Ad Frequency: Don’t Be a Nag

Ad Frequency: Don’t Be a Nag

Lots of Rubber Ducks

Repetition may aid retention, but too much repetition can get annoying. In the case of advertising frequency, it’s important to find that balance between ensuring you make an impression and trying to keep that a good impression.


When deciding what your frequency will be for a given campaign, we recommend adding the goal of “a positive user experience” to your list. If all you consider is ensuring you are memorable, you may lose the opportunity to be remembered in a positive light. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you put your order together:

How time sensitive is your message?

If you only have two weeks to make sure everyone knows you’re having a sale, you can get away with being a little repetitive. Since your message won’t be running long, there will be relief soon.

How well known are you?

If your intended audience is unaware of your brand or product in the first place, it may take more time for them to notice you. This means you may need higher frequency (and impactful creative) to get through. It also means they may not get tired of you as quickly.

How many ads can you rotate?

Ad rotation can be a great buffer. The same exact ad over and over will become tiresome much more quickly. Just think of the difference between listening to one song on repeat versus looping one album.

What mediums are you using?

Frequency caps are a little different depending on the medium. Here are a few examples to give you a starting point:

Linear TV & Radio

For linear television and radio ads (basically non-streaming, non-digital), you need to establish a minimum separation between your spots. For example, “no two spots within 20 minutes of each other”.

Digital Ads

There are a multitude of types of digital ads, all with slightly different parameters, but to give you a starting point, try to limit impressions to something like 3-5 per day per person. This will be more difficult with a narrower audience or time frame, but by keeping your ads relevant (refer back to your buyer personas!) and rotating creative, you can relax that a little.

Weekly Newsletters

If you’re considering buying ads in a weekly e-newsletter and need to decide how many consecutive weeks to buy, start by looking at the open rate and positions available. On average, e-newsletters are opened by 8-30% of subscribers (and not always the same ones every time) so in general you can get away with more weeks in a row, especially at a lower position. There is an opportunity for your brand to “own” the space if you can afford to and it’s a good fit. We would still encourage you to rotate creative at least quarterly to reinvigorate interest (or at least avoid going stale).


At the end of the day, try to prevent your audience from feeling like you’re nagging them. And keep in mind that the more relevant and impactful your ad is, the less often they’ll need to see or hear it to remember you. Of course, frequency is just one component to building a solid advertising strategy. Click below to check out our infographic.

3 Statistics That Will Make You Rethink Direct Mail

3 Statistics That Will Make You Rethink Direct Mail

The next time you check your mailbox, look and see how much of what you received is marketing mail—it’s a lot, right? So it probably won’t surprise you to learn that around 58% of the mail Americans receive has a clear marketing goal (Source: USPS).

That volume may have decreased since the “bad old days” before the cheaper alternative of email, but many brands still see a return on their direct mail investments.

We’ve talked before about how print media is still alive and well, and according to the data we’ve seen in the last few years, the same can be said for direct mail, too. Here are 3 key stats that our caught our eye:

#1. Direct mail had an average response rate of 9% for house lists and 4.9% for prospect lists in 2018. (Source: Data & Marketing Association)

These numbers were almost double what they were in 2017. One theory for this increase is that lists are getting more sophisticated thanks to better data aggregation, so the people receiving direct mail campaigns are increasingly people who actually want that information. And with the right type of messaging and good timing, you can increase that response further.

#2. Direct mail recipients purchased 28% more items and spent 28% more money than people who didn’t get that piece of direct mail. (Source: USPS)

A tangible piece of mail has a much deeper impact on our brains than something digital. 75% of people can recall a brand from seeing a direct mail piece (Source: Marketing Profs) compared with 44% who just saw a digital ad. Plus, 90% of direct mail gets opened (Source: Data & Marketing Association), compared with only 20%-30% of emails. Add all that together and you have a huge opportunity to move the needle.

#3. Consumers aged 45-54 are the demographic group most likely to respond to direct mail pieces (Source: Data & Marketing Association).

Before we get too excited by the opportunity and risk over-inflating the data, confirm where your target audience falls. Younger consumers are still more digitally responsive, but it is heartening to note as well that 30% of millennials believe they are more strongly affected by direct mail (Source: DMN) versus the 24% who said they were strongly affected by email.

Of course, it’s easy to pull out a couple of stats and draw whatever conclusion we want to, but overall, the opportunity seems to exist. The key to seeing these results in your own campaign will be:

  • The quality of your list
  • The timing of your mailer
  • The offer you’re making
  • The way you offer it

Direct mail is still a hefty investment. So while you could use it to garner awareness, your ROI will be a lot higher if you leverage it for conversions. There is no silver bullet in marketing, but if you’ve left direct mail off your list of considered tactics for the last decade, now might be the time to consider it again.

Infographic: Build Your B2B Advertising Strategy

Infographic: Build Your B2B Advertising Strategy

We wish we could share our Media Department’s planning spreadsheets—they really are a thing of beauty. By meticulously laying out every piece of a campaign’s puzzle, our team is able to visualize both the granular and top-level details. They put this level of detail in every campaign beacuse they know how important it is to leave no stone unturned, all while keeping the campaign’s goals, message, budget and audience front-and-center.

We walked through this process in a recent blog post, but we felt it would also make sense to illustrate these ideas visually. You can check out these main ideas below and use the button at the bottom of the post to download a hi-res PDF. 

Trade Publisher Platforms: The Foundations of a B2B Advertising Campaign

Trade Publisher Platforms: The Foundations of a B2B Advertising Campaign

As discussed in a previous post, trade publishers have the access to subscriber data and industry research to help build the fundamentals of a B2B advertising strategy. Typically, these publishers and their platforms — which include their printed publications and website, eNewsletters and conferences — are a top source for both the awareness and consideration phase of the buyer’s journey.

Analyze Data

Trade publication information should always be viewed in the context of the source you’re getting it from. A best practice is to request the same information from all trade sources and use that as a gauge to determine the better approach in reaching your specific target.

As with any ad campaign, a multiple touchpoint approach is most effective. Depending upon the number of publishers within your trade, it’s best to select two to three (budget allowing) as your starting point. Most budgets will not allow an advertiser to be everywhere. You can evaluate and select partners based on a few key data points:

  • How well they reach your target: Reader profiles will help in making this selection
  • Relevancy and quality of editorial: Read through a few sample issues and check the content-to-ad ratio
  • Digital savviness: Association pubs are often less likely to have a lot of digital opportunities

Evaluate Opportunities

Depending on your goals and your audience’s media consumption preferences (print, digital, face-to-face), evaluate the opportunities available from the publishers you selected and begin to allocate budget.

If utilizing a print publication, know that full-page ads are usually placed first and are located in the front of the book; smaller space ads tends to be placed in the back third of the book. Placement can be requested but most publishers will add a premium to the cost of the ad to guarantee the placement. A good rule-of-thumb is to request front third, right-hand side adjacent to relevant editorial, knowing the you may not get everything that you ask for.

As for publishers’ digital platforms, eNewsletter banner ads are generally better than website banner ads if your budget doesn’t allow for the campaign to have both. Website banner ads can be good for general awareness goals and are generally available at a lower price point. However, eNewsletters are requested by recipients so they are something they want to receive and are likely to engage with at least some of the time.

For eNewsletters, request the number of subscribers, opens and open rate and stats for ad positions or native content if available. eNewsletters are utilized to drive site traffic and can account for 30% or more of visits. If eNewsletter ads don’t fit into your budget, banner ads on “article” pages can be a good placement and typically offer a lower CPM.

Conference and meeting sponsorships can also have value if face-to-face contact is a priority for your sales cycle. To maximize sponsorship budgets, have a plan to engage attendees prior to, during and after the event in order to capture cool and hot leads.

And remember: successful sponsorship of events is more than having your logo on materials — having access to the attendees is the true value so you have an opportunity to develop leads and cultivate relationships.

Trade publishers work to keep your industry engaged and provide value to you as an advertiser and your customers as readers. Some industries will have more opportunities than others, but more than likely you will find multiple publishers with already-engaged audiences for you to leverage.

3 Key Factors to Improve Your B2B Advertising

3 Key Factors to Improve Your B2B Advertising

The general approach to B2B advertising is not all that different from B2C advertising. The fundamentals are the same:

  1. Know your customers and develop buyer personas
  2. Know their pain points and solve their problems
  3. Understand the buyer’s journey and sales cycle

The messages and message distribution you choose will be driven by the specific trade(s) your service or product targets. Bouvier Kelly works with clients that have a broad horizontal trade focus such as Industrial Safety; or a vertical trade focus such as Convenience Stores; or an extremely niche focus such as Surfboard Shapers and Manufacturers. Each trade, industry or target has nuances that influence the distribution of messaging.

Let’s take a look at these 3 key tactics of B2B advertising to help you better understand your customer and how to reach them.

1) Know your customers and develop buyer personas

Get to know your customers as well as the industry(ies) they serve. Are there associations and/or trade publishers that support them? These associations and publishers can be a good source of information for defining buyer personas and their influencers as well as assist in shaping the buyer’s journey and delivering effective touchpoints during the journey.

All industries vary and the landscape is ever-evolving, but publishers (including their printed publications, eNewsletters and trade shows) are still a top source for both the awareness and consideration phase of the buyer’s journey. And when you’re mapping out effective touchpoints, don’t count social media out entirely. Even for a niche audience, platforms like LinkedIn can offer great one-on-one contact and even something like Instagram or Pinterest can be highly effective if your B2B audience is on the more visual or creative side.

2) Know your customers’ pain points and solve their problems

Knowing pain points and developing solutions speaks more to messaging than distribution. However, once you have that key messaging, you can determine the best media type and then move to its distribution method. When considering message distribution, you should also determine where in the buyer’s journey that information or message is appropriate. Some may be appropriate in more than one phase of the journey.

3) Understand the buyer’s journey

For customers in the Awareness phase, you’ll need to develop broader, attention-grabbing messages. During the Consideration phase, the messaging and content should educate your prospects, moving them closer to purchase. In both phases, trade publishers’ platforms are still viable in providing touchpoints to assist in moving prospects through the funnel. If digital platforms are utilized, a site-retargeting tactic and/or an email drip campaign should be used in order to stay top-of-mind. Once customers are in the Decision phase, the process focuses less on advertising and more toward marketing. However, advertising supports the prospect’s decision to purchase as well as builds loyalty.

You know a lot about your customers and your industry, but by organizing what you already know, you’ll uncover insights you hadn’t considered. Buyer Personas and the Buyer’s Journey are tools to help you build a more global strategy and see things from a perspective the hectic pace of your day-to-day may not always allow.

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