budget will be spent efficiently. Retargeting ad campaigns should be one of the main priorities for brands. According to a study conducted by comScore, retargeted ads led to a 1046% increase in branded search. This means that retargeting ads increase overall brand awareness.

For brand awareness campaigns

Brand awareness campaigns can afford to have a high frequency per user. Its main goal is to gain recognition or to advertise something over a short period of time across the chosen target audiences. Extensive visibility equals better brand recognition and attracts new potential customers. The general costs of brand awareness campaigns are higher because of lower CTRs and immediate conversions

Banner Quality

For ad banners to be memorable ad frequency is not the only aspect you need to focus on when creating your ad campaign. The quality of the banner itself is highly accountable for the campaign’s overall quality. Keeping in mind that 86%* of consumers suffer from banner blindness, A/B testing can be useful, as choosing several ad banners for your campaign. Setting them on rotation will clearly show which banner works best with your campaign objectives and delivers highest campaign scores.

Length of the campaign

Additionally to the campaign type you have to take into consideration the length of the campaign. For long campaigns, the frequency of the whole campaign could be high in total but limited per day. This means that on a daily basis there is no overexposure to a single user because that can lead to decrease in campaign performance.

How well established is your brand?

For well-established products where businesses compete for market shares tightly, the cost of bidding off a competitor’s share may come at high frequency. Not to undermine that the message of product itself has to be convincing.

You will not find one formula for frequency, that will suit to all campaigns. The analysis of previous campaign results and careful evaluation of the goals for current campaign will give you a clear perspective of what the frequency should be.


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