Facebook Ad Frequency: Are You Beating a Dead Horse?

This represents a major opportunity for marketers. Running ads on Facebook gives you the chance to reach an extremely large audience.


If you’ve decided to plan your campaign from the ground up, you need to keep certain points in mind to leverage this platform to its full potential. One marketers often (but shouldn’t) overlook is the importance of managing your ad frequency.


What is ad frequency? How does it affect your campaigns’ performance? Keep reading to better understand this critical topic.

Understanding Facebook Ad Frequency

Before diving in, it’s worth noting that there are instances when you may actually want high ad frequency. For example, if your campaign goal is to increase brand awareness, it makes sense that you’d want users to see particular ads multiple times.


That said, there are also times when you wouldn’t want the same ads to be shown to the same users too frequently. In fact, a recent poll of Internet users reveals that 71% of them believe online ads are becoming too intrusive. A Facebook ad that shows up in the same user’s news feed on multiple occasions could actually make the wrong impression on them. Such users might see your brand as being overly-promotional.


Additionally, sometimes the quality of your audience is weak. You don’t want to waste money displaying ads multiple times to users who are unlikely to act on them. 


There may also be instances when users see ads despite converting already. For example, maybe you’re running ads letting users know about a new product. This ad will be worthless when displayed to a user who has already bought said product.


It’s also important to remember that users are allowed to provide feedback on Facebook ads. If a user sees your ads too frequently, and thus finds them intrusive, they can elect to hide an ad from their feed. When doing so, they’ll be asked to provide a reason. They might indicate the ad isn’t relevant to them. This will harm your overall relevance score.


The main point to keep in mind is that high ad frequency may be the reason a campaign is no longer delivering results (or never did in the first place). While high frequency isn’t the only potential culprit, it is a factor you may want to guard against in the future. The following points describe how you can go about doing so.

Monitoring Facebook Ad Frequency

You need to monitor your ad frequency before you can determine whether you should do anything about it. Facebook does not provide this data by default. To view it, go to the relevant ad report page and select Columns, then select Customize Columns from the drop-down menu. Next, check the Frequency box. If you’d like to monitor overall trends as well, you can also select Breakdowns and choose the appropriate option (such as Week or Month).


Facebook will now provide you with this data when you view ad reports. If the data indicates your ad frequency is negatively impacting the success of your campaigns, adjust it with these methods:

Choose a Delivery Option

Facebook can optimize ad frequency based on your delivery option. When developing an ad, you’ll see an Optimize for Ad Frequency option. Select it, and you can choose:



  • Link Clicks: This is a pay-per click option, in which Facebook displays your ad to its audience until your budget or ad time runs out. After the same users see the ad three to four times, Facebook will begin displaying it less often. This helps you avoid irritating the same users.
  • Impressions: You wouldn’t choose this option if you were trying to reduce ad frequency. That’s because you pay per thousand impressions with this option. Thus, it’s a better choice when your goal is to build brand awareness, as it doesn’t place limits on ad frequency.
  • Daily Unique Reach: When you choose this option, Facebook will display your ad to the maximum amount of people in your chosen audience, but it will only do so once a day.


Leverage Exclusions

When developing Custom Audiences, you don’t merely get to choose what kinds of users to include. Facebook also allows you to exclude users in particular audiences as well.


For example, if you’re running an ad promoting a product, you would want to exclude users who have already purchased it. You can thus use the Facebook pixel to generate an audience consisting of such users. Simply let Facebook know you wish to exclude users in this audience, and they won’t see your ad.


That’s just one example. You can use exclusions creatively depending on your needs. If you were promoting a video on your site, for instance, the pixel can help you exclude users who have already viewed it.

Update Your Ads

This is a simple point, but it’s an easy one to overlook when managing Facebook ad frequency. A surefire way to prevent your ads from coming across as stale or intrusive is to consistently develop new ones. While you don’t want to abandon high-performing ads simply because you’re worried about them being displayed too often, you should experiment with different copy, targeting, and similar factors. 


This won’t just help you guard against high ad frequency. Experimenting with different ads also gives you more opportunities to determine which tactics do and do not work on your target audience.

Shorten Your Ad Campaigns

Sometimes, all you need to do to manage high frequency is shorten the length of your campaigns. You may want to try this strategy first if you tend to run long campaigns that are no longer performing well. Instead of running a long campaign targeting a large audience, develop several smaller audiences, and run your campaigns for a shorter period of time. Of course, it’s important to monitor their performance in order to determine if this strategy is effective.


That’s a crucial point to remember in general. Success as a marketer on Facebook requires constantly paying attention to whether your ads are delivering results. If you do, you’ll be much more likely to thoroughly understand the degree to which high ad frequency is (or isn’t) a problem.


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