Frequency – Controlling How Often Your Google Retargeting Ads Are Shown

The term frequency refers to how often your retargeting ads appear or more accurately the maximum number of times ads are eligible to appear to users.

By now anyone who has spent considerable time on their screens are keenly aware of retargeting ads. Very few people anymore think that it is coincidence that the new toaster they were looking at last week is now being shown within an ad in our Gmail account purely by coincidence.

However, there is still a fine line between subtly nudging a user to return to your website by showing your ads occasionally and blasting them your ad 20 times per day so everywhere they look they see that proverbial toaster.

A question commonly asked is how does an advertiser determine how often (the frequency) to serve retargeting ads to their customers?

However, before we can ask how often we must ask if we as advertisers have the ability to control the frequency.

The answer to this is yes.

With a remarketing campaign, we have two choices:

  1. Let Google determine the frequency.
  2. Manually set the frequency.

Google Determine the Frequency

The easiest and most convenient way to control frequency is to let Google decide how often to serve your ads. Afterall, Google knows everything right?

If you have read through my books or listened to many of my Podcast episodes in the past, you probably already know what I’m going to say.

I believe that Google is perhaps the most perfect advertising channel ever built with the ability that they provide advertisers to reach shoppers while they are shopping. However, I don’t believe much in Google’s automated bidding strategies or even with their formulas on frequency.

My belief is that an advertiser, in tune with their own product line, will be much more effective determining their frequency based on their audiences, time of year and of course their own testing rather than relying on Google’s algorithm.

Manually Set The Frequency

What would be the reason to manually set the frequency you may be asking.

There are a couple of times that I recommend manually setting the frequency and we will look at a couple of examples before we look at directions for how to do it.

What would be the reason to manually set the frequency you may be asking.

There are a couple of times that I recommend manually setting the frequency and we will look at a couple of examples before we look at directions for how to do it.

Busy shopping times. For eCommerce companies this could be the holiday shopping season. As we approach the holidays, Black Friday week to be specific, shopping online becomes fast and furious and is great example of when you may consider increasing your frequency settings.

For these times when customers are likely to make a buying decision quickly, you don’t want to lose a sale for a shopper who be visiting many websites looking for gifts for brother, sister, parents and kids. Therefore, I typically will turn up frequency on high buyer intent audiences such as ‘Shopping Cart Abandoners’.

In contrast, slow periods of the year are a time when you may consider reducing your frequency. Example of this would be a private client I have that sells pond fountains. Typically, in the winter months particularly in states where outdoor ponds freeze over, not many people are thinking of installing a $3,000 fountain. Therefore, it makes sense to decrease the frequency of retargeting ads.

Hopefully, these examples have gotten the wheels in your head spinning on what may make sense for your business. However, like anything I always recommend testing to discover what is the most profitable for your company.

However, note that the frequency capping is available only at the Campaign level and not at specific ad groups levels. Therefore, if for some reason you wish to have different frequency capping for different ad groups, then they will need to be placed within different campaigns.

Note: Currently, advertisers can only modify the frequency of ads within an already existing campaign. Therefore, once you have created a campaign, here are the instructions on changing how often your ads are eligible to be shown to your selected audience.

Changing The Frequency Setting on an Existing Campaign

1. Login to your Google Ads Account

2. Select All campaigns in the navigation panel.

3. Click the campaign you wish to edit.

4. Select Settings in the left-hand menu.

5. Click Additional settings.

6. Select Frequency Management.

7. Set your preference. (You have the ability to manage your impressions by ad, ad group or whole campaign).

8. Click save.

Final Word

How many is the appropriate number of times that a retargeting ad should be served to a someone who previously visited your website and for how long should ads be served?

These are key questions that vary from website to website, but I believe that the answer typically will vary.

In order to be able to determine what is most effective for your website, you will need to test. However, fortunately given the steps in this chapter you have the ability to test how many times retargeting ads will be shown.

In order to address how long ads will be shown (the number of days between when a user visits your website and when they are no longer eligible to be shown your retargeting ads), you will need to adjust your audience.

Again, each website will vary, but here are my frequent recommendations when first starting to test different settings with my private clients:

– Change the length of duration on the audience from Google’s standard 30 days to 60 days.
– Manage impressions for each ad group to 6 per day.
– Increase this number to 12 per day during busy seasons.
– Decrease this number to 2 per day during slow seasons.

And once again, like most settings within Google’s Ad interface, you will want to test and track to discover where your highest profitability will be generated.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out The Academy of Internet Marketing (, the premier online marketing destination trusted by small to mid-sized eCommerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal


Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit or read The Full Story on his blog,

Google Remarketing – What It Is, Why Use Google

On the average, 97% of website visitors leave a website without buying.  It is a fact that most of these potential customers are gone forever! What if there was a way to reach back out to these customers easily and seamlessly?  There is through Google’s remarketing.

By using Google remarketing a marketer can easily serve a relevant ad to a visitor that has been on their website and left by using an almost endless stream of websites in the Google display network when their abandoned visitor is online browsing the web. To achieve, all a marketer needs to do is place a small snippet of code that Google provides on the pages of their website that they wish to promote with Google remarketing ads.

When using Google remarketing you have full control just like in Google search on how much you are willing to pay for each click, which allows you to ensure you receive a profitable ROI. A powerful way to keep your brand in front of customers, Google remarketing can give the appearance that you have an immense marketing budget with customers thinking ‘wow this company is everywhere!’  This not only encourages customers to return and purchase, but  it also instills a confidence that may very well have customers returning on their own without clicking on the ad, which of course would incur no charge.

Google offers a number of different options for their remarketing including dynamic ads, which thanks to Google’s Ad Gallery, makes creating semi-easy and free.  For eCommerce marketers, dynamic ads are able to capture images, prices and headlines of products that customers viewed before they left your website and re-serve these products to customers.  You know the potential customer has interest because they already viewed a particular product, why not remind them and reshow the same product?

The second type of remarketing is a bit more complicated and involves creating audiences. Basically, what creating audiences does is allow a marketer to segment users by which page they viewed before leaving and serve an ad tailored to have them return.  It also allows a different bidding strategy to be implemented.  Example, a visitor that made it to your shopping cart is a far more valuable customer to have return than one that viewed a single category page.  With Google’s remarketing system, a marketer can bid higher for ads shown to cart abandoners than to website browsers.

The use of audiences is also a very effective way of using remarketing for Professional Service marketers.  Abandoned visitors can be easily segmented by which part of a website they visited allowing an effective bidding strategy to be implemented.

What It Looks Like

Retargeting-AdIn the above example, I visited UGG Australia’s website and looked at the UGG Men’s Brunswick Robe. Then I visited and was served an ad for the same product that I was just looking at (although UGG elected not to display name and price, which I personally prefer). Wow, how did they know!

Why UGG Australia may indeed have the marketing budget to advertise on all the sites in the Google display network, most companies including yours probably does not.  However, think of how impressive it would be to a would-be customer if they thought you did!  Plus the ability to serve a potential customer the exact product they have already looked at and shown an interest in is a powerful tool in the conversion game.

With Google retargeting you can control how many times and how often ads are served to a customer (frequency caps) along with controlling which websites ads are ineligible to show (if you find a particular partner site has a low conversion rate, you can omit it from the list of website eligible to show your ads).  These tools are just a few that allow marketers to be able to control their advertising and generate a positive ROI.

Review-and-Ratings-SystemWhy use Google for retargeting?

You may be saying to yourself, there is a ton of retargeting companies out there, why use Google?  The truth is that although different retargeting companies say they have this advantage or that advantage over the other, most respectable retargeting companies have a very similar reach (which websites ads are eligible to be shown).  With Google retargeting, you can also use Google’s code for other display network advertising you might use as well.  In addition, Google’s system is user friendly to create ads and the reporting is delivered alongside your other AdWords reporting marking retargeting easily tracked using the same interface as Google search ads.

A final plus for using Google retargeting, Google is not going anywhere and is constantly growing.  A few years ago, I used a different retargeting company that was smaller, but very effective (it was before retargeting was available with Google).  Suddenly, the retargeting company I was using was purchased by AOL and the service changed, product functionality declined and prices went up.  I had to change my remarketing company and lost hours of time that I had spent building out retargeting campaigns.  With Google, they are always adding new sites into their network and additional features that make remarketing more effective and easier to track.


Remember 97% of your customers come to your site and leave.  Will they come back?  Maybe, maybe not.  With Google remarketing you can stay in front of your lost customers with precision ads that help drive return traffic with a system that allows you to control cost and create an effective ROI.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing strategy sessions to those interested. Contact True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 to schedule.

Happy Marketing!


Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.