Frequency Capping

For several decades advertisers concentrated their spending on commercials with the goal of reaching at least 3 ad exposures within short time periods (referred to as a frequency strategy). The inspiration behind 3-exposures-in-short-time came from a psychological theory proposed by Herbert Krugman in 1965 who suggested that the first impression of a an unfamiliar product or brand may still be confusing to the audience. Only the second impression can bring clarity and be noticed in order to have a positive effect on purchase behavior. However, starting with the 3rd or 4th impression already, the additional impact may be diminished or 0. The very smart ROI driven marketers didn't waste much time in figuring out that 3 was their lucky (optimum!)  number.

However, Atlas (now a part of Microsoft) found a flaw in the theory while conducting a study in 2003. Their study report "Optimal Frequency - the impact of frequency on conversion rate" is available here for download. I'll write more about this study in my next post. Atlas claims that it has been able to leverage its excellent capabilities in "frequency capping" for gaining competitive advantage - that explains how important "frequency capping" is for digital advertising.

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