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Re: Frequency Capping

From: Grimmelmann, James <James.Grimmelmann@nyls.edu>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2012 17:31:20 +0000
To: W3C DNT Working Group Mailing List <public-tracking@w3.org>
Message-ID: <C0CE1CAE-F7F2-4FAC-80C7-BD4D04D95846@nyls.edu>
Advertisers require frequency capping in insertion orders because ad deliverers are capable of providing it.  If an ad deliverer were to say that it could not promise pure frequency capping for users who have requested DNT, but only some best-efforts version such as the one Jonathan outlines, the deliverer simply wouldn't let advertisers write that term into their contracts with it.  Of course, this might come at some cost to the deliverer, and that tradeoff is a fair subject for discussion.  But let's not mistake the "requirements" of current advertising contracts for the requirements of the future advertising contracts that will be written in view of the DNT standard and various parties' implementations of it.

I would add that since the primary motivation of frequency capping is to reduce user annoyance, users ought to be given the chance to choose for themselves whether to suffer that annoyance or the annoyance of being tracked for frequency capping purposes.


James Grimmelmann              Professor of Law
New York Law School                 (212) 431-2864
185 West Broadway       james.grimmelmann@nyls.edu<mailto:james.grimmelmann@nyls.edu>
New York, NY 10013    http://james.grimmelmann.net

On Jul 11, 2012, at 12:59 PM, Chris Mejia wrote:


Frequency capping (f-capping) is usually a contractual obligation for the party responsible for delivering the ad (an ad-netork, a publisher, and exchange, etc.) and is almost always required by the advertiser in insertion orders (the insertion order or "IO" is the contract between the parties).  It looks like your assumption below is that f-capping is (only) a 'tactic' to increase ROI for performance campaigns.  While this is sometimes true (yet mostly not), it's actually rarely the real motivation of doing f-capping.  The requirement for f-capping the delivery of a campaign to users is generally contractually obligated by the advertiser, for several good reasons, but most importantly for not annoying the user with multiple servings of the same ad creative, over and over again in one time frame (i.e. in a 24-hour time period).

As f-capping is generally contractually obligated, it's not up to the deliverer of the ad to CHOOSE which campaigns to f-cap— it's a REQUIREMENT to f-cap all campaigns where contractually obligated to do so.  F-capping has happened in television advertising for many years— imagine how annoying it is when the same tv ad spot plays over and over again (in fact this happens, and I'm sure we all find it annoying).

To sum up, while f-capping can sometimes increase ROI for advertisers (it's not necessarily always true), it is most often contractually obligated (per the Insertion Order).  The primary motivation for f-capping is to not annoy the user with repeated serving of the same ad creative during a time period.  In my experience, the vast majority of f-capping is  set at 1:24 or 2:24, etc. (restricting the showing of a particular ad creative, 1 time in 24-hours, or 2-times in 24-hours).

I hope this helps clarify the motivation for f-capping and leads to mutual appreciation for the need.

Kind Regards,


Chris Mejia | Digital Supply Chain Solutions | Ad Technology Group | Interactive Advertising Bureau - IAB

From: Jonathan Mayer <jmayer@stanford.edu<mailto:jmayer@stanford.edu>>
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2012 14:26:12 -0700
To: David Wainberg - NAI <david@networkadvertising.org<mailto:david@networkadvertising.org>>
Cc: W3C DNT Working Group Mailing List <public-tracking@w3.org<mailto:public-tracking@w3.org>>
Subject: Re: Frequency Capping
Resent-From: W3C DNT Working Group Mailing List <public-tracking@w3.org<mailto:public-tracking@w3.org>>
Resent-Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2012 21:26:46 +0000

I'd sure like to hear more from advertising industry participants about how frequency capping integrates into advertisement selection.  The AppNexus approach, if I read correctly, goes roughly as follows:

1) Begin with the set of all campaigns.

2) Filter by targeting criteria.

3) Filter by frequency capping.

4) Assign an expected revenue to each campaign.

5) Select the campaign with greatest expected revenue.

The approach includes testing the frequency cap of every campaign that matches targeting criteria.  What about, instead, only testing the cap for a subset of those campaigns:

1) Begin with the set of all campaigns.

2) Filter by targeting criteria.

3) Assign an expected revenue to each campaign.

4) Select the n campaigns with greatest expected revenue.

5) Filter by frequency capping.

6) Select the campaign with greatest expected revenue.

Some relevant empirical questions include: How often are the highest revenue campaigns frequency capped?  How well can an ad company predict which high-revenue campaigns will and won't be frequency capped?


On Monday, July 9, 2012 at 11:34 AM, David Wainberg wrote:

Hi All,

In case you haven't seen it already, I recommend Prof. Felten's excellent blog on "Privacy by Design: Frequency Capping." Please also read Brian O'Kelley's post in the comment section explaining what he sees as the technical hurdles for these alternative frequency capping methods. (I may be wrong, but I think Brian is a former student of Prof. Felten.) This kind of detailed technical discussion of these proposals seems very helpful. First, it helps us set reasonable expectations on all sides. Second, and more interesting to me, is that maybe we can have more discussion and collaboration on bringing these sorts of things to production.


Received on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 17:35:11 UTC

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