The No Waste Approach to Facebook Ads

What is the Perfect Facebook Ad Frequency?


When your Facebook ad campaign’s performance is disappointing, your first instinct may be to look at metrics like average Cost per Click (CPC) or Cost per Action (CPA) and blame it on bad creatives or improper targeting.

However, there may be a less obvious issue with your advertisement campaign: Facebook ad frequency.

To run an effective advertising campaign and achieve your conversion goals, you need to understand how ad frequency is calculated and use tools like upRive to find the optimal frequency.

What is Facebook Ad Frequency?

According to Facebook’s definition, Facebook ad frequency is the average number of times that your ad was shown to each person.

Your campaign frequency metrics can be calculated as:

Frequency = Impressions / Reach


  • Impressions equal to the number of times your ads were displayed.
  • Reach is the number of unique users your ads reached.
  • Frequency is the average number of times the ad was served to each person.

Let’s say your ad campaign has generated 16,190 impressions and has reached 12,586 people.

The average frequency will then be:

16,190 / 12,586 = 1.29 per person.

As you increase the ads’ budget, you will receive more impressions, and the frequency of your ads will increase correspondingly. Simultaneously, because the number is just an average, some might have disproportionately seen your ads more than others.

How To See Facebook Page Reach Data

#1. Log into Business Manager

#2. Go to Insights

#3. Click Trends to see 

#4. Adjust the date at the top-right corner of the page

The Trends page will show you the reach of your Facebook Page and Instagram profile. You can then export the data to see the data points more granularly.

Why is Facebook Ad Frequency Important?

There could be many reasons your Facebook ad campaign doesn’t generate the returns you were hoping for: wrong audiences, insufficient budget, bad creative, and more.

With a more comprehensive evaluation, you can discover that frequency issues can have a major effect on your performance metrics like CPC or CPA. Here is how:

When the Ad Frequency is Too High

High ad frequency is a prevalent frequency issue. The two major problems that arise when a user has seen your ad too many times are ad fatigue and banner blindness:

  • Ad fatigue. When a user scrolling through the Facebook feed sees the same ad repeatedly, they get tired and annoyed. They feel like they’ve been bombarded by the same ad way too often.
  • Banner blindness. While ad fatigue describes exhaustion related to a specific ad, banner blindness refers to a phenomenon when an average internet user “tunes out” all ad-like information. When your ad frequency is too high, users are more likely to ignore your ads completely. Therefore, you may want your Facebook ads and posts to look fresh and new. 

In terms of content, these issues might mean changing your creatives, visuals, and messages.

When the Ad Frequency is Too Low

On the other hand, you may also encounter issues if your ad frequency is too low:

  • Lack of awareness. In simple terms, it means that your users haven’t had a chance to see your ad and learn about your business. If they don’t see your ad, they can’t click on it and purchase your product.
  • Wrong context. When the reach is high but the frequency is low, it is possible for your audience to see the ad but misunderstand its context. For example, if the user needs some time to think about purchasing your product, but only sees the ad once and in the wrong context, they are likely to forget and never complete the purchase.

What is the Perfect Facebook Ad Frequency?

If the ad frequency isn’t optimal, you are wasting your ad budget without desired results. 

To make the most out of your Facebook ad dollars, you can use upRive to achieve the ideal frequency and improve your ads’ results with more efficient split testing.

As a general thing, you want your maximum frequency to be below 10. If you’re a qualified Facebook ad expert, setting a frequency limit of 5 or under may be a good way to prevent increasing your CPC. According to Facebook, you want the Ad frequency to be between 1-2, with a tipping point of 3-5, after which your ad loses its effectiveness.

Several factors determine the effective frequency of your Facebook ads:

  • Where your ads are displayed. Showing your ads in a sidebar is less invasive than displaying them over and over again in a news feed. If your campaign is more invasive, it is more likely to frustrate your audience with a higher frequency and result in negative feedback.
  • Your target audience. If your ad viewers comprise warm audiences or people who trust your brand already, they are less likely to get annoyed with seeing your ads more often. If you are having trouble determining who you should show your ads to, you can split test your audiences with upRive. As always, setting up Lookalike Audiences is also one of the best ways to reach your target. After all, setting up the right audience segments is the key to a great ad campaign. 
  • The time frame of your campaign. To determine whether your ad frequency is off, consider how long your campaign is. If the average user has seen your ad 10 times in the past week, the frequency might be too high. On the other hand, displaying your ad 10 times in one to two months is unlikely to cause ad fatigue.
  • Match budget with audience size. Targeting 500 people with a budget of $100 per day might be overkill because they’ll see your ads too much. At the same time, with a budget of $10, it’ll take some time before the frequency becomes an issue. Monitor your metrics to determine the ideal budget for your audience size.
  • Variations in the ad creative. If you are using similar ad creatives across your campaign, seeing the same image or text at a higher frequency can be an issue for your audience. In contrast, when you have a great variation between creatives, high frequency is less likely to be a problem.

Of course, there are other ways to determine your peak Ad frequency. If your ads are getting too many negative comments, you might want to change some of your parameters altogether. 

Improve Efficiency of Your Facebook Ads with upRive

With Cost per Click, Cost per Acquisition, and audience reach, Facebook ad frequency is an important metric that advertisers should not overlook when trying to create profitable advertising campaigns.

To get the optimal return on your Facebook ad budget, you may want to split-test correctly to find the frequency that is just right. Use upRive to create ads more efficiently and drastically improve the conversion rates.

About the author

Samy Zabarah

Samy Zabarah is the creator of upRive. He also founded FUBSZ LLC, a Facebook ad management service based in Florida, USA, where he managed ad accounts for over 350 clients worldwide.

He started using Facebook ads in 2011, and since then, he has been using Facebook ads as his sole source of marketing.

By Samy Zabarah
The No Waste Approach to Facebook Ads