The quiet index – how does the frequency index affect your campaign’s performance?

The quiet index – how does the frequency index affect your campaign’s performance?

irit frank / January 29, 2020 / Optimization / 0 Comments

What is the most important index in your campaign? The one you check every morning and evening?
It’s probably the cost per conversion or click, right?
The truth is that I’m the same. Even before my morning coffee I check the cost per conversion for all the campaigns I manage. This is the guiding index. But that’s the problem. These indices that I mentioned earlier will explain to us how our campaigns “feel”, how they’re performing. But they don’t explain  why they “feel” that way.
When it comes to optimizing your campaigns, the CPA and CPC on their own don’t provide us with all the information we need to see the bigger picture of our campaign.
One way to lower the cost per conversion or click is of course to turn off all the expensive ads. Where the click or conversion through them is expensive. It works for a limited time, but sooner or later we’ll need to turn off all the ads and start anew. And even then we won’t have a clue what happened to our fruitful campaign, and how we reached these high numbers. We actually won’t have any new information that will guide us in building the new campaign, so the results will be better.
In order to truly understand what happened to a campaign and how to improve the next campaign, we’ll need to analyze a few more indices other than the CPC & CPA, such as the CR, CTR, and also the frequency.
The last index is probably the one that is given the least attention of the three, and this is the index I’m dedicating this article to.

What’s the ad’s frequency? And why is this important?

First of all, let’s define our concepts:
Impressions - the number of times our ad is displayed.
Reach - the number of uniques that the ad reaches.
And this leads us to the frequency and to Facebook’s definition of frequency:
The average number of times our ad was displayed to each user.

Let’s do some simple math: the frequency index is in effect impressions / reach
And here’s an example:

Obviously this isn’t an accurate measure and that’s why Facebook talks about “average number of times”. For example, you can’t guarantee that whoever saw our ads saw them twice. One site visitor can see the ads 3 times while another site visitor sees them only once.
Fortunately for us, we don’t need to be so precise. As soon as the numbers are high enough, the fluctuations don’t matter anymore.
So that’s the theory, but what does it have to do with optimization of our campaigns? Two reasons. One is very specific and the second is completely practical.

  1. Banner Blindness
    One of the things that you need to remember when dealing with digital marketing and not just on Facebook, is banner blindness.
    The average site visitor is exposed to around 1700 banners each month, according to the various research companies. That’s a lot of advertising, don’t you think? And after a while the human brain (which is a marvelous organ) develops a sort of defense system. It completely filters the banners from the content it consumes as soon as the brain realizes that a specific spot on the site or certain design is actually a commercial banner, it filters it completely and doesn’t actually see it. What a bummer... This is definitely not good news for our click rates. When our “frequency” rises, our audience is exposed to our banner design and promos over and over again and his banner blindness only intensifies and lowers the effectiveness of our campaign.
    So, in effect, our click rates actually go down and the cost per exposure and/or click goes up.
  2. You annoy your site visitorsThe second reason why you need to take an interest in your frequency index is less “scientific” and much more practical.
    Think about it. Once you’ve seen the same ad 5 to 10 times, or you’re interested in the product or the service and have clicked on the ad or you really don’t care about the service or the product and you get really irritated that you see this ad every day in our feed.
    The result, of course, is poorer performance, which may lead to a reduction in positive sentiments about your brand.
    After analyzing numerous campaigns I noticed that the higher the frequency index, the more angry reactions there are on the ads...you really don’t want to get to that point.
What to do? Data analysis

If you’ve read one of my posts in the past, or attended one of my lectures, then you’ll know that I really love data.
So I checked out various campaigns and how they perform. Tons of different campaigns! In fact, I checked out campaign performances in direct proportion to the “frequency” index.
The results were truly amazing.

  • Increase in the cost per click (CPC)
  • Decrease in the click-through-rate (CTR)
  • Increase in frequency
  • 0
    +49.82%
    +62.20%
    +68.02%
    +98.51%
    +127.32%
    +127.26%
    +138.31%
    +161.15%
  • 0
    -8.91%
    -16.92%
    -23.34%
    -29.72%
    -41.19%
    -41.38%
    -48.97%
    -49.87%
  • 1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9

As you can see, the higher the “frequency”, the lower the CTR, and higher the average CPC. The numbers don’t lie. Ever...
When the “frequency” rises to 3, the CPC increases by 62%. That’s a lot, no?!
And that’s exactly why we need to monitor our campaigns throughout their run time and check that the frequency isn’t too high.

You’re probably now asking “So what’s the maximal frequency?” Right?
The truth is that there’s no definitive answer. Each campaign and its optimal frequency. There are a lot of variables, it depends on the industry and your profit.
I actually started making changes to the campaign when the frequency exceeds 2.
There are niches where the profit margins are very high and it makes sense to let the frequency go above 2.

So how do we combat the quiet index?

So we get why it’s important for us to monitor the frequency index, but what next?
Take into account that as soon as we go live with a campaign, the frequency increases and with it the amount of money we spend. Why? Because that’s the way the world works 🙂
There are several tactics we can use to combat the quiet index.

Always maintain balance.

The first thing that we want to do is to strike a balance between our budget and the size of the audience.
If you have a daily budget of 15 NIS, even if your audience is very small, it will still take time until the frequency goes up and becomes a problem.
If you have a budget of several hundred NIS per day, you’ll want to work with much larger audiences, of several tens or hundreds of thousands of people per audience.

Keep moving

When the frequency of your campaign exceeds the number 3, start checking what’s happening more often. If the performance drops significantly, you have two options:
Refresh the design of your ads, maybe try a slightly different sales pitch to cope with banner blindness or change the audience altogether.
Within a month you can go back to the original audience and the results should be better.

Happy conversions everyone