Frequency: aspects to consider

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 optimisation is a must, as it will most likely 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, nonetheless some things are pretty clear - low frequency might not deliver the results previously intended, however high frequency can result in overexposure that can negatively impact your brand in customers eyes and 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.

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, as there are many variables and campaign overall goals that need to be taken into consideration. In programmatic advertising frequency settings influence the whole media plan, thereby 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 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 - either re-engage your page visitors by targeting them with relevant products/services or your aim is to increase campaign's conversion goals. Retargeting campaigns have already developed audiences, who are familiar with the brand, so the likelihood of conversion is higher. Nonetheless, 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 definitely be one of the main priorities for brands, as according to a study conducted by comScore, retargeted ads led to a 1046% increase in branded search, meaning that retargeting ads increase overall brand awareness.

For brand awareness campaigns
Brand awareness campaigns can afford to have a high frequency per user as 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, in this case, be useful, as choosing several ad banners for your campaign and setting them on rotation will clearly show which banner works best with your campaign objectives and delivers highest campaign scores.

Length of the campaign
Nonetheless, additionally to the campaign type, the length of the campaign also needs to be taken into consideration. For long campaigns the frequency of the whole campaign could be high in total, but limited per day - so that on daily basis there is no overexposure to a single user as that can lead to decrease in campaign performance.

How 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 only 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, only 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.

* Reference