Ad frequency and its limits

I’m sure almost anyone who has been online has experienced ad fatigue – seeing the same ad again and again and wondered why ads are still being shown to you after you clearly haven’t converted. It’s annoying for users, but it’s annoying for advertisers too because their ads are being ignored and they are wasting money. That’s where ad frequency capping comes into play.

Ad frequency is the number of times a user will see an ad in a given amount of time, ad frequency capping is limiting this. Facebook allows you to set frequency caps on your ads. On Google Ads you can set ad frequency limits for Display and Video campaigns.

When creating your ad, think about the message it is displaying: is it reminding someone of a process they haven’t completed? Is it sending a message to a new customer who you think will be interested in your product or service? Is it advertising new products to an existing customer?

lightbulb on blackboard

Different ads would require different frequency capping. Ads for a novel product which is being targeted through demographic and interests audiences, is probably less welcomed for the 10th time in a week, than an ad for an abandoned basket on an e-commerce store seen for the 2nd time in 2 days.

Bear in mind that frequency capping requires 2 variables and how these variables are situated together will vary between what you’re advertising. Firstly, you need to think about how many times you want your ad to be seen by a single individual. Seeing an ad 2 times in a day but then never again (or long enough that the users has forgets they saw an ad) might serve your business just right – think of a customer on Just Eat seeing an ad reminding them to book their dinner, after having visited the site in the morning. After that day is up the ad might be redundant because the user may not want a takeaway the following day(s). Alternatively, ads for a new car might linger on for longer but be more spread out, as this type of decision takes more time.

One thing to remember is that advertising platforms cannot guarantee that customers will only see your ad the number of times you specify, even so a cap will definitely help limit this compared to no cap.

Making amazing, stand out and interesting ads is all good and well, but to ensure these ads have the right effect you need to understand how many times and for how long your audience should see your ads. Setting appropriate ad frequency capping could help you out a lot.