How to find the ideal frequency in brand campaigns

When planning brand online campaigns, we can monitor many metrics. One of the most important is frequency. But what does frequency mean in online marketing? And which one is ideal? That is the focus of this article.

Frequency as defined in online marketing is the amount of reach of our target group by a certain message over a certain period of time. In other words, how many times a user has been exposed to the ad (e.g., within a month).

There is also the concept of effective frequency. This expresses the amount of reach in which advertising is most effective. Effectiveness is classified for instance by the user remembering the advertising message.


  • User A is exposed to a video impression twice. When asked what (s)he remembers from the video, (s)he replies that (s)he doesn’t even remember the video itself.
  • User B is exposed to a video impression six times. When asked the same question, (s)he can tell what (s)he saw in the video and what (s)he remembers.

So, what is the effective frequency that pays dividends when applied in campaigns? There is no easy answer. The ideal frequency depends on many variables.

The following table provides a clearer idea:

Three groups of factors play the main role: Market, communication and media. It is important to keep each of them in mind when planning brand campaigns. In a different manner, we will consider e.g., the frequency when introducing a new product than supporting an already introduced and known one.

Among other things, we also need to consider viewability in relation to the frequency, or rather the viewability frequency. That’s because there is a fundamental difference between showing 10 impressions with 30% viewability or 10 impressions with 70% viewability. The average user can perceive only 3 impressions in one case, while up to 7 impressions in the other case.

And of course, selection of format also plays a role. For a video, the frequency requirements will logically differ from those of a static banner.    

Though there is no universally applicable value, it is prudent to at least outline a general framework of effective reach. The following chart, which considers approximately month-long campaign, will help us to do this.

The curve in the graph above indicates that a display frequency of 0–3 is ineffective, because the user can register, e.g., only one of the required three views on his monitor, and thus has little chance of remembering anything.

The frequency range of 4–7 is generally considered to be the most effective. The user has probably already registered the given campaign and ideally taken something from it. Meanwhile, an advertisement within these limits should not bother such a user.


When planning brand campaigns, we must consider the number of variables that speak to the ideal frequency. This applies regardless of whether it concerns the current brand awareness, the complexity of the advertising message or, e.g., the long-term nature of the campaign.

Jaroslav Borovka on behalf of the RTB team