facebook targeting

Facebook Ads Frequency Capping : Everything You Need To Know

Does it sometimes feel like you see the same Facebook ad over and over again? Do you wonder if other people feel that way about your Facebook ads?

If you’ve done any display or video advertising before, frequency is a commonly used metric and has been for many years. In the world of advertising frequency is the number of times a unique individual saw your advertising. The method Facebook uses to calculate this number is impressions divided by reach. Impressions is the number of times your ad is shown and reach is the number of people that see your ads.

At RelayPM, we work primarily with performance driven advertisers and while we monitor ad frequency, we don’t typically report this number to clients. However, if you’re running branding campaigns on Facebook this is a commonly used metric to track performance. Recently a client of ours was concerned our frequency was too high because it felt like they were constantly seeing their own ads. We put together this article to clear up the information.

Most of the research out there, and if you have ever taken a marketing or advertising class you would be taught this, is that people need to see an advertisement more than once. There is also a law of diminishing return where if you continue to show someone the same ad after so many times if they haven’t taken an action, they aren’t going to. Across all advertising mediums (not just Facebook) generally the consensus from research is somewhere in the realm of 3-7 ad exposures per person is ideal.

A study last year was done by Social Media Today where they looked at data across 10,000 ads and calculated cost per acquisition based on ad frequency. Their data shows the peak ad frequency is shown to be between 1.8 and 4 views on average. See the full article here.

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Can A High Ad Frequency On Facebook Negatively Impact You?

The primary place that ad frequency comes into play with your advertising is with the relevancy score. Facebook users can submit ad feedback on what they are seeing. If they see the same ads over and over again they may choose to let Facebook know. Negative feedback can impact your relevancy score which can drive up the cost you pay to advertise on Facebook. This is something you should keep an eye on in your account. If you see your relevancy scores declining as your frequency increases, you should definitely address this.

Can An Advertiser Control Their Ad Frequency On Facebook?

As mentioned earlier, if you’re used to running traditional video or display advertising, in the vast majority of cases you have complete control over your ad frequency. Unfortunately with Facebook this isn’t the case. If you look at the campaign objectives in Facebook, most of them you cannot control your ad frequency.

If you want to control your ad frequency you must run a reach or brand awareness campaign objective. The campaign types below show which you can control frequency on, but they are all part of the reach or brand awareness campaign objective.

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Here’s what the option looks like on your ad set settings:

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What are some ways to limit frequency for other campaign types?

Facebook’s primary responsibility is to keep their users coming back. If their users get annoyed by their feed, the may lose them. One of the ways Facebook helps with this is since their inception they’ve always limited the frequency of ads automatically. According to a Facebook rep: your page’s fans can see your ad up to 4 times a day, and non-fans could be exposed to an ad up to 2 times a day. Keep in mind this is per ad set. To help limit per advertiser, a person will not see ads from a single page more than once every 2 hours on Facebook and for Instagram a person won’t seen an ad from the same advertiser more than once every 3 hours.

Audience size also plays a major factor in your ad frequency. You’ll notice in most cases the small the audience you’re targeting, the higher than ad frequency will be. Facebook recommends targeting audiences between 1 and 3 million users to help limit frequency.

If you have any other questions about Facebook ad types or ad frequency, feel free to send us a message and we would be happy to help.

Final Notice: Facebook Partner Categories, Less Than 2 Weeks Left

The final notification has been sent and the days are numbered with less than 2 weeks left to use Facebook partner categories.

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For those Facebook advertisers that have either been living under a rock for the past 6 months or have just pretended the announcement didn't happen, we're officially only days away from partner categories being completely gone from Facebook advertising.  Facebook gave us until August 15 to create new ad sets using these targeting options, but as of October 1, no ad sets will deliver to partner categories.  

Since 2013 Facebook has provided access to customer data provided by a select group of third-party partners.  Here is the official list pulled from Facebook:

  • Acxiom, which can provide data from Australia, France, Germany, the UK and the US

  • Acxiom Japan, which can provide data from Japan.

  • CCC Marketing, which can provide data from Japan.

  • Epsilon, which can provide data from the US

  • Experian, which can provide data from Australia, Brazil, the UK and the US

  • Oracle Data Cloud (formerly Datalogix), which can provide data from the UK and the US

  • Quantium, which can provide data from Australia

While there were hundreds of different targeting options that came from these, some of the most popular were: in-market car buyers, purchase history, financial data (income and net worth), likely to move and job roles.  Depending on what you advertise on Facebook you will hear of varying degrees of success.  For example, if you are an auto dealer you are likely feeling this the most. You could literally target people in marketing for a new Honda.  That's going to be difficult to replicate.  If you are a real estate agent or mortgage broker, while you could target those likely to move competition was extremely high and the performance wasn't always great.  

One thing many advertisers didn't know about the third party data is you were paying for its usage.  Just like when you mail postcards or run programmatic advertising using this data, there is a data fee Facebook is passing on. One advantage you might see now is lower CPM's when you are unable to use the partner categories.

No matter what level of success you did have, it will soon be over.  Here are your 3 options moving forward:

  1. This data is still available for programmatic advertising through many vendors, but more than likely you will have a hard time getting anywhere near the results that you had on Facebook. 

  2. There are ways to buy this data from Acxiom, Experian and Oracle, but it gets expensive.  To get a list of 100k people which would be a small list compared to what many advertisers were targeting on Facebook, will cost anywhere from $15-25k.  Could that be the last resort?  Yeah, likely. 

  3. The best option (our opinion) now and that's testing other targeting options within Facebook.  Many advertisers using third party data targeting have already begun this process as soon as the changed was announced by Facebook.

If you've started testing with limited success or you haven't begun yet, before you panic.  Let's start with a simple question.  Facebook as a company is driven entirely by advertising revenue.  If Facebook thought there was going to be a mass exodus of advertising dollars would they have voluntarily done this?  Probably not.  Their data likely shows a couple of different things:

  • A small portion of Facebook's overall ad revenue was from advertisers campaigns using third party data targeting

  • Their targeting options have improved enough since 2013 when they added third-party data targeting in the first place that they don't see the same need anymore

  • Facebook's algorithm has improved (which we know it has) to find the right target audience for advertisers and continue increasing performance based on that

Yes likely some advertisers will leave Facebook, but not many and mostly just smaller advertisers and many that were either self-managed or managed by marketers that don't really know what they were doing.  Now it's time to think outside of the box.

Here are some ideas:

  • If you were targeting "Likely to move" here are just a sample of other options for Facebook interest targeting: Mortgage calculator, Keller Williams Realty, House Hunting, Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia.  There are dozens more just as good.  Think in terms of "if I were looking to buy a house, what else would I be interested in?"

  • If you were targeting in marketing car buying behavior here are some options for Facebook interest targeting: used car, car dealership, consumer reports, Honda (plus a variety of exact models), Motor Trend.  Again, what other things would you be interested in while doing research to buy a car?

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While there are many more to get into, my goal is really just to spark a mindset change from the obvious to the less obvious, but just as good.  Yeah, wouldn't it be great if we knew the exact people that are today looking to buy a Honda Accord.  You also have to think that every Honda dealer you compete with also has access to the same targeting.  We have to get more creative as marketers which will separate the experts from the followers and also drive a competitive advantage that you didn't have before.

At RelayPM we were only using partner categories for about 10% of our Facebook budget and we only have one client using them still, but we've already honed in on some other audiences that work just as good.  If you need any help with your advertising and would like us to review please reach out.