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What is the Role of Ad Frequency Capping in Google Ads?

A Quick Dive into Digital Advertising 

Hey there, business owner! Online advertising has become the bread and butter of many businesses, big and small. Among the platforms available, Google Ads stands out as the titan of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Now, ever heard someone mention “frequency capping” while discussing their PPC strategies? 

If you’re wondering What should my frequency cap be in Google Display Ads? or looking for Google Ads Display frequency capping best practices, you’re in the right place!

The Fundamentals of Ad Frequency

What’s Ad Frequency Anyway? 

Trying to understand what Ad Frequency is really about, you can think of it like this:

  1. Your Favorite TV Show: You’re engrossed in the latest episode, eagerly awaiting what happens next.
  1. Commercial Break: It’s an opportunity to grab a snack or check your phone. But then, the same advertisement appears, not just once, but every break.
  1. The Realization: By the third or fourth time, you can almost recite the advertisement verbatim. That repetitive appearance? That’s ad frequency in action – the number of times a specific viewer sees your ad.

Breaking Down the Numbers 

Understanding frequency isn’t just about recognizing repetition. Let’s do a quick breakdown:

  • Single Exposure: Your ad has caught the viewer’s attention, and they’re intrigued.
  • Repeated Exposure (2-5 times): The viewer acknowledges your brand. It’s reinforcement.
  • Overexposure (6+ times): This is where it can get tricky. While familiarity might seem reasonable, too much of it can lead to ad fatigue.

The Not-So-Sweet Side of High Frequency 

To emphasize the dangers of overexposure, let me share a personal anecdote. I once collaborated with a friend who was excited to launch her online campaign. Eager and enthusiastic, she overlooked one crucial detail: setting a frequency cap. The outcome?

  • Day 1-3: The target audience was intrigued. Engagement was high, and the campaign seemed promising.
  • Day 4-6: The same audience began seeing her ad multiple times. Some began to ignore it, while others found it increasingly redundant.
  • End of the Week: The ad that was initially engaging became an irritant. It appeared to her target audience almost 10 times a day. The result? A significant drop in her click-through rate, overshadowed by mounting frustration.

This scenario exemplifies what we in the industry term ‘ad fatigue‘. It’s a cautionary tale about the importance of managing ad frequency, ensuring your message remains effective without becoming overwhelming.

Enter Frequency Capping 

Deciphering Frequency Capping 

In simple words, frequency capping is setting a limit on how often your ads are shown to the same user. Google offers tools within its Google Ad Manager frequency cap settings to control this.

The Good Stuff – Benefits of Capping

  • Fight Ad Fatigue: No one likes seeing the same thing over and over. By setting a cap, you keep your content fresh in the eyes of viewers.
  • Optimal Budget Use: Instead of repeatedly hitting the same audience, you can spread out your ad reach.
  • Boosted Ad Performance: A study from Profit Labs (a source you can dive into later here) showed that businesses that used frequency capping saw better engagement.

Setting Up Your Cap in Google Ads 

Ah, the most frequently asked question: how to set up frequency capping in Google ads?

  • Get to Your Campaign Settings: Dive into your Google Ads dashboard.
  • Advanced Settings: Look for this section. It holds the magic keys.
  • Pick Your Cap: Think of this as setting a budget. But instead of dollars, you’re setting views.

Tips for the Perfect Cap

  • Align with Objectives: If you’re focusing on brand awareness, maybe allow a few more views.
  • Strike a Balance: Ensure you’re not underexposing or overexposing. It’s like finding the right amount of sugar for your coffee.
  • Adjust Regularly: Monitor the performance. If you’re still unsure about the Google display ads frequency capping balance, testing different settings might be the way to go.

A Real-World Look

Frequency Capping Case Study I once worked with a local bakery that set its frequency cap too high. Their delicious croissant ad was everywhere! After adjusting to a more balanced cap, their engagement rate skyrocketed. The lesson? The correct frequency capping strategy can make or break your campaign.

Are There Any Downsides to Frequency Capping? 

Like most things in life, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

  • Limited Reach: If set too restrictively, you might not reach potential new customers.
  • Underexposure Risks: In competitive markets, you want to ensure your brand remains visible.
  • Campaign Alignment: If you’re pushing a massive sale, for instance, you might want more frequent ads for a short burst period.

Fine-tuning Your Strategy

Impressions vs. Views: What’s the Difference?

At first glance, the terms “impressions” and “views” may seem interchangeable. However, in the Google Ads landscape, they signify distinct stages of user interaction.

  • Impressions: This is akin to a shop display window. Imagine pedestrians walking by and glancing at the window, even if just for a split second. In digital terms, every time your ad is fetched and loaded on a page, it’s counted as an impression. But does it mean they looked at it or engaged with it? Not necessarily.
  • Views: Now, consider someone stopping by the same shop window, taking a moment to genuinely look at the displayed items. In the digital world, views are more engaged than impressions. Especially in video ads, a view usually means a user watched a significant portion of your video.

Aligning With Your Campaign Goals

  • Brand Awareness: If you’re mainly trying to get your brand name out there, impressions might be what you’re after. The idea is to get your ad fetched as many times as possible to make your brand more recognizable.
  • Engagement & Conversion: For campaigns aiming to engage users or drive specific actions (like making a purchase), views are more valuable. It signifies a deeper level of interest.

The Art of Frequency Capping Across Ad Types

Now that we understand the fundamental distinction between impressions and views, it’s crucial to adapt frequency capping accordingly.

  • Google Display Ads: These are primarily visual. If you find your audience is getting too many impressions but not enough meaningful views, it may be time to adjust the frequency cap to target more engaged segments of your audience.
  • Google Text Ads: Given their text-based nature, they appear mainly in search results. Overexposing users to your text ad can make it seem spammy, but underexposing can mean lost opportunities.
  • Search Ads in Google: These are unique. They pop up when specific keywords are searched. Because users are actively looking for something related to your ad, a slightly higher frequency might be tolerable. However, it’s essential to monitor and ensure users aren’t being overwhelmed.

Wrapping It All Up

Alright, let’s break it down real quick! When you’re juggling all these concepts – impressions, views, and the many types of Google Ads – it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. 

But remember, it’s all about getting a feel for what’s best for your unique campaign. Profit Labs often breaks down the nitty-gritty to make it understandable for folks like us. They’ve taught me that those technical-sounding terms? They’re not just buzzwords. They’re legit tools to help our ads shine bright in the digital sky!

About Profit Labs

Now, if you’re itching for some expert advice on all this (and more!), you’ve gotta check out Profit Labs. These folks are the real MVPs of digital marketing! With a knack for turning complexities into comprehensible strategies, they’ve been helping businesses ace the digital game. Want a deep dive into frequency capping, or just about any PPC strategy? 

Profit Labs™

Profit Labs™ is a New York based digital marketing agency specializing in online marketing. We help companies get more customers from high converting online campaigns. Interested in pricing & services? Schedule a meeting with us now!


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