You have to consider many variables when planning even a single digital ad: type of ad, visual elements, accompanying text, audience targeting, landing page composition, marketing channel and so on. When you're busy plotting the perfect combination of these factors, it's easy to forget another crucial aspect of advertising campaign planning: ad frequency.
Frequency is simply the number of times a customer will see your digital advertisement. While it might seem like an afterthought or something to figure out after you launch the campaign, frequency has huge implications on not only the success of an ad, but also on the audience's perception of your brand. If improperly managed, frequency can be the reason that ads don't deliver optimal returns or backfire altogether and estrange consumers who might otherwise be interested in your brand.
The Risk of Diminishing Returns
When it comes to ad frequency, the main risk is overwhelming consumers. Too often, brands allow their ads to be redisplayed to targets without end. Eventually, consumers notice this trend and get annoyed. After several exposures to the ad, they've already determined whether they want to engage — additional views of an ad don't increase the likelihood of an engagement. Instead, it only annoys those individuals, creating a negative brand experience and resulting in brands flushing ad dollars down the toilet as they pay for impressions that won't deliver returns. On the other hand, having a customer see an ad only once is not going to drive the results you want, either. You need to establish the fine balance of optimal frequency in the right time frame — only when you hit this sweet spot will the impressions of your digital adds lead to engagement.
Embrace Frequency Capping
The simplest way to eliminate overexposure of your ads is to use a frequency capper, which is likely available through your display ad network. With this tool, you can set a maximum number of impressions per user, after which the ad will no longer be shown to that individual. Bannersnack explains that you can typically set the maximum number of impressions based on a daily, weekly or monthly rate. When deciding on the optimal number of exposures for your campaigns, your decision should depend on how you want to manage your budget and how many impressions typically deliver strong results before a decline in performance. However, keep in mind that hitting the frequency cap with an audience doesn't mean you've run out of chances to engage those consumers — it just means you need to change your approach.
Rotate Ads to Keep Them Fresh
Another trick to address issues of frequency is to use a rotation of ads that provide different incentives or speak to different consumer motivations. Not only will these varied ads appeal to targets in different ways, but the fresh looks won't be so quick to upset your audience — even though the brand behind the ads is the same, a new design gives them a new experience and prompts new consideration. In this way, your brand can maintain a visual presence with its audience without harming your image.
Frequency caps and ad rotations should be a focus of any advertising campaign planning, especially if you need to produce additional ads to satisfy a campaign's goals. Over time, you will figure out the right balance of exposure that performs well without annoying your audience.