What is frequency capping? Here’s how it can help your ad campaigns.
What is frequency capping?
Frequency capping is a technique that limits the number of times each ad is shown to individual customers. It can also be called impression capping. Repeatedly showing the same ads or having a high frequency of ads can make ads less interesting. It can cause customers to become less inclined to read or click ads, and interaction and engagement subsequently drop.
Frequency capping is useful to consider when using a supply-side platform (SSP), which is programmatic software that provides advertisers with tools such as analytics reports and ad inventory management.
Why is frequency capping important?
Frequency capping can help brands show their customers ads at a frequency that keeps content interesting for them. It helps customize ad viewability, bringing the right ads to the right customers, and also ensures campaign budgets aren’t being spent on ads that are more likely to be ignored. Also, there isn’t a downside to paying attention to ad frequency, since it can help with the optimization of ad campaigns, including both video and display, based on your audiences you want to reach.
How does frequency capping work?
Frequency capping measures the number of times a particular ad is shown to customers and prevents it from being repeated to customers who have already seen it a certain amount of times. A few key terms necessary for defining frequency are cap impression frequency, cap view frequency, time capping, and dayparting.
Cap impression frequency
Cap impression frequency is the number of times an ad in a campaign will be shown to customers. Basically, it’s the cutoff for ads to ensure they’re not repeatedly shown to the same customers three, four, five, or a dozen times.
Cap view frequency
Cap view frequency is the number of times the ads in a campaign get views or interactions from the same customers. Paying attention to this number will help determine the interest levels of customers if they see the same ads—and where that interest starts dropping.
Time capping is a form of frequency capping that limits the time frame in which an ad is shown, rather than the number of times it’s shown. Time capping would allow a certain ad to have a set number of occurrences in a specific period of time, whereas frequency capping limits the number of times the ad is shown regardless of the time period.
Dayparting is more closely related to pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, but it can still be relevant to frequency capping settings. Dayparting is a technique used to show ads at different times of the day, when they’ll be most relevant to customers. For example, a brand selling breakfast kitchenware could try advertising in the morning, or a brand advertising sporting events could advertise on mobile apps during evening game times.
How is the optimal frequency cap determined?
There is not one set frequency cap that works for everyone. It depends on your brand’s audience and unique ad campaigns. The best way to determine your brand’s optimal frequency cap is to begin testing and pay close attention to where the drop-off of customers’ interactions occurs. Consider capping the number of times an ad is shown per day, for example.
Frequency capping best practices
Here are several steps to get you started with frequency management and capping. Timing is everything when it comes to frequency capping, including the viewability of your ads, when your audience shows the most interest in ads, and spikes in click-through rate (CTR) of ads.
Pay attention to viewability rate
The viewability rate is an ad’s viewable impressions over served impressions, so it tells you how many times users see your ads compared to how many times it was shown. An example of an ad that is shown but not seen is an ad that appears lower on a web page that would need readers to scroll to reach it. If readers don’t scroll, the ad could technically be shown to them but never actually seen by them. To combat that, ads can have lazy loading, which means that the ads aren’t loaded until readers scroll down to the ad’s location on the page.
Customize frequency caps throughout the customer journey
Frequency capping can be closely tied to the stages of customers’ journeys. Using a blanket frequency cap, or a sole frequency cap for a variety of ads, isn’t a recommended practice. Different customers at different stages of their shopping journeys, such as brand-new customers or pre-existing customers, could want different information from ads.
Consider creative rotation
In addition to frequency and dayparting, another aspect of ad and video campaigns to consider is creative rotation. To keep ads interesting for customers, creative rotation is the practice of making updates to the sequence and timing of ads shown to customers. By showing a variety of creative images at various times and frequencies, campaigns can have a longer life before interest begins to drop.
Frequency capping examples
Frequency capping in audio campaigns
In a 2020 Amazon Ads study on audio campaigns, a higher frequency cap helped increase brand awareness for top-performing audio advertisers. For the top-performing audio advertisers, we found that a minimum 30-day campaign period and a 5x or a 6x frequency cap was a way to help increase consideration.
Amazon Marketing Cloud and L'Oréal
A recent study by L'Oréal found that after an ad was shown four times, it became less effective for customers. By testing with Amazon Marketing Cloud, they were able to pinpoint their drop-off point in customer conversions.
Flexispot’s frequency capping and dayparting
The ergonomic furniture brand Flexispot studied frequency capping and dayparting in their ad campaigns and found that conversions seemed high after 2 p.m. They used this information to create a strategy of time-based advertising that reached customers making purchases in the
Setting frequency caps with Amazon DSP
You can get started with frequency caps for your digital advertising campaigns with Amazon DSP. After you begin looking at your metrics and analytics, you can create a custom frequency cap rule for your ad campaigns.