3 Ways to Combat Facebook Ad Frequency Issues

First, let’s define Facebook ad frequency. It’s a very straightforward concept.

Facebook ad frequency refers to the number of times the average person within your target audience has been shown a particular ad.

For example, an ad frequency of 5, means the average person within your selected targeting options has been served your ad 5 times.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone within your target audience has seen your ad 5 times. Some will have been served your ad many more times than that and some will probably not have seen it at all.

Because Facebook audiences don’t automatically renew themselves (at least not quickly) like a search based audience does, high ad frequency numbers do occur and they can be a big issue.

When you reach high ad frequency numbers, ad fatigue will set in and you’ll almost certainly see a drop off in results.

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When Does High Facebook Ad Frequency Become An Issue?

Whilst your ads continue to generate a great cost per conversion, the answer is: not yet.

I have seen ads continue to deliver great results with high frequency numbers, but they are exceptions.

Most of the time, I start to see a drop off in results when Facebook ad frequency reaches 2.0-2.5.

If your ad has stopped performing as well it used to, check to make sure your ad frequency isn’t higher than that (if it is, keep reading ).

How quickly your ads reach this point depends on 2 factors:

The smaller your audience and the more you spend, the faster your Facebook ad frequency will increase.

Of course there are times when 2.0-2.5 is not the point at which you’ll start to see diminishing returns. There are a couple of big caveats…

Facebook Ad Time-frames

If your Facebook ad has been running for 6 months or more and you’re only just starting to see ad frequency numbers above 2.0, you can probably keep running that ad for a while longer.

An ad frequency above 2.0 is usually a problem because at that point, ad fatigue starts to set it.

But if 6 months passes between the first and second time a prospect sees your ad, they are very unlikely to remember that they’ve already seen it.

And if a prospect can’t remember that they’ve already seen it, the ad should be as good as new.

Facebook ad frequency over time

The image above shows stats for an ad that has been running for well over 6 months.

Ad frequency has reached 2.88, which would normally be a problem.

But because it has taken such a long time for the frequency to reach that number, it continues to generate a fantastic cost per lead.

Retargeting Warm Audiences

Warm audiences are nearly always a lot smaller than cold audiences.

Unless you have an enormous brand or following, the number of people that have visited your website, bought your products or joined your email list is going to be far less than your cold target audiences.

Facebook Advertising Launch Plan Buyers List

The image above shows a list of people that have bought one of my products called the 30-Day Facebook Advertising Launch Plan in the last 6 months.

There are only 1,500 people in this audience. If I advertise to these people, I’m going to see very high ad frequency numbers, very quickly.

However, you have a lot more leeway when it comes to warm audiences.

Warm audiences, particularly previous customers of yours, are far more interested in what you have to offer than cold audiences.

And they will tolerate being shown the same ad many more times.

It is not uncommon for ads to deliver fantastic results with ad frequencies of 10+ when they are targeted at warm audiences.

There isn’t an established rule on a frequency number to look out for here.

You will just have to play it by ear and wait until you start to see a drop off in results before you make adjustments.

Combat High Ad Frequency

If you have seen a drop off in results and your ad frequency is too high, there are ways to combat this issue.

Here are 3 of my favourites:

#1 Change Your Ad Creative

It’s hard to give up advertising a winning offer to an effective target audience.

And maybe you don’t have to…

When I run into Facebook ad frequency issues, often the first thing I look to change is the ad creative.

To overcome ad fatigue you need to significantly change your ad if you want to keep advertising the same thing to the same group of people.

The best way to do that is by changing ad format.

If you’ve been using an image ad, try creating a video ad or vice versa.

For example, this video ad is promoting our a lead magnet called the 5-Part Facebook Ad Template:

Facebook ad template video ad

When ad frequency gets too high and ad fatigue sets is, we can use this image ad to promote the same thing:

Facebook Ad Template Image Ad

You can also try changing your imagery – just make sure that your new ad is very different from your original.

In my experience, just changing the headline or copy, isn’t enough to combat high Facebook ad frequency. If you’re new ad uses the same image or video, your prospects will easily recognise it, and that recognition is what you need to avoid.

#2 Target a Different Audience

If your offer has performed well and you’ve got killer ad creative that you don’t want to change, you can try targeting a different audience.

The best way to do this, is undoubtedly with a lookalike audience.

Lookalike audiences based off people that have taken your desired action (lead, purchase, etc.) are incredibly effective. In fact they often outperform the original cold audience.

Original cold audience results:

Facebook ads cold audience results

Lookalike audience results:

Facebook ads lookalike audience results

Another great strategy for finding new cold audiences is take a look at the page likes section within audience insights.

To do this, go into audience insights (within Ads Manager) and enter basic demographic information for your target market,

Then enter your winning targeting option, as you can see below:

Facebook audience insight demographic info

Then navigate to the page likes tab and scroll down to the page likes section:

Facebook audience insights page likes

And voila, you should see a bunch of great targeting options that you can test.

Word of warning: Using the strategy mentioned above can generate a lot of audience overlap. It’s often best to exclude your original targeting option from your campaign to make sure you’re advertising to new people!

And of course, for those businesses that are able to provide products and services nationwide or internationally – you can simply advertise to new locations.

#3 Offer Something Else

No matter how amazing your product or service is, there’s only so many people that will be interested in it and only so many different ways you can advertise it.

At some point you will need to advertise something else.

In fact, a lot of Facebook advertisers wait too long to offer something else. They get married to a winning offer and try to squeeze every last drop out of it.

It can be a lot easier to create multiple offers for the most hyper-responsive people in your target market.

This is particularly true if you have a list of customers that you can repeatedly market to.

And new offers don’t necessarily need to be that different from the original.

Many e-commerce companies can start with a different colour range or new size options.

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High Facebook ad frequency will often lead to a significant increase in your Facebook ad cost.

Once ad frequency reaches 2.0-2.5, you can expect to see a drop off in results. Although there are notable exceptions.

To combat Facebook ad frequency issues, you need to make some adjustments to your Facebook ad campaigns.

There are a number of ways to do this, but my 3 favourites are:

  • Change your ad creative
  • Target a different audience
  • Offer something else

Before you go, I’d love to know the Facebook ad frequency number you reach before you start to see issues.

Is it 2.0-2.5 like I’ve seen? Or is it something else? Let me know by leaving a comment below.