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ANA Runs New Column by Adfidence CEO Jacek Chrusciany

The first article explores the issue of frequency capping and frequency targets in YouTube.

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) kicked off today a new column titled “Pathways to Transparent Media” by Jacek Chrusciany, CEO and co-founder of Adfidence. The first article, “Limitations of YouTube Target Frequency,” explores the well-known, but less talked about, issue of frequency capping and frequency targets in YouTube.

Google promotes this tool as a way to increase ad viewership, especially for brand awareness. However, Adfidence’s analysis shows that the tool does not perform as promised.

In fact, the tool often fails, with viewers seeing the same ad many times– a significant source of wastage.The piece goes on to provide actionable advice on how advertisers can best navigate this and other ad platform decisions.

Advertisers can look forward to the monthly “Pathways to Transparent Media” column for insights into digital advertising, and how to navigate its ever-evolving complexities.

Visit ANA to read the article here It’s also here in full:

Pathways to Transparent Media: Limitations of YouTube Target Frequency

By Jacek Chrusciany

Campaign set up can be an undervalued element of digital advertising. In practice, it requires meticulous navigation of myriad options, each with a substantial but often under-explained impact on the campaign’s success.

Yet these are the very details that can make or break the campaign. Done right, they boost ROI and brand relevance; done wrong, they lead to wastage and brand safety concerns.

Consider YouTube Target Frequency. It’s an option for managing ad frequency on the platform, as the name implies. Google markets it as a way to boost ad viewership on YouTube, especially for brand awareness campaigns. The tool works across various ad types, allowing advertisers to set frequencies like two impressions per person per week.

Advertising science, dating from radio to digital, shows the importance of optimized frequency. A balance is crucial. Capping does matter. Too few exposures are weak, too many can backfire.

On top of this, the prevailing assumption is that frequency caps enhance data insights. They deepen advertising reports, aiding future campaign strategies. At its core, using this tool is about effective messaging and strategic data use.

All things considered, the YouTube tool seems to offer a “set it and forget it” benefit that delivers excellent ROI for messaging and enables strategic data use. Global heads of media often refer to it as the solution to reach consumers the right number of times – neither too few, nor too many. But our research reveals that the real-world impact of the tool paints a different picture.

After setting up a campaign that targeted three impressions per viewer, here were the outcomes it produced:

  • Precision Gap: Only a small fraction, about 13 percent, of viewers saw the ad exactly three times, raising questions about the accuracy of targeting.
  • Overexposure Trend: More striking is that over 40 percent of viewers encountered the ad five times or more. Despite aiming for a frequency of three, many people see the ad many more times than this target.

The main takeaway here is that advertisers should rethink relying on YouTube Target Frequency. It’s not the surefire way to reach desired audiences at the right cadence it promises to be. The wiser choice is to set frequency caps directly.

Advertisers should also compare YouTube’s approach with other digital platforms. A thorough analysis and comparison can help media buyers make the most effective and efficient allocations.

Of course, frequency capping and frequency targets are just one of many areas requiring close attention in the fast-evolving world of digital advertising. Staying current on the nuances of these platforms and how to manage and measure them is crucial for preventing wastage and ensuring brand safety. For those overseeing media buying, it’s the key to shaping successful future strategies.

Jacek Chrusciany is CEO and founder of Adfidence.

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