chapter 10

Frequency, Ad Blocking, Prohibited Items, Other Hazards

Even if you’ve made every right choice for your ads, all the way from ad style to targeting, there are still several hazards that can prevent your ad from reaching its full potential. These hazards can affect even the best campaigns, so avoiding them can prevent you from losing money or results (or both).


Frequency is just a metric that tells you the average number of times your ad was served to the same person.

Let’s do the math: The frequency is simply Impressions / Reach.

Here’s an example:

Of course, this is not an exact metric and that’s why Facebook uses terminology like “average number.” For example, there’s no guarantee that everyone reached by your ads has seen them exactly twice. One user could have seen your ad 3 times and another just once. Luckily, you don’t need to be this exact. Once the numbers are large enough, these variations are irrelevant.

Once you’ve seen an ad 5, 6, or 10 times, either you’re interested in it and you’ve clicked on it, or you don’t care about the product advertised and you’ll get really pissed off by seeing the ad every single day in your Facebook timeline. Either way, your ads aren’t converting; at best they’re stagnant and at worst they’re losing you money.

At AdEspresso, we backed this up with some data:

As you can see, the more the frequency increased, the more the CTR decreased and the average Cost Per Click increased. The numbers don’t lie, at a frequency of 9 the average cost per click increase by 161% compared to the beginning of the campaign. Therefore, you need to constantly monitor your campaigns to understand how the frequency is impacting them!

So how do you keep frequency down?

Facebook recently began rolling out “Automated Rules,” which is something we’ve had at AdEspresso for years.

“Automated Rules” are also known as rule-based optimization. So you can set your ads to “automate” based on certain actions. For example, you can pause ads that go over a frequency of your choice, so nothing slips between the cracks. Massimo, our CEO, typically recommends pausing them once they hit a frequency of 5.

For an in-depth guide, read our blog post on Facebook ads frequency.

Ad Blocking

With ad blocking on the rise, Facebook is determined to stop it. Ad blocking software and extensions are allowing users to browse the platform without seeing any ads. In some cases, however, the ads are still being served to these users; the users just aren’t seeing them. This can negatively impact the results of your campaigns.

Ad blocking software has gotten more sophisticated and has increased in use, but Facebook is trying to put an end to it. They recently changed the way their ads loaded on desktops in order to make it more difficult for ad blockers to detect. Some softwares have already found a way around this, but an increased need for “anti-ad blocking” software could mean new developments to help stop this trend.

Right now, there’s nothing we can do as advertisers to prevent ad blocking software from impacting our campaigns.

Prohibited Items & Restrictions

The last thing you want to do is to promote a product that goes against Facebook Terms of Service. If you do, even accidentally, you risk getting your ad account banned.

Certain industries or products will face additional restrictions that other brands aren’t bound by. You can’t advertise alcohol, for example, to anyone under the legal age or to users in certain countries. Ads also can’t promote the sale of pharmaceutical products, and “get rich quick scheme” ads are prohibited.

Dating sites and weight loss ads are notorious for “accidental” bans, so if you are in this industry, you’ll need to be extremely careful on how you present your products. Dating sites, for example, can use Facebook Ads, but they need to get authorization from Facebook and can’t advertise their services in a misleading way.

If you have any questions about prohibited items or industry restrictions, you can find more information here.

Other Hazards

While the three hazards listed above are easily the biggest obstacles that can result in an otherwise great campaign falling a little flat, there are a few others that can be responsible, too.

A great example of a potential hindrance to your ad is having too much text on your images. We’ve addressed this briefly in a previous section, but having ad images that contain more text than Facebook would like could reduce your reach. Keeping it under or at the previous 20% requirement can protect you from this.

Sending users to your brand’s homepage instead of a designated, relevant landing page can also hurt your campaigns. Some brands will feature specific products in an ad image, but when an interested user clicks to convert, they’re taken to the home page and can’t find the product. If you’re sending users to your homepage and are getting high CTR rates but low conversions, try sending users to more relevant pages.

If your ads are getting underwhelming results, pause the campaign and see if you can figure out why. Split testing can be exceptionally helpful in this department, and should be used consistently.

Next chapter

11. Reporting

1 min

Start your free 14-day trial today!