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Finding the right frequency, part 2: evaluating effectiveness

Frequency management plays a crucial role in striking the delicate balance between capturing audience attention and avoiding overexposure in your advertising. In part two of our series on ideal frequency, we’ll explore three tips that can help you find success when it’s time to evaluate frequency for your campaign.

Frequency management can enable you to capture audience attention while avoiding overexposure. In part one, we uncovered the myths of effective media buying and their impact on frequency management. Now we’ll cover the strategic components to best evaluate frequency.

1. Consolidate buying into a single environment

If you buy your media in a single demand-side platform, you can control frequency through an identity graph, preferably together with your first-party data. An identity graph can tie together impressions across devices, giving you a holistic view of all the touchpoints where a person could see your ad. Without this tool, you might inadvertently expose a user to the same ad 10 times on each device, quickly amounting to wasted spend — and an exasperated consumer.

What’s more, you can de-duplicate audiences in a single buying environment by analyzing the yield, or impression availability from prospective publishers, and reviewing the inventory IDs coming through biddable environments. This process lets you see where reach can be maximized and where your target consumer is. Below is an example output of this exercise, which reveals not only where publishers add the most value, but also where frequency can add significant value out the gate.

A diagram assessment shows the overlap between target audience and publishers

Fig. 1: A sample publisher overlap based on target audience. This type of assessment allows users to see where the most opportunities are coming from across publishers and where there is overlap.

Once you consolidate sellers into a single buying environment, you can optimize the seller list to focus on aligning with the target audience and evaluate cost relative to supply-and-demand economies, relying heavily on machine learning to inform optimal price at scale. After initial consolidation and inventory refinement, you can control frequency across inventory sources, which can save you significant media spend that can be reinvested to help drive incremental reach and performance.

A graph shows the relationship between frequency and conversions.

Fig. 2: This graph shows the relationship between frequency and conversions. In this specific campaign, after five exposures to the ad, the conversion rate dropped significantly.

The above graph (Figure 2) shows the conversion rate dropping significantly after five exposures. If the budget that was used to reach people six-plus times had been reinvested into new audiences, it would have resulted in a 36 percent reduction in CPA.

Graph shows conversion rate after five exposures.

Fig. 3: This graph shows us that after five exposures, money could be reinvested to find net-new audiences.

In Figure 3, we see a distinct frequency cliff after five exposures. A frequency cap of six would have allowed 25% of the total budget to be reinvested — equivalent to reaching 4 million net-new households.

2. Control basic settings

Optimal frequency can drive performance if campaigns are focused on the right goals and use the right targeting settings, particularly when you concurrently use artificial intelligence as a co-pilot. Given the unique nature of each advertiser and campaign, we can’t provide specific guidance on campaign settings. But a general rule of thumb is to select a goal that reflects business objectives, and to be sparing with targeting settings, as too much targeting can restrict bidding options and potentially hinder performance. Instead, we recommend you rely on bidding algorithms to optimize toward inventory that supports performance objectives and away from inventory that does not.

We also advise that you take a second look at general campaign restrictions, such as:

  • Site lists
  • Supply path optimization settings
  • Segmentation use (and the data elements)
  • Budget bifurcation
  • Brand safety settings
  • Any other targeting rails that may hinder bid discovery
3. Analyze frequency holistically and set a proper frequency range for your campaign

A holistic identity graph can help you understand the impacts of frequency across environments and devices, and manage your users’ journeys across touchpoints — from Connected TV, audio, native, display, digital out-of-home, and other sources.

In a recent analysis, we found that marketers who managed frequency across a single environment achieved six times more effective reach — meaning they were able to scale budgets to preferred audiences (and outcomes) by six times through frequency management alone.

Source: The Trade Desk research, based on 100 deals across the platform over the course of five days.
The Trade Desk does not guarantee the same results.

If you’re unsure whether you’re ready to evaluate frequency with your current settings, reach out to your account manager to review your campaign settings.

Continue to part three to get the seven steps to evaluate ideal frequency on The Trade Desk.

Need help finding your optimal frequency? Our trading team is focused on diving into data with you to maximize your investments across the open internet.

The Trade Desk provides this information for the general knowledge of its clients or prospective clients and does not make any representations nor guarantees of any kind with regards to the future performance.