whats a good ad frequency

What’s a good ad frequency?

Advertisers… Let’s talk about AD FREQUENCY.

How high should it be? Research has been done, but the answer is not what you’ve heard before:

The ideal frequency is 1 to 3. Or 7.

If you look online, all you hear is “the rule of 7” and “a Nielsen study” being quoted.

The truth is much more complicated.

The right ad frequency depends what campaign you’re running.

Allow me to explain:

For brand awareness: 7 is ideal.

For lead generation: 1 to 3 is ideal.


There’s 3 more nuanced points I’d like to add.


This research about “the rule of 7” refers to the fact that people remember brands best after they’ve had 7 interactions with your brand.



It can be 7 touches from ads, to website to outdoor banners to emails etc.

Come on…

We didn’t seriously think that showing the exact same LinkedIn ad or Instagram ad 7 times, suddenly magically makes a prospect love and remember us, right?!


That’s the 1st piece of nuance: Don’t “go for an ad frequency of 7”. Go for 7 ad creatives.

Yes 7 touchpoints. But please, 1 to 3 repeats per same touchpoint.

Example for brand awareness campaign:

You create 4 ad creatives.

Cap the frequency at 2.

Your audience will see your ads 8 times.

But every ad will only have an ad frequency of 2.

Makes sense?

That’s my 2nd piece of nuance: Actual ad frequency should actually always be 1 to 3, not 7.

Then to my last point:

It doesn’t really matter “what people say is the ideal ad frequency”.

What matters is:

– Are you making money?

– Are you serving your audience?

Doing only one of the two is a recipe for disaster.

So how can you run ads that make you money and serve your audience?

You reverse-engineer all your ads.


Determine your North-Star-Metric. Your ultimate goal. This can be # of sales, # of euros etc.

Then work backwards from there:

1️⃣ If I want €1.000.000 in sales, I know I need 200 leads.

(because I close 50pct of leads I speak with and 1 client means an LTV of €10.000)

2️⃣ If I need 200 leads, I know I need 200.000 impressions.

(because I know 0,1% of impressions end up in a conversion (that’s 200.000 * 0.001)

3️⃣ If I need 200.000 impressions, I need +- €8.000 ad spend budget.

(because my CPM is +-€20 and I’d like an ad frequency of 2)

From there, you just EXPERIMENT.

Let your ad frequency rise (or drop).

Spoiler alert: 1-3 will get you highest ROI.

This may be the most important piece of nuance to this frequency discussion:

Make sure you are reverse-engineering your ads.

Every single ad should serve a clear purpose:

Getting you closer to that north star metric.


What do you think?

The ad frequency discussion is just ANOTHER DISTRACTION as long as:

– your ads suck (they don’t move your audience)

– you only run 1 ad variant

– your ads are not reverse engineered and part of a decent plan

But again, I could be wrong. What are your two cents?

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