Digital Audio

Three Facts You Didn’t Know About Optimal Frequency Levels

Hadley StorkApr 15, 2020

How important is frequency, *really?*

Marketers are increasingly trying to find ways to leverage frequency in their campaign strategies, but many don’t have all the facts of how to implement it effectively. But, we can help! Through robust research and analysis on multiple campaigns and across multiple verticals, we have surfaced the three biggest insights about frequency that can help you with your next campaign.

1. Brand awareness is directly tied to frequency

Frequency levels are typically thought of as a proxy for whether a consumer will associate the desired message with the brand. To test this market belief, we analyzed brand awareness over 170 studies. Across the board, in every brand metric, 4+ ad exposures generated the highest increases.

One study that analyzed frequency levels for a popular beverage company highlights these effects on a campaign-level. They were introducing a new beverage line, enabling us to observe real-time effects of consumers who were learning about the product for the first time:

Consistent with the previous findings, across all the measured KPIs, frequencies of 4+ were shown to have the highest lifts. These results make sense intuitively—if you want to build brand awareness and brand equity, you’ll want to make sure that your message is heard multiple times.

2. Increased frequency and strong creative drive lower-funnel performance

Over the past four years, our team has worked closely with a CPG brand and recently helped answer the question of how frequency levels worked to drive sales lift.

As the graph shows, campaigns that had higher frequencies saw up to 4x the amount of sales lift as the campaigns with lower frequencies! As consumers are making a decision to purchase a product, they will likely choose the one that comes to mind first. It’s important to keep your brand top of mind through increased exposure.

It should be noted that the two highlighted campaigns also stood out from the others because of their strong creative. Our previous research shows how following creative best practices can drive sales lift. The top-performing campaigns followed the same creative guidelines, which is why they were able to increase their frequency effectively without consumers getting tired of hearing the ad too often.

3. New & emerging brands have to work twice as hard as established brands to get the same amount of lift

Upon analyzing 40 unique CPG brands, we observed brand familiarity seriously impacts an ideal frequency level.

The majority of established brands maintained frequency levels of 1-2x per week and consistently saw a healthy increase in sales between 5-10%. However, most new and emerging brands have to employ frequency levels closer to 3 or higher to achieve a 5-10% lift in sales. In order to break through the competitive noise of established brands, we see that newer brands need to over-index on how often they’re getting in front of prospective consumers. Frequent messaging is how emerging brands can distinguish their brand and begin building consumer trust.

Leveraging frequency as part of your strategy

  • Frequency matters for the entire sales funnel.

Frequency levels are another tool in your strategy belt. Research shows that it can directly impact KPIs throughout the entire sales funnel. Make sure you’re using it wisely!

  • Assess your position in the market.

Your optimal frequency level will largely depend on what you hope to accomplish with your campaign. For instance, if you are a new brand, if there is lots of competition in your market, or you have a short campaign flight, you may want to consider a higher frequency. But if you are a household brand or have a sustained media strategy, a lower frequency might work best for you.

  • Trust begets action.

One way to build trust is by making sure your message is heard consistently. Think about it – as consumers, we are more likely to purchase brands that we trust and the reason we trust them is because we’re familiar with them. One way to make sure that consumers trust your brand is through increased exposure.

For more individual strategies on optimizing your frequency levels, contact your Pandora rep today!


1. Kantar Millward Brown + Pandora study 2019 2. Nielsen Catalina Solutions + Pandora studies, 2015-2019

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