So you’ve got a great digital ad out in the market, but you know your audience doesn’t want to be ‘annoyed’ by seeing it every 30 seconds when they’re online. So what can you do when less is more for your digital advertising? 

Frequency capping allows you to limit the number of times your ads appear for any given user meaning through a well thought through frequency capping strategy you can control how often your ads are seen on a daily basis.

In this article, we explore what frequency capping is, some frequency capping best practices and how you can use it in the Google Marketing Platform.

“A study by the Advertising Research Foundation reveals the value of repetitive impressions served to a single user starts to decline after a certain point”

What is frequency capping?

Frequency capping is a feature that limits the number of times your display or video ads appear to the same person. The frequency is the number of times a user sees ads in your display or video campaign over a given time period. Frequency capping works differently on display campaigns and video campaigns.

For display and video campaigns, only impressions that are viewable count towards frequency caps and can be set per day, week, month, or any combination. As you would imagine, the higher your frequency caps the more CTR decreases and the higher CPC is as illustrated from the below image from Instapage:

Benefits of frequency capping

  • Avoid ‘ad fatigue’ in your audience and prevent brand damage
  • Improve reach and effectiveness of your campaigns without increasing advertising spend
  • Increase efficiency by spreading spend throughout the funnel
  • Increase the time your campaigns can run for
  • Enjoy longer term benefits of consumer engagement and brand loyalty

“Marketing best practices encourage tailoring frequency caps for different user journey stages”

“70% of CMOs believe frequency capping can limit ad fatigue”

Frequency capping in the Google Marketing Platform

Importantly, for those using the Google Marketing Platform, you can leverage frequency capping within Display & Video 360 (DV360) where you can set the frequency cap at a campaign, insertion order or line item level. 

Where you set the frequency cap at a higher hierarchical level in the platform, it will always cap the frequency within that higher hierarchy i.e. if your campaign has a frequency cap of 6 impressions a day and an insertion order has a frequency cap of 4 for a particular ad format, no more impressions will display once the 6 campaign level impressions have been shown regardless of how many insertion order level impressions have been shown. 

The below case study from Samsung illustrates how frequency capping in the Google Marketing Platform can be an effective tool for driving better performance from digital ads.

Source: Google Marketing Platform: Samsung improves cost efficiency with Programmatic Guaranteed, YouTube

Benefits of using a single integrated ad technology

One of the major benefits associated with using an integrated ad technology like the Google Marketing Platform and DV360 is the ability to control your frequency capping across all your different digital media inventory including your video, audio, mobile apps, gmail and more. When using multiple DSPs to manage your digital media buying and campaigns, you may be able to manage frequency within each individual platform but you are unable to manage the frequency across all of the different platforms together which is where the benefit of DV360 is.

Frequency Capping for YouTube Ads

As the only DSP with access to YouTube inventory (other than Google Ads), DV360 allows you to set frequency capping across your YouTube ads. Importantly, as we mentioned above, because YouTube inventory is all managed within the integrated media buying of DV360 you can manage frequency capping across your YouTube insertion orders or line items but also across campaigns which can include other video or digital media inventory. Contact the experts at FiveStones for advice on frequency capping strategy.

The impact of a cookieless world on frequency capping

While there has been much discussion in the market about the impact of third-party cookies being deprecated, it is important to recognise that this change to the privacy landscape will not affect frequency capping in the Google Marketing Platform. As frequency capping in the Google Marketing Platform is based on first-party data about a user, the removal of third-party cookies in 2023 from Chrome will not have any impact at all.


Frequency capping is an important strategy for driving the reach and effectiveness of your digital media campaigns without increasing ad spend as well as reducing ‘ad fatigue’ and the associated brand damage that can go with it, but most importantly it can help with longer-term benefits like consumer engagement and brand loyalty. Frequency capping in the Google Marketing Platform is simple yet powerful within the technology and provides a single integrated way to manage frequency across all your digital media inventory.

For consultation or support in using frequency capping within DV360 and the Google Marketing Platform, please contact the experts at FiveStones today.