Reach and Frequency (Reservation): Facebook Buying Type

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When it comes to advertising on Facebook, there are two main ways to do it. The first is the auction-style method that many advertisers are familiar with. The second, called Facebook’s Reach and Frequency buying type (now called reservation buying type), works quite differently in terms of what you can do with your ads and who you can show them to.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at Facebook’s Reach and Frequency options. Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or just starting out, this post will help you understand how Reach and Frequency campaigns can make your advertising efforts on Facebook more effective. Join us as we explore this unique approach and learn how to use it to reach your advertising goals. 

Facebook’s Reach and Frequency or reservation buying type campaigns provide advertisers with a way to plan and reserve ad space well in advance. This approach allows them to lock in their advertising costs, specifically known as CPM, and ensures that their message is delivered to a specific audience with a controlled frequency throughout the campaign’s duration.

The significance of this strategy becomes evident in situations where precise message delivery to a defined audience is of utmost importance. This is particularly crucial during product launches, major announcements, or when introducing a brand or product to new market segments.

Reach and Frequency buying type

Reach and Frequency campaigns revolve around three primary objectives:

  • Predictable Costs,
  • Defined Reach,
  • and Controlled Frequency.

Advertisers can establish and adhere to their advertising budget, ensuring they avoid any unexpected financial surprises. They also gain the assurance that their message will be seen by the exact audience they intend to target. Moreover, they can manage how frequently their audience encounters their message.

How to Calculate Reach and Frequency

But, how you can calculate Reach and Frequency? Well, reach is generally calculated as the total number of unique users who have seen an ad over a specific period.

On the other hand, frequency is the average number of times the ad was shown to each individual person.

Reach and Frequency formula

How to Calculate Reach and Frequency in Advertising

In digital advertising, these calculations can often be extracted directly from the ad platform’s analytics (like Facebook Insights or Google Ads analytics). Here’s a general guideline:

  • Reach: Often provided by the platform based on user data and ad display metrics.
  • Frequency: Also typically provided by the platform. However, if you’re running multiple campaigns or ads, you might need to calculate a cumulative frequency by dividing total impressions by the total reach across all campaigns.

How to Set Up Reach and Frequency Campaigns on Facebook

Now, let’s see how you can set up your Reach and Frequency campaign on Facebook. The steps you need to take to set up a campaign correctly are: choose the objective, target audience, placement, ad creative, budget, and schedule, buying type, optimization and delivery, and measurement and analysis.

  • Choose the Objective: Select the campaign objective that aligns with your advertising goal. For eCommerce businesses, we recommend sales (conversions).
  • Target Audience: Define the audience based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and other targeting options.
  • Placement: Decide where your ads will appear across Facebook’s family of apps and services (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network).
  • Ad Creative: Design and upload your ad creative, ensuring that it complies with Facebook’s ad guidelines.
  • Budget & Schedule: Define your budget and set the schedule for your campaign. You can also see predicted reach and frequency based on your budget.
  • Buying Type: Choose ‘Reach and Frequency’ as your buying type.
  • Optimization & Delivery: Configure your ad delivery options and review everything before launching your campaign.
  • Measurement & Analysis: Once the campaign is live, monitor its performance through Facebook Ads Manager and utilize the data to make any necessary adjustments or to inform future campaigns.

And, that’s it. On buying type level you need to choose ‘Reach and Frequency’ for creating this type of campaign.

Facebook Ads Optimization for eCommerce store

Many eCommerce stores prefer optimizing their ads for purchase events or leads, especially when using Facebook’s conversion and lead generation campaign options. They do this for several good reasons: 

  1. Direct ROI Measurement: This approach lets advertisers easily see how much money they make from their ads, making it simple to understand if their advertising is making a profit.
  2. Data-Driven Optimization: By using data from tracking pixels, businesses can make sure their ads are shown to people who are most likely to make a purchase or become potential customers. This means their ad budget is spent on what really matters.
  3. Retargeting: eCommerce stores often use retargeting ads to bring back people who visited their website but didn’t make a purchase. This aligns perfectly with an ad strategy focused on conversions.
  4. Dynamic Ads: If an eCommerce store has lots of different products, they can use dynamic ads. These ads automatically show the right products to different groups of people based on what they’ve looked at before. It’s a smart way to boost conversions

Should I run Reach and Frequency for an eCommerce store?

However, it’s worth noting that while direct response campaigns (like those optimized for purchases or leads) form the backbone of most eCommerce advertising strategies, there are scenarios, where Reach and Frequency campaigns, could complement these efforts.

  1. Brand Building: For big eCommerce stores or brands entering new markets, building brand awareness among a broad audience can create a foundational awareness that direct response campaigns can later leverage. 
  2. Product Launches: In instances of significant product launches or releases, ensuring a wide swath of your target market is aware of the new offering can be pivotal, and this is where controlled reach and message frequency can be beneficial.
  3. Navigating Competitive Periods: During highly competitive advertising periods, like holiday seasons, when the cost of conversion-optimized campaigns can skyrocket, a blend of reach-focused and conversion-focused strategies might provide a balanced approach to maintaining visibility without exorbitant costs.
  4. Positioning and Perception: For campaigns aimed at shifting brand perception or communicating brand values (perhaps in alignment with wider trends or social movements), Reach and Frequency campaigns can ensure the message is consistently delivered to a wide audience.

It’s extremely important to note that CPM on reach and frequency ads can be 4-5 times higher than with regular campaigns (meaning that average CPM, which tends to be around $15 in the US, can go over $100), resulting in dramatic cost increases, with no guaranteed success.

Reach and Frequency Metrics

In the context of Reach and Frequency campaigns, CPM is locked in, offering budgetary certainty and ensuring that campaign reach is not compromised by fluctuating ad costs. Particularly relevant in scenarios where visibility is key, such as raising awareness among a new target demographic.

While CPM offers insights into visibility and reach, CPC offers a window into engagement, allowing marketers to understand how compelling and relevant users find their ad creatives and messages. Ensuring a healthy CPC within Reach and Frequency campaigns implies maintaining an engaging and relevant message, even while prioritizing reach and visibility.

Factors Influencing CPM in Reach and Frequency Campaigns

In Reach and Frequency campaigns, advertisers can lock in ad placements at a fixed cost, ensuring their ads appear as planned. However, during peak periods like holidays when ad slots are in high demand, securing these placements might come at a higher CPM to outbid the competition.

When it comes to premium ad inventory, these are the placements that perform exceptionally well or are in high demand, such as those on Facebook, Instagram, or the Audience Network. These sought-after spots might also have higher CPMs as advertisers compete to claim them.

Audience competition plays a vital role in determining CPM rates. If the targeted audience is in high demand, such as a demographic with strong purchasing power, securing a reach within that segment could necessitate a higher CPM to win the ad spots.

Additionally, Reach and Frequency campaigns are often employed to reach a wide audience across a platform. Ensuring that the message reaches a broad section of the intended demographic may sometimes require a higher CPM, particularly in competitive industries where advertisers are vying for the same audience’s attention.

Auction vs. Reach and Frequency

Auction buying on Facebook provides flexibility and is commonly used for various campaign objectives, allowing ongoing edits and optimizations with costs subject to demand and competition. On the other hand, Reach and Frequency buying allows advertisers to secure ad placements in advance, offering controlled, predictable ad delivery and fixed costs, suitable for large-scale campaigns where assured reach and message frequency are pivotal. Your choice between the two should hinge on your campaign goals, budget, and the necessity for either flexibility or controlled, predictable delivery.

  • Auction-Based Buying:
    • Dynamic Pricing: The cost is determined by the competitive landscape and is not fixed.
    • Flexible: Can adjust campaigns on the fly based on performance.
    • Target: Often used for conversion-oriented campaigns.
  • Reach and Frequency Buying:
    • Fixed Pricing: CPM is fixed, providing cost certainty.
    • Predictability: Ensures message is delivered to a defined audience with controlled frequency.
    • Less Flexibility: Modifications after booking may be limited.
    • Target: Suited for campaigns where controlled messaging and wide reach are crucial, like brand awareness campaigns.

Summing up

Reach and Frequency campaigns might seem like a good idea for spreading the word wide and controlling how often your audience sees your ads. But for eCommerce, especially for smaller players, it might not be the best choice. Why? It’s simple: it’s expensive and doesn’t guarantee the sales or leads that businesses often need to see where their money is going. Paying more for impressions, without a direct link to tangible results like purchases, might not be the smartest move when you’re trying to grow your business and keep the cash flow positive.

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