If you run digital ad campaigns on Facebook, you would like to know how many times your target audience should ideally see your advertisements.
This blog covers what should be an ideal Facebook ad frequency and how digital marketers can manage it.
What is Facebook Ad Frequency?
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Facebook Ad Frequency?
- 2 Why is Facebook Ad Frequency Important?
- 3 What is the Ideal Facebook Ad Frequency?
- 4 Factors Affecting Your Facebook Ad Frequency
- 5 How to Add Facebook Ad Frequency into Reporting?
- 6 Steps to Perfect Your Facebook Ad Frequency
- 7 Conclusion
Facebook ad frequency may be defined as the average number of times each target audience sees your ad.
Let’s delve a little deeper into this:
- Impressions: Number of times your Facebook ad was displayed.
- Reach: Number of unique users your ad reached.
- Frequency: The average number of times the ad was served to each target audience.
- Frequency = Impressions / Reach
For instance, if your Reach is 13,586 and Ad Impressions are 17,190, then it implies that your ad is viewed 17,190 times by 13,586 unique users. Thus, your Facebook ad frequency is 17190/13586 = 1.27
However, Ad Frequency is only an average and may not depict the exact figure. This is because some people in your target audience may be reached several times by your ad, while there are others who may be reached only once. It is only the overall averages that Facebook reports.
Why is Facebook Ad Frequency Important?
What happens when your Facebook ads don’t perform as per your expectations? You check the Click through Rate (CTR), Cost per Click (CPC) and ultimately the Cost per Conversion (CPA) to evaluate what went wrong. Do you ever consider the fact that if your ad shows up only fewer times, it fails to create a strong impression? It easily gets missed and people tend to forget the ad over time.
On the flip side, if your advertisement shows up too many times, it can have a negative impact on your target audience and the ad may lose its Relevance Score.
Therefore, it is important to know what is the ideal Frequency that you should follow for your ad campaigns.
The metrics like CTR and CPA only tell you HOW an ad campaign is performing but highlights nothing about WHY it is doing good or bad. So, it isn’t enough to optimize your ad’s CTR and CPA. But to truly understand why your Facebook ad campaigns aren’t performing as expected, you will need to analyze its Frequency.
Here are two primary reasons why it is vital to take Ad Frequency into consideration, and why maintaining the optimal frequency matters.
1. You Tend to Irritate Your Audience
While insignificant ad frequency can easily make your audience overlook it, a higher ad frequency does not necessarily mean people will fall in love with your brand. As a customer, how would you feel if you visit Facebook and the same ad shows up for 180 consecutive days? What if you have already purchased a product online and you are still targeted with an ad to buy that product? Irritating, right? Your customers feel the same way! And this can be expensive for your business.
Therefore, it is crucial to know how much is good for your users.
2. Banner Blindness
Banner blindness is one of the most important aspects that marketers should consider when advertising. When exposed to around 5000 ads per day, the human brain develops a self-defense mechanism that tends to filter out banner ads completely from the content when viewing. Right when the mind understands that there are banner ads in a particular position of Facebook or recognizes design as a banner, it will simply filter it out. And that would badly impact the Click-Through Rate.
As ad frequency increases, your target audience is exposed more to banner blindness, resulting in poor effectiveness of the campaign. This will lower your CTR while increasing your CPA and CPA.
So, you can clearly understand that marketers should monitor their Facebook ad campaigns constantly to evaluate how the frequency is affecting them.
What is the Ideal Facebook Ad Frequency?
Now the question arises – what is the optimal ad frequency that you should have?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach here. It all depends on the type of industry and your margins. However, there lies a correlation between the ad frequency and campaign performance. A study by AdEspresso showed stunning results. According to the report, as ad frequency increased, the CTR decreased and the average Cost per Click increased. See the chart below:
|Frequency||CTR Decrease||CPC Increase|
The results are depicted in the chart below:
At frequency 9, the average CPC increased by 161% as compared to the starting of the campaign.
As a rule of thumb, keep your ad frequency to somewhere within 2 – 3.4 to ensure high effectiveness. This means it becomes ineffective after you have served the same ad to the same audience three or four times.
Factors Affecting Your Facebook Ad Frequency
So, how do advertisers determine what should be the ideal frequency for their ads? In this regard, Facebook has a comprehensive analysis – Effective Frequency: Reaching Full Campaign Potential – which you can certainly check out to identify the various factors that impact ad frequency.
When should a company take low-frequency approach? At which stage should companies consider having high ad frequency? How contributing factors like Market, Message, and Media affects your frequency levels?
All these and much more are covered in Facebook’s Frequency Factors Chart below:
The chart clearly and concisely defines how advertisers may benefit from various frequency levels.
In addition to the above, there are some other factors that can affect your ad performance and should be considered when monitoring your Facebook ad frequency.
- Ad Creative: When you expose your target audience to multiple similar looking ad creatives several times a day, it can be extremely annoying for them. They tend to overlook the ads or lose interest. The imagery or copies look highly similar, and they consider those as the same advertisement being served to them time and again. This can deeply impact your Relevance Score, CTR and
A good way to overcome this problem is by adding variations to the ad creative. When the ads look new and fresh, high frequency can pose less threat. In such cases, multiple exposures can be beneficial in creating brand awareness and improving your product perception.
Let’s understand this with an example. Suppose there are 5 ads about football. In an ad campaign with less creative variation, you might show 5 copies of a football team, each with slight variations that do not catch the eyes. When a user is exposed to these ads repetitively, they are more likely to be irritated because they may consider the ‘different’ ads to be the same as they look so alike.
On the other hand, a campaign that includes high variations in ad creative, each might showcase a different football team, imagery or text. Therefore, even if your audiences are exposed to the ads multiple times a day, they might be less disgusted because they get to see different topics or creatives in each advertisement. So if you have a high number of creatives, each different from one another and all receiving good impressions, then high frequency tends to cause lesser issues.
- Ad Placement: Your ad placement on Facebook is how your target audience bumps into your post, and this can impact your results considerably. For instance, the Right Column on Facebook is considered less intrusive as people are already accustomed to see ads in this position on typical websites. Therefore, you may a high volume of ad placements in the Right Column having high frequency is less likely to cause problems.
Advertisers mostly prefer high frequency for Right Column placements when the campaign objective is to garner more eyeballs for only the ad – for instance, Reach. Right Column is often the lowest cost placement, and this makes it budget-friendly to opt for high frequency.
However, if the campaign goal is to drive an action, such as Video Views or Conversions, the Right Column may not be the ideal option because it tends to drive poor user engagement. You can leverage Facebook’s optimization tools to choose the right placement that helps achieve the specific action you want.
How to Add Facebook Ad Frequency into Reporting?
Within your Facebook Ads Manager, you have the option to add Frequency metric into your reporting view – Ad Set, Ad Level or Campaign. Here are the steps for you:
Step 1: Sign into your Facebook Ads Manager. On the top right corner below the date range, you will have a tab called “Columns: Performance”. Under this tab, select “Customize Columns” to add different data points that you want to export.
Step 2: From different metrics available against “Customize Columns” option, select “Frequency.” From the right side panel, you can move each of the metrics to change the order in which they should appear.
Now you can track your Facebook Ad Frequency within Ads Manager, considering your Reach and Impressions.
There is another way you can manage your Ad Frequency, and that is through finding the correlation between Relevance Score and Frequency. The concept is similar to that of Reach and Impressions – higher the frequency, the lower the Relevance Score of your advertisement. This is because when you serve the same ad to the same audience repetitively, it tends to become less important to the audience. As such, the Relevance Score lowers. At a high frequency of 7 – 8, your score may reduce to 1 or 2.
Therefore, it is crucial to monitor your Relevance Score thoroughly for each advertisement to determine the tipping point when you should focus on optimizing the campaign.
Steps to Perfect Your Facebook Ad Frequency
When frequency plays an integral role in overall ad performance, the question arises – how we can perfect it?
Here are some valuable tips for you.
Let Facebook Optimize Your Ad Delivery
In Ads Manager, Facebook has the option to optimize your ad frequency for a single delivery option – Link Clicks, Impressions, and Daily Unique Reach.
- Link Clicks: When you optimize the ad campaign for Link Clicks, you will have to pay per click. On selecting this option, Facebook will serve the ad to the same target audience until the campaign runs out of time or the budget gets exhausted. It features unlimited frequency. But after showing the ad 3-4 times, Facebook will start displaying it less often to the same audience.
- Impressions: Under this option, you will pay per thousand impressions. It is ideal for creating brand awareness, and the campaigns are optimized with no limit to frequency. However, it is important to understand that your audience will easily lose interest and the ad will lose its relevance if you do not monitor the frequency closely.
To avoid annoying its users, the social media giant automatically sets a limit on the number of times people can see your advertisement per day. This is applicable when you run link clicks or impressions campaigns as there is no limit to the frequency in these options. According to Facebook, a page fan can see your advertisement up to 4 times a day, while a non-fan can be served by the ad up to 2 times a day. However, this does not apply to small audiences (less than 5000) or in case of right column placement.
- Daily Unique Reach: Facebook does not have a magic button to stop your ad campaign from going live when frequency reaches the tipping point, but there is certainly the option to optimize ad delivery to Daily Unique Reach. By selecting this option, Facebook will display the ad to the maximum number of users in your audience set, but the daily frequency is set to 1 per day. This is applicable for all ad placements.
A disadvantage of this is that Facebook will no longer optimize the ad campaign for action. So, you can see lesser engagement and clicks in terms of likes, shares, and comments. Still, Daily Unique Reach is a good choice if your lead list is huge and you want to build a custom audience.
To select the above options in the Facebook Ads Manager, go to “Edit Ad Set”>> Optimization & Pricing, and then choose Link Clicks, Impressions, or Daily Unique Reach.
- Reach and Frequency Buying
Facebook provides an advanced ad-buying tool – Reach and Frequency Buying – that allows marketers to buy ad campaigns while having more control over how many persons you can reach with the campaign (Reach) and how frequently they will be served by your ads (Frequency). This alternative method of buying ads in advance ensures more optimized and predictable reach, with controlled frequency. However, the tool is now available only to qualifying ad accounts and you may not be able to use the option at this time.
The tool can be beneficial in increasing awareness of your product or service, improve brand perception, and drive sales. It works on the concept that “reaching a higher number of people can be a more efficient strategy for brand advertisers than targeting a narrower, more precise audience.”
An advertiser with high brand awareness and large market share can efficiently use this tool to control the number of times their ads are shown to people in order to increase the number of users who are served with the ads. By limiting their ad frequency to just 1 or 2 times a week, they can reach a significant segment of their target audience.
On the other hand, for new advertisers with smaller campaigns and low market share, the high-frequency strategy would be appropriate initially to create an impactful brand presence. However, there are several factors that influence the optimum ad frequency level, which we had discussed earlier in this blog.
To know how to set up a Reach and Frequency Campaign, click here.
- Reach Objective
Facebook advertisers may choose to Reach objective to build brand awareness or display their ad to as many users in the audience set as possible. It maximizes the number of people seeing the ads and how frequently they see them. Using this option, you can increase your Reach or Impressions throughout the campaign. At the same time, you have the choice to set frequency controls to determine how many times the ad is displayed to a person and the minimum number of days when they see it.
To set up a campaign with Reach objective, click here.
- Strike a Balance between Your Ad Budget and Audience Size
If you have a tight daily budget, the frequency is less likely to become a problem even with a smaller audience set. However, if you have a high budget and you still target small audience size, high frequency will cause a major impact on the ad performance and relevance. Thus, if your daily budget is hundreds of dollars, you will have to target a broader audience base to ensure that high ad frequency does not cause an issue with user engagement.
When there is a balance between your ad spend and target audience, your campaign’s ad frequency will automatically remain at the optimum level.
- Target Ads to Custom Audiences
Nothing can be worse than serving the same ad to someone who is not interested or who has already purchased your product or service. In this way, you just don’t irritate the customer, but will also piss him off. To prevent this, you can use Facebook’s Custom Audiences option to exclude them from your ad targeting, unless there is something new to upsell.
- Bring in New Ad Creatives
When the frequency of your ad campaign starts reaching the tipping point, an ideal way to keep a tap on it is by introducing new designs and images that can help combat banner blindness. With new and fresh ad creative, you can retarget the same audience again and the results might be better.
Facebook has a built-in frequency cap that can help address the problem of high frequency. It mentions the following:
This frequency cap can be good to start with, but you can still reach a high frequency, particularly if you have a smaller audience base.
Therefore, it is important that you should manually monitor your ad campaigns and tweak it when the frequency exceeds the tipping point. At any point of time if you find your target audience is getting fatigued with a high frequency of your ad, there are several techniques you can apply – add new creative, lower your ad spend, broaden the target audience, or pause your Ads, Ad Sets, or Campaigns.
It is imperative to consider ad frequency when launching an ad campaign on Facebook. Remember, frequency often affects your Reach, Impressions, and Relevance Score – driving the ad performance and cost up & down.
However, there isn’t any ideal Facebook Ad Frequency that you should strive to attain. It entirely depends on your industry, target audience size, ad budget, and message that you want to convey. Here is a quick overview of what you should keep in mind:
- High frequency can result in audience fatigue, affecting your results considerably.
- Banner blindness is a result of multiple exposures to the same ad content, which can impact your overall ad performance – CTR and CPA.
- According to Facebook, an ideal ad frequency is 1 to 2 times, while proper optimization techniques should be in place when it reaches a tipping point of 3.4
- Facebook provides certain options to control your ad frequency, depending on the campaign goal you wish to attain.
- Variations in ad creative and high volume placements can reduce the impact of high frequency, however, when the objective is primarily on gaining ad visibility and not any specific action.
- Continuously monitor your campaign performance to identify frequency tipping point, and optimize it manually to avoid affecting the Relevance Score.
Do you take frequency into consideration when analyzing your Facebook ad performance? If yes, share your thoughts on how you control your ad frequency.