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Your Mom Wears a Frequency Cap


When planning out a digital advertising strategy, allocating a budget for retargeting campaigns are a must. This allows you to reach users that have previously visited your website by placing ads across other websites and mobile ads, and lure them back to your website by offering a special incentive. These campaigns typically have a much higher ROI than those targeting strangers that are non-yet familiar with your brand. Though it seems like an easy sell to any marketing executive, many are hesitant to place ads that may compromise their brand integrity by making users feel like they’re being followed online.

I’ve heard complaints about retargeting by friends and relatives that feel uncomfortable with their online behavior being tracked and used to target them with ads. Naturally I tell them that they don’t know the half of it, and in the end, viewing ads for products or services that address their needs is in their own best interest. Needless to say, I have yet to convince anyone of my point of view, so I can appreciate the reluctance marketers experience when considering whether they want to test out campaigns that may bother some of their users.

However, the are ways to help you enjoy many of the benefits of retargeting campaigns that won’t result in your users filing for restraining orders. Frequency cap features, offered through the major ad networks, are a great way to target your previous visitors on the web and within their mobile devices, without having your ads seemingly appear to follow them around all day. Facebook for example, allows you to limit the number of times a user sees an ad set to once per day by opting into their Daily Unique Reach setting.




AdWords provides a much higher level of control through a frequency capping feature that lets you choose how many times you’d like for your audience to see your ads per day, week or month.


AdRoll, a network specializing in re-marketing campaigns, does not allow you to manually control your ad frequency settings, but rather recommends that you simply instruct your account manager to set limits through their back end. Though my experience with AdRoll account managers has always been excellent, if you’re not the trusting type, you can just target segments of users that have visited your website during a very specific time frame and exclude any users that may have visited the site during every other time frame. This can really help limit how many times any given user will see your ads.

Another way you can limit just how frequently you retarget your users is by creating audiences based on conversions or other actions they may have taken on your site, and excluding those groups from your campaigns. These more engaged users should ideally be targeted with a different set of ads with messages that reflect their heightened level of familiarity with your brand.

If you’re extremely cautious about the possibility of annoying your users, then clearly your best choice is setting up campaigns through AdWords and imposing strict limits on your frequency settings. Chances are, once you test the waters, you’ll get quickly sold on the power and efficiency of retargeting.

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