BVOD Blind Spot part 4: Is frequency too high?

Stu Carr
By Stu Carr | 29 June 2022
Stu Carr

The BVOD frequency capping debate continues, with publishers and advertisers under fire for serving up too many of the same ads per viewer.

But is high frequency really the frequency problem? This is the 4th article in Adgile’s BVOD Blind Spot series by Stu Carr, director of customer insights, Adgile.

A brief history of frequency management on TV

Frequency management has evolved over a number of waves …

1. The psychology wave (1972) spawned the minimum 3+ weekly frequency goal as a result of the work by Herb Krugman (Head of Advertising Research at General Electric) determining that advertising requires three “psychological” exposures within close proximity to be effective.

2. The recency wave (1995) resulted in the 1+ weekly frequency goal and ‘always-on’ flighting, aimed at being the last advert exposure before purchase. This was championed by Erwrin Ephron as part of his Recency Planning approach built off of the work by John Philip Jones.

3. The (in)attention wave (2010 onwards) challenged the continued effectiveness of the 1+ approach, including by Erwin Ephron himself. A separate Sky UK study concluded that the optimum frequency sits in a range between 8 and 14 exposures.

Determining your optimum frequency
To understand where the optimal BVOD frequency lay, we consulted Adgile’s aggregated BVOD performance data bank consisting of over 1b impressions. Adgile’s deterministic conversion tracking allowed us to compare campaign response rates by weekly frequency, for each of the 102 campaigns in the databank.


Based on response rate the optimal weekly frequency sits in the 7 to 15 range, with rates increasing dramatically as frequency grows between 1 and 6. Whilst not every campaign has a response objective, when looking at aggregated data on the scale of a billion impressions, potential inference can also be made regarding higher frequencies driving higher brand outcomes as well.

A common complaint with BVOD is excessive session frequency, yet when looking at excess frequency in general it only represents 2% of impressions served. However, a whopping 91% of impressions are served with frequencies under the optimal weekly frequency.

While the optimal frequency range varied by brand, the resounding theme was the same, frequency levels were too low rather than too high.

Frequency is not a one size fits all approach
Every campaign and every brand will vary, with different objectives, durations and budgets. What our analysis shows is that frequency has a huge effect on campaign outcomes, and advertisers could easily double their response volumes by optimising their weekly frequency.

The good news is that the optimal frequency range for brands can be quantified, activated upon and held to account. BVOD analytics data can in turn fuel Linear TV strategy, providing even great returns for Advertisers.


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