What happens when we overdo with streaming frequency?

Recent research conducted by MAGNA Media Trials in collaboration with Nexxen focused on the effects of ad repetition in three aspects: viewers, brands, and the streaming platforms where they are broadcasted. The 2023 study sheds new light on the issue of excessive ad frequency in streaming media, confirming that while ad repetition is not a new phenomenon, it remains a significant source of frustration for viewers. An overwhelming 87% of respondents agreed that they see too many repetitions of the same ads, indicating a negative reception of this phenomenon.

The study, titled “It’s All in the Delivery: How Repeating Ads Affect CTV Viewers, Brands & Platforms,” utilized controlled ad effectiveness tests, where 1,246 streaming media viewers were exposed to varying frequencies—one, four, or six times—of the same ad during a one-hour viewing session. Participants shown the same ad six times achieved peak brand awareness with a 92% recall rate, but negative associations also increased. These viewers labeled the ad as “annoying” 48% more often than average and “disruptive to the overall viewing experience” 33% more frequently. Excessive exposure also eroded purchase intent, noting a 16% decline among those who saw the ad six times.

Additionally, the study revealed that repetitive ads have negative implications for both brands and streaming platforms. Among viewers, 83% believed that the repetition of ads was intentional, and 68% thought that brands deliberately decided on the repetitions. Streaming platforms also faced criticism, with 44% of viewers believing that the platform intended to repeat the ads. These assumptions have broad implications, potentially leading to actions taken by dissatisfied viewers.

The study underscores the necessity of optimizing ad frequency in streaming media to avoid negative outcomes for brands and viewer experiences. It also highlights the need for advertisers and broadcasters to reach a level where viewers do not experience a difference in ad quality between streaming and linear television.

Although the presented case focuses on the negative effects of excessive frequency, it is essential to note that many digital campaigns struggle with the opposite issue—too low frequency, which can also negatively impact ad effectiveness. Optimizing ad frequency should become a key element of media strategies, both to avoid the negative effects of overexposure and to ensure sufficient ad visibility to effectively reach consumers and encourage action.