A Global Auto Brand Uncovers An Intriguing Relationship Between Facebook Ad Frequency, Recall And Favorability

By: Unified


Americans are exposed to more content and advertising than ever before—period. While there’s a bit of debate about the exact number of ads consumers are shown in any given day, the range, which goes from the high 300s to a whopping 5,000 ad or brand exposures is enough to wonder how any brand can break through the noise at all. Marketers at a Global Auto Brand were interested in understanding just how much is too much when it comes to serving up their ads to Facebook users. Working with Unified and a leading research firm, The Auto Brand was able to conduct an extensive study to uncover the magic number.


In order to effectively uncover the secret recipe to ad frequency success, marketers had to carefully construct 3 separate campaign experiments.

Over the course of a 3 week campaign flight, the Global Auto Brand sought to use video ads on Facebook to increase the purchase consideration for one of its flagship truck models among adults 18 years and older.

In order to pull this off successfully, marketers worked with Unified’s as well as a third-party market research firm to craft a strategy with the following components:

Action-Packed Antics

The videos used were designed to bring out the user’s inner adrenaline junkie, featuring the truck demolishing dirt dunes, a snowboarder catching air and a motocross rider digging up some serious dust. This creative not only speaks to the adventurer in most users, but the variety ensured that ad fatigue overall was controlled.

Three Blind Marks

Once the creative was established, marketers had to create a methodology that carefully controlled experiment. This was done by first isolating a small control group of users who were randomly chosen and resembled the traits, behaviors and demographics targeted by The Auto Brand. However unlike their campaign counterparts, this group would be purposely excluded from seeing the ads to create an opportunity for a clean comparison.

Finding Common Ground

With the control group identified and excluded, the next step was to determine the ad frequency amounts. In this case, frequencies ranged from low at 5 times throughout the entire campaign flight, to medium at 16 times, to an ambitiously high 27 times. These numbers were purposely determined to be varied enough to glean a better, more accurate of the different levels of exposure.

An “A” For Ad Recall

In order to determine whether there was any uplift in ad recall, brand favorability or perception attributes like adventurous, fun or versatile, a short survey was deployed to both exposed and control groups. These 1-2 question polls were made available on the right column within 4 to 48 hours post exposure.



Of Mid-frequency (16x over 21 days) Outperformed Similar Studies Within The Auto Vertical


Marketers who are looking to increase purchase consideration should consider increasing their ad frequency level to high, where users would not only be most likely to remember the ad but also shift their buying propensity. Alternatively, brands that are interested in increasing awareness metrics like brand favorability may consider a mid-level exposure approach instead.

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