9 tips for understanding facebook ads frequency cap

How much do you know about Facebook ads frequency cap?

How many times can your add be shown to a user?

What is a good frequency for facebook ads?

What are the facebook ad frequency best practices?

Does it matter if you split platforms in your targeting?

How to set frequency in facebook ads?

Now the reason so many questions thrown around ‘frequency’ is because it’s known as the SILENT but DEADLY METRIC. Ad frequency can double your CPA’s overnight and hence this should be measured and managed properly like any other important facebook ad metric.

What is frequency? ( skip to next section if you know this)

Reach, is the number of unique individuals who have seen your post, just how far your ad has been seen, but it doesn’t really give you much of an indication of how effective it is.

It’s a similar story for impressions, which tells you how many times your ad has been served.

The key metric is the latter divided by the former – frequency.

Frequency is a measure of how many times a user has been exposed to your post, and acts as an indication of how effective your targeting is. If your frequency is low, you are arguably targeting too wide an audience, investing too little to reach your target audience, or a combination of the two.

There are different ways of viewing frequency, and Facebook divides your campaigns into three levels; you can view the frequency for each ad, each group of ads (an ad-set) or each campaign (a collection of ad-sets).

Ad level frequency

This is simplest level of frequency analysis.

9 Tips For Understanding Facebook ads frequency cap?


1. One person cannot generally see more than 4 ads from a single advertiser in a day (with exception of desktop right hand side ads which sometimes go over – and if you’re not including RHS you’re missing out on impressions).

2. In Instagram stories one person won’t see the same ad more than once every 12 hours. That’s 1/2 days per ad from you in a story for the same ad. Change it up, then it becomes twice every 24 hours. So keep those stories rolling!

3. If someone sees an ad on IG feed or stories then they won’t see an ad from you within 6 hours. So again the 4 a day rule but split 6 hours on IG unlike FB where you could see 2 ads within a few hours.

4. Whilst these are maximums, it doesn’t mean you’ll hit 4 impressions every day for one person.

5. Keep a close eye on frequencies across platforms & device to see how many times on average in a day and a week people are seeing your ads. My last ad frequency ( ad set level) is 5 for iPod and rest are little above 1

6. You can control frequency in 2 ways; using the Reach & Frequency objective or using the Daily Unique Reach option within a Website Conversion ad set OR by lowering the budget of-course 

7. If you’re combining placements, those totals above still apply, except Facebook will decide where to place each placement. So you might end up with 3 Facebook newsfeed impressions and one Instagram newsfeed impression. Or 2 FB, 1 IG and 1 Audience Network. It is based on where the algorithm believes the best placement should go. The algorithm is a predictive tool so isn’t always right…

8. If you override the placements and split placements into separate ad sets, you’re overriding the algorithm to some extent, and the impressions are based on winning the auctions. You might therefore hit someone 3 times in your Instagram ad set and only once in your Facebook ad set, when in reality you wanted more FB impressions. Splitting out placements has numerous benefits, such as writing specific copy for each placement and managing your spend according to platform performance, but its something you should ALWAYS test.

9. Keep ad frequencies lower for cold audience ads than warm or hot. That is, ideally if your cold ad performance is not great and you see frequency creeping up to twice in a day, switch it up. However if you’re retargeting a website audience, its common to see frequencies of 4, 5 or more and still have great performance.

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.

Facebook allows ads to be shown to the same person in the news feed twice a day, though ads have no frequency limit in the right column. Typically, as ad frequency begins to rise it results in a decreased CTR and higher CPC.

Banner blindness is a silent phenomenon plaguing advertisers for ages. It mainly arises from ad fatigue or seeing the same advertisement repeatedly several times.

Facebook provides a positive and negative feedback metric for every ad you publish. I watch these like a hawk, because they map directly to how people interact with your ads. When someone reports your ad or selects the option to hide it, your negative feedback score rises. This can also happen due to frequency apart from bad targeting.

Also one of the important things that one should keep in mind when measuring ads through frequency is the type of ad and it’s objective.

An offer ad when has high frequency will not do better but engagement and likes will not be much impacted.

A common strategy we follow when it comes to Facebook adverts:

Week 1: Designing and launching new ad creative

Week 2: Set up tests and push creative to all ad sets

Week 3: Start picking winning variations

Week 4: Analysis and deconstruction

Any other learnings on frequency ads frequency caps that you’d add?

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