Ad Frequency: Is More Really Better?

Let’s talk Ad Frequency – aka the average number of times your ad is displayed to a unique user – aka impressions divided by reach.

Historically, brands have approached frequency for frequency’s sake. More impressions = more top of mind = greater likelihood of purchase ????. Frequency creates brand familiarity, so even if you your first few exposures don’t stick, they’ll eventually make an impact. This was especially important for bigger ticket items back in the day – think auto, homes, luxury – as well as items with a lot of competitors, like CPG.

Nowadays, the path to purchase is more convoluted in some ways, and simplified in others.

✔️More expensive items have payment plans that enable a faster decision process – less perceived monetary risk to the consumer, regardless of their brand familiarity.

✔️Simultaneously, the market is flooded with options – if you don’t like brand a, brands b through z are in the wings.

✔️Consumers are more invested in, and aware of, company practices and brand ethos than ever before. Conscious consumerism is on the rise and continuing to evolve.

✔️Privacy policies and mysterious algorithms impact what consumers see and don’t see, and of the content they do see, how much they would care about based on previous purchase behavior.

To summarize, less monetary burden ????, more inventory ????, deeper emotional investment ????, narrowed (and narrowing) space for exposure ????.

In this context, what matters is context! Or more specifically, sustained, ongoing exposure, supported by context. Platform variation, placement variation, content variation, all working in concert across a strategic ad delivery path to familiarize consumers with who you are and what makes you stand out.

Build brand familiarity, but contextualize it to your consumers’ lives and behaviors. If they’re using multiple platforms throughout the day, speak to them on multiple platforms throughout the day. Doing so will help avoid fatigue, and elevate your message in a way that cute through the noice and sticks.