Have you been laid up on the couch due to a summer cold and your thoughts eventually wander to content marketing and frequency capping? I can’t be the only one, can I? Maybe I am alone in thinking that way. But I’m not alone in thinking about the repetitious nature of commercials. Surely you have been sick and stuck at home nursing your sore throat with some hot tea and a remote and got tired of the exact same commercials constantly looping while watching hours of mindless television. If so, then you have thought about frequency capping without even realizing it.

After a certain amount of exposure, an ad has diminishing returns. If a user has seen the same ad 10 or more times and not taken the desired action, then they probably never will. At this point, seeing the ad may make the viewer angry, or worse, cause them to become hostile to your product and brand. “Frequency capping” is the digital advertising term for setting limits on the number of times a user sees an ad.  However, with television ads there is no such limit, which means a viewer can be exposed to an ad a countless amount of times.

Navigating Daytime Television

When I am sick, I require a special type of TV: mindless and easy to sleep through. Recently, I was laid up with a summer cold and ended up watching hours and hours of daytime television, unlike my typical day spent navigating social media (for clients of course). I landed on MTV Classic, because talk shows, news, and reruns are not what I enjoy when I’m sick. MTV Classic scrolls through short music videos from the 80s and 90s that don’t require much, if any, brain power, and has the added perk of changing things up every few minutes. When a song or an ad comes on that I don’t like, I know that it will be over soon.

The music videos weren’t repetitious but, regrettably, the commercials were. Maybe you’ve had the same experience? Commercials about health issues, medication, cars, cleaning products, latest-and-greatest products, and every service imaginable target daytime television viewers like the elderly or stay-at-home parents. Being bombarded with commercials left me considering my own advertising efforts and how it benefits the target audience.

Frequency of Ad Messaging

Being a content marketer, I got to wondering about the repetition of commercials. Does the repetition of commercials help or hinder the message? Is there a point when you see the same commercial one too many times that it completely turns you off of the product forever? Or does the constant barrage of commercials make you more likely to purchase what you keep seeing on impulse?

Based on my very scientific research of personal experience, I have noticed that I tend to be swayed by commercials for products that I already had an interest in. For example, a new puppy in the family has made me more interested in pet products. After seeing about 20 commercials for Chewy.com I was finally persuaded by the happy puppies to log on to the online store and browse their pet food, treats and supplies and take advantage of their fast shipping. I picked out a selection of bones, but didn’t register for their subscription service, and in a few days there was a box at the door waiting for us to dig into.

Unfortunately for JG Wentworth, a financial services company that helps people get the cash they deserve from their structured settlement payments, their commercials don’t persuade me to get my cash now. I’m not the target market, and even if I was I don’t think that having heard that jingle for the eleventy-billionth time that I would be persuaded to call them up. I wish there was a frequency capping setting that could spare me from having to sit through the same few commercials during every commercial break.

Looking For Meaning in the Noise

Being overexposed to a ad either pushes me over the edge and encourages me to try the product or it makes me stay away from the product forever. Watching daytime television has made me realize the power of digital advertising. You can deliver your message to your ideal target market and control how many times the user sees the ad.

Does that mean that marketers should stop general branding ads and only target those most likely to engage with their product? Certainly not. Branding ads have their place in a healthy marketing mix. But if you have tailored content that is not meant for general consumption digital advertising can be your best solution for getting exposure.

Interested in finding out how you can best get the right content in front of the right audience? Contact Harris Quinn at [email protected] to set up a time to talk.

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