Frequency on LinkedIn: making your Ads work harder - 008

Are you ads being seen enough?

Want to make your ads work harder on LinkedIn? Your problem may not be creative. It may be how many times people see your ads.

If you're working with someone who really knows their LinkedIn Ads. They'll be talking about some called 'frequency'.

For years I've been trying to answer the age-old question of - 'What is the perfect frequency?' Even today, I'm sitting in my office, gazing into the Irish countryside, pondering whether there is a perfect formula for how many times one should see your ad on LinkedIn.

The truth is - there is no perfect formula.

But I have settled on a rule of thumb, which I'll speak about today and by the end of this newsletter, you'll have an answer to the question - "How do I manage ad frequency with my LinkedIn Ads?

This month's newsletter may be the least-creative marketing newsletter ever written - but purposefully. Frequency is by no means a creative pursuit.

However, optimal ad frequency is essential to make your creatives work harder.

So what is ad frequency?

All the experts are talking about ad frequency. But what the fuzz does it mean?

The average number of times a LinkedIn member sees your ad, in a certain time period. (Formula= Impressions/Reach)

At the account level, this is pretty useless because you've many different audiences and many different ads in a single account. But at the campaign level and ad level, it's incredibly valuable as these are the reporting levels where you can see how much an individual audience is seeing your ads.

How do I view this on LinkedIn?

You can see it in the 'Delivery' drop-down column in the Campaign Manager tool.

The delivery drop-down on LinkedIn

How did frequency become a thing?

As a hobbyist data nerd, working at LinkedIn was a dream. We had access to huge combined data sets of all LinkedIn advertisers at our fingertips.

Frequency presented itself consistently as one of the major trends my colleagues and I explored for the high-value client QBRs. It was a reoccurring theme and the data showed us time and again that there was a large correlation between ad frequency and ad performance. So much so that we pushed for it to become a reportable metric in Campaign Manager.

(Benchmarks and trends are most certainly a time to listen to and challenge your LinkedIn rep - they have much more data to pull from than you do.)

We found that mid-high ad frequency would increase the likelihood that a target audience member would:

  1. Click an ad (improve CTR)

  2. Convert after clicking an ad (improve Conversion rate)

What is the psychology behind frequency?

The simple answer is familiarity bias, or the exposure effect.

Familairity bias is a cognitive bias in which people develop a preference for things simply because of their familiarity to them.

You're simply more comfortable with what you know.

Every day as a LinkedIn member, you're being exposed to 100s or 1000s of advertisements depending on your device usage, not all of those ads are present to make you immediately buy something. Most advertisers accept that there's brand impact that's built up over time but few measure and judge their individual creatives in this way, especially in B2B.

The truth is people are much more likely to convert if they're familiar with your brand and this also applies to people being familiar with your ads. That's essentially why brands with big budgets and shit creatives can buy your attention.

So what are the frequency ranges?

It evolves as the activity in the LinkedIn feed evolves but the rule of thumb is the below:

  • Low Frequency: Below 5 impressions per member per month.

  • Optimal Frequency: 6-10 impressions per member per month.

  • High Frequency: 11+ impressions per member per month.

How should you manage it?

The first rule:

Your frequency should NEVER be low.

Often, low frequency means that your target audience hasn't even noticed your creative yet. They more than likely haven't seen it enough. So why spend all that money on creative ideation and build for it to be ignored?

You should aim for your ad frequency to be mid-high every month. Anywhere between 6-10 impressions per campaign per month.

If you're really seeing great results at optimal frequency then you push your campaigns into the high-frequency territory. But do this with caution as this is when it starts to become dangerous. You don't want to become THAT brand do you?

Be very fearful of the word - spammy.

How do you know when you've pushed too far?

The first sign is declining CTR or Conversion rate depending on your objective. Once the graph week-over-week is consistently in decline, it's probably time to refresh your ads.

The second and most vital sign is negative sentiment. If someone takes the time to comment something like "I see this ad every day" or "How can I stop seeing this ad" then you've probably entered the dangerous territory of your frequency being too high.

"But there's no option to manage ad frequency on LinkedIn? So how do you manage it?"

I hear you. And I hope there will come a day where I never have to say this again but...

You manage it manually.

You can increase or decrease your ad frequency by:

  1. Matching your budget to your audience

If your audience budget suggestion is bigger than your actual budget, add some layers to make it smaller.

If your actual budget is bigger than your audience budget suggestion, then your audience may be too niche and you may need to take some layers off.

To be honest, the live click cost is what dictates how much budget you can spend. So you won't get a true reflection of your campaign frequency until you have set your campaigns live.

2. Have minimum 5 ads in each campaign

This is simply to get around LinkedIn frequency caps.

The more ads you have in a campaign, the more likely you are to have high frequency.

How to know early if you're on the right track?

If after 7 days:

  • Your frequency is 1, your audience is too big or your budget is too low.

  • Your frequency is around 2, you're on the right track.

  • Your frequency is around 4, your audience is too niche or your budget is too high.

Then after 1 month, follow the ranges:

  • Low Frequency: Below 5 impressions per member per month.

  • Optimal Frequency: 6-10 impressions per member per month.

  • High Frequency: 11+ impressions per member per month.

And that's it...

If you'd like to work together...

We advise on, build and report on everything I've mentioned above to help you be successful with your LinkedIn strategy.

So feel free to connect with me, reply to this e-mail or book a call if you:

  • Have any questions about the content

  • Would like to discuss your own LinkedIn strategy

  • Want me to build a LinkedIn Ad strategy for your business