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Facebook Advertising Frequency and Conversion

Facebook Advertising Frequency and Conversion

When an Ad is seen too often it can suffer from banner blindness and ad fatigue.  There are a few tricks to get around this.  Simply insert a new background image, change up the color scheme or even reverse the text and you have practically created brand new ad copy.


Understand Ad Frequency

Ad frequency is Facebook’s method of tracking how many times a display ad was shown to the same person. Ad frequency is calculated by the number of impressions an ad delivers divided by the number of unique visitors who were reached by the ad. Ad frequency is also influenced by your account’s budget and your target audience (e.g. their interests and Facebook behavior).

Users usually use three different bids for their campaigns:

  • Cost per click (CPC) – Paying a monetary amount for each time someone clicks on an ad or a link.
  • Cost per 1000 impressions (CPM) – Paying for each time an ad delivers over 1000 impressions.
  • Other – cost per result, cost per lead, cost per app install, etc.- mainly used for e-commerce, mobile, and app install campaigns.

Advertisements are subject to an auction where Facebook evaluates which ad will best serve its audience. The maximum bid, estimated audience actions and ad relevance all determine which ads will be served to a specific audience.  It is important to understand that measuring your CTR, CPC, CPM and Daily Unique Reach only tell advertisers how an ad is performing, not why it reached that performance level. This is why ad frequency is so valuable to a Facebook ad campaign.


Why We Care About Frequency

Over the years, and across campaigns in many different verticals, it has shown that a certain degree of Frequency correlates to, if not directly causes, improvements in CTR and decreases in CPC (and ultimately CPA). However too low or too high of Frequency can cause just the opposite: low CTR and increased costs.

Ad frequency indicates the effectiveness of your current targeting efforts. Users can measure ad frequency in three ways: display ad frequency, ad group frequency, and ad campaign frequency.  Typically, Facebook advertisements tackling a horizontal market would optimally want to reach around a 1-2 ad frequency. Possessing an ad frequency of 1 and under indicates that your ads are too spread out and not reaching your target audience. An ad frequency above 4 in the newsfeed and 8 in the right ad column would usually start to suffer from banner blindness.

From doing deep dives into our partners’ in-house campaigns, and from our own tests, we’ve noted that low CTR usually results in inefficient bidding and higher costs to reach the target audience.

We also use Frequency rates to optimize our partners’ creative refreshes. While CTRs may dip due to daily fluctuations, combining a significant dip in CTR with the observation that Frequency has surpassed 5 allows Ampush analysts to more confidently conclude that it’s time for a creative refresh.


How Can Facebook Ad Frequency Impact Campaigns?

Showing an ad too few times will fail to leave a lasting impression – the ad will be easy to miss and forget. Conversely, should a user see the ad too many times, the high-frequency rate can have an adverse effect by attracting negative comments or feedback which lowers your ad’s Relevance Score (see how that impacts your spending efficiency). As your Facebook ad Frequency rises, it also becomes increasingly less likely that a user will click on the ad.

We suggest that campaigns consist of several phases, variants, or sequences to increase the total exposure without driving up the Frequency of any single ad set. We test numerous variables (color, spokesperson, messaging angle, etc) to see which drive the strongest performance. We then work to create new iterations of the top performing ads, focusing on those variables. By doing this, you can hit users with unique messaging and avoid making them feel like they’re being hit over the head with the same ad repeatedly.

We also monitor each of our partners’ campaigns closely for slight changes in CTR and Frequency to ensure maximum efficiency of spend. For most of our partners, we see that a Facebook ad Frequency range of 3-5 yields the best performance. We typically plan creative refreshes to go live after the 6 or 7 mark. This formula results in better ROAS, more conversions per campaign.

With Facebook’s change to focus on videos, we have found that videos have the longest shelf life on Facebook. We suggest a relaunch videos every 1-1.5 weeks and relaunch (or refresh) static images ever 4-6 to maintain high-performance CTR. We also found that Cinemagraphs have the shortest shelf life before CTR becomes suboptimal, while Carousel Ads have the longest (after video).



If you are undertaking a Facebook ad campaign, you need to put an emphasis on ad frequency.  For additional help in promoting your business, you can visit our full list of Social Media Services from Digital Marketology.