Frequency Caps (And Goals): Why They’re Important and How to Calculate Them

April 5, 2023by David Wroten

Frequency is a critical and often overlooked part of a digital marketing strategy. It’s the average of how many times your marketing message reaches your target audience. Frequency has an inverse relationship with reach, meaning, given the same budget and similar pricing of impressions, an increase in reach will necessitate a decrease in frequency. A misaligned frequency for your campaign can leave you in one of two less-than-desirable situations:

  1. Frequency Too High: You are showing more impressions per user than is necessary to drive your campaigns goals such as awareness lift, website traffic, and/or conversions. In essence, you could be reaching more of your audience than you are, but you’re expending funds on diminishing returns for each audience member.  Worst of all you could be eroding brand equity by leaving a bad impression with this over exposure.  
  2. Frequency Too Low: You’re reaching a large audience, but your message isn’t sticking because the frequency isn’t high enough. Here you’re leaving more goal completion (awareness, traffic, conversions, etc.) on the table by not reaching a more ideal frequency to drive traction with your target audience. 

It’s problematic to be too frequent and not frequent enough. A marketer’s goal should always be to find the sweet spot in the middle – the frequency at which 60-80% of conversions are taking place, after which there is a significant diminishing of returns. The decision on how many ads to show in what period of time should be data driven based on past conversion information. 

Ventura Growth’s clients are able to use the platform’s robust and transparent reporting suite to see the number of conversions taking place at every given frequency level. This allows us to set both goals and hard caps for frequency which encourage machine learning to reach each user an optimal amount of times and to minimize waste.

Properly set frequency goals and caps can lead to highly efficient campaigns – allowing marketers to re-invest saved dollars from high/low frequency campaigns back into the campaigns they are seeing the most success with. Frequency reporting also shows the savings and additional reach gained from implementing frequency caps highlighting the added value of a properly capped campaign.