Facebook's Data-Driven Exploration of Optimal Ad Frequency

Facebook IQ research has shown that while there’s no one-size-fits-all ideal frequency on Facebook, higher frequencies do tend to drive behavior changes, such as increases in purchase intent.

This insight raises questions. Is there a point at which delivering the same ad to the same person starts to have diminishing returns? Does the number change for good creative?

In order to see whether there is an optimal frequency and how quality impacts this, Facebook conducted additional research. 

Facebook used its Brand Lift methodology to measure the results - Brand Lift utilizes polling and other brand awareness measurement tools to get a better understanding of the true value of an ad.

Facebook measured the “desired response rate”; the positive responses to survey polls on ad recall and action intent. The polls were served within 4-48 hours of someone’s last impression, except if the user did not log in during this period. Three-quarters of users received the poll within 16 days of the initial impression. The impact analyses were conducted on anonymized user-level data for pre-poll impressions.

As noted, that's also relative to the ad itself - a good, engaging ad will see better performance than an average one.

Facebook's Brand Lift data can also reveal some insight here - based on user responses within its dataset, Facebook was also able to divide the ad segments based on response rates. So, essentially, Facebook can measure responses based on good or bad ad content by measuring how people responded.

The research confirmed that more impressions is associated with better action intent and ad recall rates—and it also revealed that there tends to be a plateau, with the positive results no longer increasing as significantly after a handful of impressions. While the exact number of impressions can vary, the key insight is that there is indeed typically a point of diminishing returns.

The response rates for high engagement campaigns was significantly higher overall, but even on average performing campaigns, they still saw increased response up to around four or five impressions.

The results show that the quality of your ad creative remains key, but frequency should be a consideration in any campaign.

As summarized by Facebook, "A person seeing an ad more times is associated with better results, but after a point, brands receive less and less benefit."

Where, exactly, that point will come down to your campaign, and you'll need to conduct your own research to determine your own results, but the data does indeed indicate that frequency is important, and can drive better response.


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