Social capping

Welcome to Digital Mythbusters: a series of short snippets designed to address common misconceptions within the wider industry to help everyone understand more about the multitude of different channels and capabilities that fall within the broad landscape that is “digital media”.

A frequently asked query is: “What are our frequency capping options on Facebook & Social?” and “Why has the client been seeing the ad so often?” If you have ever questioned this then fear not, our Digital Marketing Mythbusters are here to give you the answers!

Frequency capping

On Facebook there are 2 main types of frequency capping options: Reach & Frequency and Auction. Reach & Frequency allows you to essentially pre-buy your audience and get a set reach & frequency (as the name suggests) – similar to Programmatic Guaranteed or Direct Inventory buys in the display/programmatic space. This allows you to frequency cap/target campaigns.

“Auction” campaigns are used across the majority of Facebook activity, as a result of lower CPMs & better cost efficiency generally, and do not allow you to frequency cap unless you are targeting broader reach/awareness objectives. Often we use “Auction” with a conversions related goal that is linked to the Facebook Pixel – which means we cannot frequency cap. 

From the Google perspective, it is possible to frequency cap YouTube and Google Display Network (GDN) activity with relative ease (however it is not possible to frequency cap on PPC activity at all). In cases where frequency does start to creep too high on social/display channels, however, the recommended course of action in most cases is that of expanding the audience size.

This is done either by adding in new targeting interests, expanding the geographic reach and/or age parameters of the activity. This principle is repeated across other social channels such as Twitter, where there are specific “Reach & Frequency” buying options. Despite the option to increase audience size as outlined, the Facebook algorithm, and all other social/display algorithms, will bias showing their ads to users who are deemed more likely to engage. 

A client who actively likes their Facebook product page, engages with posts & watches videos/clicks through on to their ads will therefore be shown the ad more often. In addition, they are more likely to be captured by retargeting campaigns that target users who have watched an ad through but have not recently performed an onsite conversion. It is therefore quite common for clients to be served ads on social more often than the average user, and this is not an indication that all users are being “spammed” with ads as a result of poor account setup.

Reach & Frequency and Auction frequency capping might seem complicated to begin with but now you have the tools to make your decision making a lot easier! If you’d like to explore more digital mythbusting, why not check out the other insights on our Digital Marketing Mythbuster blog series? 

Jonathan Bowman - Biddable Account Director

Author: Jonathan Bowman - Biddable Account Director

Jon joined as a biddable account manager in April & has been working in Digital for just under 3 years. He is a lover of all things travelling/hiking, with climbing Kilimanjaro top of his bucket list.