Vivian Atwater
Vivian Atwater 16 November 2021

Frequency Capping and Why it’s Important

Connected TV (CTV) is the most widespread it has ever been, and as time passes and technology advances, its growth will only continue to accelerate. With this dramatic shift in how people are consuming content, advertising is changing as well – with the money spent on programmatic predicted to reach $6.73 billion in 2021.

Nevertheless, with all the benefits CTV advertising brings, there’s also a potential pitfall in consumer ad fatigue. Mitigating this can be done with an advertising technique called frequency capping.

What is Frequency Capping?

Simply put, frequency capping is just limiting how often a certain consumer sees a particular advertisement. This is important in the modern environment of CTV advertisement as the technology involved allows for a much greater degree of ad targeting, rather than blanket campaigns that might result in irrelevant ads being shown to the masses in the hopes of converting the few.

An increase in targeting is not without downsides, however, as left unchecked, it can lead to the same selection of adverts being displayed to the same users over and over again.


Too high of a frequency in advertising will almost certainly lead to viewer ad fatigue, which in turn could result in a decrease in engagement. Something which may have initially interested them can become routine, boring, and potentially annoying. By setting an ad frequency cap, you can set a number of variables to customize the experience the viewer receives, to increase viewer engagement.

These variables include:

  • When the cap is reset, for example every day, month, or even once per the entire duration of the campaign.

  • What particular component you’re setting a cap on, such as the ad, advertising campaign, or the advertiser themselves.

  • How many times a specific advert is displayed, e.g. 1,5,20 times and so on.

A frequency cap is usually set with the above variables, and potentially more, when negotiating rates and other specifics with the company selling the advertising space. Yet, with the prevalence of programmatic selling it is possible to update these parameters mid campaign, providing the partner you’re working with agrees and facilitates this.

Why you Should use Frequency Capping

By placing limits on your ad frequency, you can drive benefits from multiple perspectives, not just that of the advertiser. The user/content consumer receives a more pleasant experience, their ad exposure is more balanced to not disrupt their viewing. This leads to a happier viewer, one who is more likely to engage with and be responsive to ads of interest. 

The advertiser will also see increased performance from their ad campaigns. This stems from several factors which come from targeting a wider pool of viewers instead of oversaturating the same viewers.

By not over-exposing a user to the same ad content, they are far more likely to watch an advert in its entirety, rather than walking away or withdrawing their attention from it like they may have done whilst experiencing ad blindness or ad fatigue. This greatly increases the chance the viewer will click through, or otherwise act on the ad.

In addition to the above, by limiting how often the same ad can be shown, the campaign can increase the number of unique impressions it makes. By increasing the number of unique impressions, you are also increasing the chance of converting those impressions into click throughs, and ultimately sales.

This more evenly spreads the advertising budget across potentially interested users, increasing your ad performance and return on investment (ROI).

The Takeaway

In a very real way, advertising makes our technological world go round. It allows creatives to do what they love for a living, and for consumers to access high quality content for free whilst being exposed to products and services that can positively affect their lives.

Still, there is a very fine balancing act needed to keep those ads generating revenue for the advertisers themselves, yet not infringing on the enjoyment and everyday lives of the consumers. To that end, frequency capping is an invaluable tool which every advertiser in the CTV world should embrace with open arms, lest their viewership tire.

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