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What is Frequency Capping?

Ad retargeting has become one of the most common marketing techniques for reaching your audience across the web with display ads, whether browsing via mobile or desktop.

Using Google, Facebook, or other advertising platforms, you can set up an ad campaign with a targeted user base, which may include customers who are already in your database and similar audiences, based on defined segments such as geography, hobbies, or occupation.

However, because your customers will see the same ads multiple times with ad retargeting, you may quickly go through your ad budget without seeing a substantial impact. This is because you’ve shown the same customers the same ads multiple times, and if they’re not engaging with them, they become fatigued by the oversaturation of your ads.

That’s why frequency capping is an important best practice for optimizing your ad spend and enhancing your customers’ user experience.

What is Frequency Capping?

Frequency capping refers to the practice of limiting the reach and frequency of your display advertising campaign.

Typically, frequency capping includes three elements: the number of times to show your ad to each user, what should be capped (specific creative, campaign, or the brand itself), and the timeframe for resetting the cap (i.e., per week or month).

Without frequency capping, your advertising platform may automatically display the same ad many times to the same users. This will limit how many audience members you can reach with your budget and may result in over-serving ads to audience members who have already decided they’re not interested in your product, or customers who’ve already made a purchase.

By capping the frequency of your display ad, you’ll be able to strategically use retargeting ads as a component of a cross-channel advertising campaign, without letting your audience suffer from ad fatigue.

Frequency Capping Best Practices

Your frequency caps will depend on your brand and on where each customer is in the buying cycle. Typically, advertisers will set a lower frequency cap for new, top-of-funnel prospects who have no or limited previous exposure to your brand. At this point, the goal is to generate broad brand awareness and reach as many people in your target market as possible.

Facebook recommends a frequency cap of two ads per week to capture 95% of total brand lift.

If a customer has already clicked on an ad or engaged with your brand through another channel, you might increase the frequency cap for these prospective customers in the consideration stage, pairing customized display ads based on their behavior with other marketing messages across other channels.

Your frequency caps will vary based on your audience size and your budget, but Facebook recommends a maximum volume of showing your ad once per day for “higher frequency” campaigns.

Ad Retargeting as Part of a Cross-Channel Campaign

Retargeting ads can be more effective as part of a comprehensive cross-channel campaign—which is one reason why it makes sense to cap the frequency of your ads. By limiting the number of messages each user is receiving through a particular marketing channel, you’ll be able to build an effective campaign that engages your users across all of the channels they use.

Let’s look at how this might work for a cosmetics company.

First, the customer sees an ad on Instagram with clever creative that piques their interest in the brand and clicks the link, spends a few minutes on your site, and bounces away.

From there, though, you can retarget this customer with an ad that offers 20% off if they sign up for your email list. Once they’ve signed up, you’ll be able to follow up with personalized content based on their previous browsing behavior, including recommendations for similar products. In conjunction with that, you can send a cross-channel onboarding sequence across all of the marketing channels they use to drive further engagement with your brand. their contact information to your database when they click on the link after seeing it a few times.

By tracking their interactions with your brand across your ads and web properties, you can get a 360-degree picture of who your customers are and how to reach them, giving you insights to deploy relevant marketing campaigns designed to drive further engagement.

Frequency capping will help you to ensure that you’re using your ad budget wisely to help generate awareness of your brand and encourage customers to convert. Once you’ve engaged them, you’ll be able to use a cross-channel approach primarily focused on your own channels to encourage purchases and brand loyalty, helping you generate a higher ROI.

Cross-Channel Integration

By integrating all of your customer data within a cross-channel marketing platform, you can incorporate all of your brand’s owned channels alongside ad retargeting, enabling you to instantly personalize your marketing efforts based on the customer’s real-time interactions with your brand.

Let’s say the customer views several products, adds a hair mousse to their cart, but doesn’t check out.

Now, you have multiple avenues to follow up on the cart abandonment. You can promote a retargeted ad with the specific product, send an abandoned cart email, send a reminder via SMS, and use a rich push notification on mobile with an image of the product to remind the user to purchase the product. These channels should be sequenced, and, if the customer returns to complete the purchase, the sequence should stop before all of the channels are utilized.

By using a cross-channel marketing platform like Iterable, you can reduce your reliance on the expense of ad retargeting and focus on strategically reaching your customers through all of the marketing channels your brand owns.

Iterable is a cross-channel marketing platform that powers unified customer experiences and empowers marketers to create, optimize and measure relevant interactions and experiences customers love. Leading brands, like Cinemark, DoorDash, Calm, Madison Reed, and Box, choose Iterable to power world-class customer experiences throughout the entire lifecycle. Discover our growth marketing solutions for personalization, increasing customer engagement, and more. Discover our platform and schedule a demo today.