What is a Frequency and Why It Matters In Advertising

So you just ran your first advertisement. Congratulations! That’s a huge step in growing your business.

Now that your advertisement is live and being seen by millions of potential consumers, you might be eagerly anticipating thousands of sales. However, before you get ready to sell out of everything in your store, keep this in mind: one advertisement typically isn’t enough to create a huge spike in sales. 

We know, that’s not the news you were hoping for — but let us explain. 

The Importance of Frequency 

In advertising, frequency is one of the most important factors. Frequency is defined as “the number of times or frequency an average person or a household is exposed to the particular message of the advertisement.”

Typically, it takes about 3-5 exposures for a potential consumer to make a purchase. 

Think about yourself: when you see a new product online, in a magazine or on the shelves of your favorite store, do you typically buy it right away? Most likely, it takes you a few more exposures to actually put the item in your cart. That’s the case for most people, too.  

Frequency & How It Works

Here’s a real-life example: last week, I was scrolling through Instagram and saw an influencer wearing a pair of leggings that I really liked. I saw that she had tagged them, so I went to their Instagram profile and looked around. They were cute, but I wasn’t ready to commit, so I went back to scrolling. 

A couple days later, an advertisement for the same leggings popped up in my feed. This time, I went to the brand’s website and added a few items to my cart. After getting to the checkout, I decided that the leggings were just too expensive and ended up closing out of the webpage. 

I checked my inbox a few hours later, and saw the company had sent me a “You Forgot Something!” email with a coupon. I went back to their website and plugged in the coupon. Then I left the checkout window open in my browser for two weeks (looking at the leggings every few days) before finally pulling the trigger and making the purchase. 

That seems like an excessively long process, but I know I’m not the only one who shops like that! The point is, it took four exposures and a coupon before this brand was finally able to convert me into a customer. 

What Happens After Each Exposure? 

So now you’re probably wondering what comes next after running your first advertisement, and if that single ad does anything for your brand. The good news is, one single exposure actually does have a lot of benefits. 

The Initial Exposure 

In the example above, the initial ad (the influencer collaboration) made me aware of the brand. This is how advertising helps build your brand awareness. 

Even though I didn’t initially purchase a product, the brand now has my information. They now know that I’m interested, and that the influencer collaboration worked to some degree. They have information on who their target audience is, and who they are likely to reach by running this sort of influencer campaign. This is all incredibly helpful information for a company. 

Additionally, just because I personally didn’t make a purchase doesn’t mean that was the case for everyone. We’ve worked with plenty of clients that have reported sales after just one ad.

The Second Exposure 

After the second exposure, the brand now has my email address, phone number and mailing address. This is a hugely helpful piece of information for many brands. 

The brand can now add me to their mailing list, where they can send me newsletters, product releases, sales, etc. They might not have gotten me on the first exposure, but this information now gives them the ability to retarget me over and over again. 

It’s also important to mention that the second exposure can also generate sales. Do keep in mind that not every consumer needs 3-5 exposures to purchase (that’s just the average). 

The Third Exposure

Once the brand sent me an email with a coupon, I immediately went back to their website and continued shopping. This email tactic was a great way to get me back to shopping and thinking of the brand. My response to the coupon also told the brand that this process works and is something they should continue.

The brand can continue to evaluate information like this in the future to see which sort of retargeting tactics work, and which ones are a waste of their time and money. 

Where We Go From Here

After the third exposure, it’s typically only a matter of time until potential consumers turn into real customers. If you’re reaching the correct target audience (the first three exposures can help you determine this), and you stay consistent, we promise your advertising will pay off. 

It might take longer that you originally planned. Stay patient, though! Remember that you’re asking people to part with their money — most consumers don’t take that decision lightly! 

Try to keep in mind that with each advertisement you run, your brand still benefits in some way, even if that’s not with direct sales. 

I’ve Run Five Advertisements and Still Have No Sales 

If this is the case for you, it might be time to sit down and take a look at some of the things we’ve discussed above. 

What’s happening after your initial exposure? Is anyone biting, even a little? Do consumers seem to respond when you retarget them, or send a coupon? If the answer is no, it would be a good idea to talk with your sales representative and see what other options are available. 

Not seeing any results after multiple ads could mean that you’re reaching out to the wrong audience. This could also mean that your creative just isn’t appealing to the consumer. You can try redesigning your creative, changing up your copy, or trying a new product for your next ad. Sometimes a super simple swap like this can make a big difference for your results. 

Advertising might sound complicated, but it’s really quite simple! Plus, we’re here to help walk you through every step of the process. 

If you’re ready to book a frequency package, reach out to your sales representative and let them help you put together a comprehensive campaign proposal. And don’t forget, booking a frequency package almost always comes with extra discounts for booking more than one space!