Skip to content

What is Frequency Capping & Membership Duration in Google Ads?

Share this Article

What is frequency capping google ads

Consumers today are inundated with thousands of ads. It is estimated that we are exposed to roughly 10,000 ads every day – but surprisingly, our brains are pretty good at recognizing an ad that we’ve seen before. Consumers also need several exposures to a brand or product before they start to remember it, though.

This is why marketers will target specific audiences with their campaigns. Remarketing an audience by exposing them to multiple ads over a set period of time can be effective for building recognition.

However, over-advertising to a consumer can actually have the opposite desired effect, known as ad fatigue. This occurs when a consumer sees the same ad over and over again. They actually become bored or even frustrated and eventually stop paying attention altogether or even form a negative opinion of the brand.

Frequency ctr cpc
Source: AdEspresso

The best way to prevent ad fatigue is to use the Frequency Capping setting in Google Ads. Frequency is the number of times a user sees your display ads or video campaign over a given time. This setting lets you place a limit on the number of times a single consumer will view your ad campaign, so they aren’t inundated with repetitive content.

As mentioned, frequency capping is available for both display and video campaigns in Google Ads. Here’s what you need to know to set this up.

1. Using Frequency Capping on Display Ad Campaigns

Display ads can appear on any website through the Google Display Network. These may also pop up through apps or Google-owned sites, such as Gmail and YouTube. It is estimated that there are over 200 million sites where display ads may appear, and there are countless options for how these ads are displayed.

When you set the frequency cap for a display campaign, you manage the number of impressions you will allow an individual user to have on the campaign per day, week, or month.

Frequency capping can also be used to manage the number of impressions on a specific campaign, ad group, or singular advertisement.

Frequency capping display ads screenshot

Here’s How to Set a Frequency Cap for a Display Campaign:

  • Go to your Google Ads Account page
  • On the left-hand menu, select Settings
  • Next, click on Campaign settings and choose the display campaign for which you intend to set the frequency cap.
  • Select Additional Settings, then Frequency Management.
  • Next, you can select the limit for how many times that ad will be shown to the same consumer. Google offers a recommendation, but you can also choose your own setting.
  • Select Save to lock in your frequency cap.

2. Using Frequency Capping for Video Campaigns

Video Google Ads are a bit different, as audiences may not view the entire recording with each exposure. When you set the frequency cap for a video campaign, you set a limit for the number of impressions and/or views you will allow an individual user to have with the campaign for a given set of time. Frequency caps for video campaigns can only be set on the campaign level, not an individual ad.

Now, what happens if you are running multiple campaigns with the same videos? The good news is that Google tracks impressions across multiple campaigns, so each view counts towards the frequency cap. It should be noted that this is only for in-stream and Bumper ads.

Video ads frequency capping screenshot

How to Set a Frequency Cap in a New Video Campaign:

  • Log into your Google Ads account and select the left-hand page menu.
  • Hit Campaign settings, then click on the video campaign you need to add a frequency cap on.
  • Select Additional settings, then Frequency Capping. You will see two options:
    1. Cap impression frequency: This places a limit on how many times a single video ad will be visible to a user.
    2. Cap view frequency: This creates a limit for how many times a user may view or interact with a video ad.
  • Insert the limit number you want for either impressions or views for the campaign and the time interval (per day, week, or month).
  • Click Save.

3. How Do You Determine the Best Google Ad Frequency Cap?

So, the obvious question here is how you choose the best frequency cap number for a campaign. Google does offer a recommended cap number – and this can be a great default most of the time. The suggested number is based on Google’s data from similar campaigns.

However, you may want to change this yourself based on various factors. First, consider your market: a higher frequency may be best if you are a new brand in a fairly unsaturated market. Consider the message of your campaign as well. If it is a unique and highly memorable ad, the lower frequency would be better. You don’t want to annoy your audience with the same campaign over and over again.

Finally, consider the media and current situation. If you are pushing a specific time-sensitive product or promotion, you’ll want a higher frequency. However, go with a lower frequency if it is a “low season” time or you’ve got a long campaign planned.

4. What is a Membership Duration for Google Ads?

Google uses cookies to track a single user’s actions online, and it is used to enforce frequency caps. Membership duration is the length of time that the visitor’s cookies will be stored in your campaign’s remarketing list. Google defaults this to 30 days automatically – but you can adjust it based on your average buying cycle.

When you create a user list, you can decide how long a visitor’s cookie stays on your list if that person doesn’t revisit your site. If there’s no activity, the visitor’s cookie is deleted from the list at the end of the duration. If the person revisits your site, the clock is reset for another 30 days or for the duration you’ve set.

For instance, say that your website sells movie tickets. You might select a membership duration of a few days only, as customers are very likely to return to your site. But if you sell cars, you might choose a duration of a few months. While it might not take too much time for people to decide they want to buy movie tickets, it generally takes longer for someone to decide to buy a car.

If you sell holiday or season-specific items, you might choose a membership duration of a year so that you can reach the customers on your list when the holiday comes around the next year. The maximum membership duration is 540 days. If someone continuously visits a page, the clock is reset, and the visitor’s cookie stays on the list.

Frequency ctr cpc

How to Set the Membership Duration for an Audience List:

  1. Log into your Google Analytics account
  2. Select the settings gear on the bottom left-hand menu.
  3. Click on the Audience Definition Option, then select the Audiences option underneath.
  4. Select the Audience you want to edit and click on the Audience Definition option.
  5. In the membership duration box, put the number of days you want to set.
  6. Click on the next step and save the audience.

Need Help with Your Google Ads Campaign?

Running Google Ads can be quite tricky. There are so many features and factors to consider – not including the creation of your digital content, too. Foxxr Digital Marketing can help your business take your campaigns to the next level, thanks to our team of marketing experts.

We offer a range of services to help companies who need direction with their marketing strategies, including:

Get in touch with our team today to learn more and see how we can help your business grow!