CPF: A New Model in Online Advertising

advertising-frequencyI’ve written extensively about how much I love PPC advertising and how it’s given small businesses the power to level the playing field, like David’s slingshot against a corporate Goliath.

But recently, I was having a conversation with a client who was lamenting that even though it’s great that her PPC campaign reaches a hyper-targeted audience of only 110,000 users, it doesn’t have the frequency that you enjoy by running an ad in the same paper for two or three weeks at a time. The more I thought about this, the more correct she was: Even adding more budget would only expand how many people out of the target audience see the ad and wouldn’t guarantee an increase in frequency. Let’s begin with this thought:


Frequency—Even with high coverage, it is insufficient for a target audience member to have just one ‘Opportunity To See’ (OTS) the advertisement. In traditional media, around five OTS are believed required for a reasonable impact. To build attitudes that lead to brand switching may require more. To achieve five OTS, even in only 70 percent of the overall audience, may require 20 or 30 peak-time transmissions of a commercial, or a significant number of insertions of press advertisements in the national media.


After a long Google search, I couldn’t find the source of this definition, but it’s still worth sharing. And so I propose a new model in online advertising, CPF: Cost per Frequency. In addition to CPC, which is great for driving traffic, and CPM, which is closer to a traditional ad model, why not charge advertisers for multiple frequencies? For example:

Let’s say my budget allows for 250,000 impressions in a target audience of 300,000 users. Rather than show 250,000 users my ad once, shouldn’t I be given the option to show 50,000 users my ad five times?

I would be very curious to see a test of these two models run side by side and to know if this is something that advertisers would actually pay for.

What do you think? Would you sacrifice impressions for the chance to display your ad to the same user multiple times? Is there an untapped market of advertisers waiting to spend their dollars to expose a person 15 or 20 times to the same ad to increase its effectiveness?

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