This post was written by Heather Heddens. Heather has been helping advertisers increase their profitability via digital marketing for the past five years and is currently a Growth Manager at Thesis where she helps DTC E-commerce clients scale their growth.

Facebook advertising is a constant balancing act of maintaining the best ad frequency. While it’s pivotal that an ad reaches each user enough times to get them to convert, it’s just as important that the ad doesn’t reach the same user so many times that it becomes annoying. Everyone has had a negative experience with an ad they couldn’t shake that wouldn’t stop populating on their feed. These experiences often leave us irritated and with an overall negative perception of the brand.

That being said, users are sifting through thousands of ads every day. It’s estimated that the average person sees between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day whether that’s on social media, television, billboards, or one of the unlimited other advert methods. It’s going to be incredibly difficult for your ad to cut through the clutter if an individual only sees your ad once a month.

So what really is the golden number of times to reach a user? I often derive benchmarks for frequency by looking at the average frequency metrics across groups of brands. Below I’ve pulled the 7-day and 30-day ad frequency for 20 direct-to-consumer brands specifically at the prospecting level. The included prospecting campaigns contain ads that are targeting brand new customers who have never visited the website, engaged with, or purchased from the brand. The 7-day frequency was pulled from February 1st - February 7th and the 30-day frequency was pulled from February 1st - March 2nd.

On average these DTC brands were hitting the same users just over 3 times a month. However, it’s often more manageable to reach prospecting users at a lower frequency than retargeting users. Prospecting campaigns are large with hundreds of thousands of users to go after, while retargeting campaigns require previous brand engagement and are significantly smaller.

The retargeting metrics below include users who have previously engaged with the brand but have never made a purchase before in the same time frame as the data above. The rate these brands are reaching the same users at the retargeting level is significantly higher at just over 7 times a month.

These averages serve as benchmarks for Facebook and Instagram ad frequency. If I find a group of ads generating a comparatively high-frequency, that signals it’s time to broaden ad set audiences at the prospecting level and consolidate audiences at the retargeting level to increase the number of users available to reach in each ad set. Overall, I’ve found that staying within the bounds of these frequency averages serves as a great guide to help clients hit their target CPA and ROAS goals.