By choosing 'Accept All Cookies', you agree that we and our partners use cookies to improve our website performance, provide you with a customized user experience and analyze website traffic. You can read more about the purposes for which we and our partners use cookies and manage your cookie settings by clicking on 'Cookie Settings' or visiting our Cookie Policy.

Ad Frequency Capping in Podcast Advertising: What's Best For My Campaign?

From targeting and creative development to measurement, we offer the most advanced solutions to make your podcast campaign a success.

Acast Editorial Team
November 28, 2023

Setting an ad frequency cap is a critical decision when setting up a podcast campaign. Advertisers need to find the right balance of ad exposure to ensure that their campaign is effective while avoiding annoying the listeners. This can all be monitored and managed through frequency capping.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into what exactly ad frequency capping is, and the intricacies of applying it to podcast advertising, including; its advantages, how to implement it effectively, and how platforms like Acast can assist in optimizing your ad campaigns.

What is Ad Frequency Capping?

Ad frequency capping is a strategy implemented in most forms of digital advertising that limits (caps)the number of times a particular ad is served to an individual person within a certain timeframe. You may also hear this referred to as impression capping.

The goal is to strike the perfect balance between sufficient exposure and overexposure.

Why is Ad Frequency Capping Important?

Frequency capping serves two crucial purposes:

  1. Preventing ad fatigue: Overexposing listeners to the same ad can lead to ad fatigue and a poor user experience, where repeated exposure leads to annoyance or indifference.
  2. Cost control: By limiting the number of times an ad is played, advertisers can control their ad spend. As most digital advertising is sold on a CPM basis (cost per thousand impressions), this avoids wasting impressions on people who have seen or heard your ad multiple times but aren’t interested.

How Does Frequency Capping Work in Podcast Advertising?

Like PPC (pay-per-click) digital advertising channels such as social media and Google Ads, podcast advertising offers marketers the ability to set frequency caps in their campaigns.

For those interested in how this is technically achieved, it works through a combination of the listener’s IP address (device identifier) and user agent (the application they used to listen). The ad delivery platform tracks how many times the same person has heard the ad, and stops delivering that ad once the frequency cap has been reached.

All major podcast advertising platforms that use dynamic ad insertion worth their salt will offer ad frequency capping, which we do at Acast.

Here’s how it works with our self-serve podcast advertising platform: Acast offers advertisers to cap ad frequency on a weekly basis. You’re able to set a cap from 1 to 10+.

Setting a frequency cap of 1 means a listener will only hear your ad a maximum of once per week.

Setting a frequency cap of 'unlimited means a listener will hear your ad any amount of times per week.

How frequency capping looks in Acast's self-serve platform

What Ad Frequency Cap is Best for My Podcast Campaign?

Now you understand the definition and mechanics of frequency capping, let’s look at how you may approach it strategically for your campaigns.

When does an advertiser want a high-frequency ad?

Setting a high frequency for your podcast ad campaign is particularly effective for newer and challenger brands seeking to establish themselves with their target audience, and carve out their niche in the market.

Setting a high-frequency cap can also be effective during time-limited sales or promotional events, such as during the festive shopping season. During these periods, consumers are less likely to be bothered by recurring ads, viewing them as an integral part of the season's atmosphere. If you know your campaign only has a short time span, you’ll want to maximize the number of impressions you're delivering and cut through with your targeted audience.

Advantages of high-frequency advertising:

  • Greater chance of brand awareness and brand recall with your targeted audience.
  • Repeat exposure establishes a brand's market presence and solidifies associations between your brand's message and its identity.
  • It provides multiple opportunities for your audience to action your call to action in your ad campaign, such as using a promo code.
  • Adds multiple touchpoints to reach consumers throughout the purchasing funnel.

Disadvantages of high-frequency advertising:

  • High-frequency caps tend to be a pricier strategy for advertising.
  • You’ll reach fewer unique listeners with your campaign.
  • Listeners may grow frustrated by repeatedly encountering the same advertisements.

When does an advertiser want a low-frequency ad?

For advertisers running a campaign over a longer period of time, it’s advisable to implement a lower frequency cap. Let’s say your campaign lasts 60 days, you’ll want a lower frequency cap per week as your campaign lasts around 8 weeks and you don’t want to bombard the same listener with too many ads during that time.

If you’re looking to reach as many unique listeners as possible, reduce the cap per week so the ad delivery system has to serve the ad to more new people. This can be helpful for conversion-focused campaigns where you want as many unique impressions against the conversions you’re tracking. For example, you could be tracking click-through rate (CTR) which is calculated by clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown: clicks ÷ impressions = CTR.

Advantages of low-frequency advertising:

  • Greater chance of reaching more unique listeners during your campaign.
  • Ideal for longer campaigns where you have a greater risk of over saturating individuals with your ad.
  • Ideal for conversion-focused campaigns.

Disadvantages of low-frequency advertising:

  • Slower pacing of your campaign and risk not spending the entire budget during the campaign period.
  • Your target audience will not be able to remember your brand or the key message your ad is trying to create.
  • You may not catch the listener at the right point in their purchasing journey with fewer repeated impressions per person.

What is the optimal frequency cap in podcast advertising?

As you may have guessed by now, there is no one-size-fits-all frequency cap. Ultimately, this decision will be based on your campaign objective, the target audience you’re trying to reach, and the length of the campaign.

However, we’ll share the criteria that you should consider to determine your campaign’s optimal frequency cap:

  1. What’s your campaign objective?
  2. If you’re looking to increase brand awareness and recall: try higher frequency. If you’re after conversions: try lower frequency.
  3. How long will your campaign be running?
  4. A shorter campaign will suit a higher frequency whereas a longer campaign will suit a lower frequency.
  5. Who is your target audience?
  6. Think about the demographics you’re targeting with your campaign, younger listeners may be more resilient to higher-frequency ads compared to older listeners.

Every brand and campaign is different, so it’s important to find your sweet spot by testing and paying close attention to your metrics; where are you seeing a drop off in engagement? When does your conversion rate decrease? Then you can start to optimize your ad frequency cap.

In Summary

While podcasting does not have a frequency capping issue, it’s important that every advertiser understands the impact of ad frequency for their own campaigns and the wider podcast listening experience.

Testing, monitoring, and optimizing ad frequency caps is an essential strategy in podcast advertising. By identifying the sweet spot for your brand and campaign for how often an ad is played, advertisers control ad spending, improve campaign performance, and enhance the listener experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ad frequency capping?

Ad frequency capping limits the number of times a specific ad is served to the same person within a certain timeframe.

What’s the best ad frequency cap for podcast advertising?

There’s no one-size-fits-all frequency cap. Ultimately, this decision will be based on your campaign objective, the target audience you’re trying to reach, and the length of the campaign.

Let’s discuss how we can help you achieve your business objectives
Contact us to get started
Your friends at

Ready to start seeing results?

Start your podcast ad campaign with host-read sponsorships or pre-recorded ads in minutes with our easy-to-use self-serve platform.

Learn more
Our storyPodcastingNews

Subscribe to our newsletter

Thank you, your submission has been received
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again!
LegalInvestor relationsAffiliatesBusiness partnershipsCareersPrivacySecurity
Do not sell/share my personal information