Facebook Reach & Frequency Campaigns: How They Can Help & Hurt Your Brand

With the significant decline of organic reach on Facebook, it’s all but mandatory to pay for branded content to be seen on Facebook now. My personal feelings on this can be summed up in one GIF:

Whew, that felt good. Ok, back to business… Despite this drop in reach, everyone here at Ignite Social Media firmly believes there’s still value in posting organically and then promoting naturally high-performing content, so you’re spending as efficiently as possible. (This is known as the Organish™ approach to paid media.) This approach should be your main paid social strategy, but there are some cases where fully paid campaigns make sense. Depending on the objective of the campaign, Facebook’s Reach & Frequency Campaigns might be your best option.

What is a Reach & Frequency Campaign?

An R&F Campaign is a special type of Facebook media buy that allows brands to plan and predict the reach and frequency of posts by confirming the reach of certain percentages of target audiences based on timing, desired frequency, target, and budget.

When should you use R&F Campaigns?

  • When the objective of a campaign is brand awareness or impressions and the frequency of which you’re reaching the audience matters.

How much does it cost?

  • There’s no firm minimum spend amount, but your target audience size must be at least 1,500,000 to ensure the ads reach a minimum of 1,000,000 people.
  • R&F Campaign cost is based on a CPM bidding model.
  • To give you a ballpark idea of cost, I ran an estimate for an R&F to a consumer audience with some interest targeting and was guaranteed 4mm Impressions with a frequency of about 2.5 for $50k. When I ran an estimate to hit the minimum audience size (1,500,000) the least amount of money I could spend to get that reach was $15k. Cost is heavily affected by your target audience & the timing of your campaign, but it’s helpful to see this isn’t something you can do with $1k to get some additional impressions. It’s a substantial investment.

I could bore you all day with the intricacies of R&F Campaigns, but I know you fine people of the interwebz would like to get on with your day (and I’d like to go back to perusing #beagle on Instagram), so I figured a quick and easy pros and cons list would be better for us all:


There you have it. A quick rundown on Facebook Reach & Frequency Campaign basics.

Now for some real talk…

Facebook and some media buying agencies are pushing brands to only post content via R&F Campaigns. Meaning brands will have no daily content calendar, only a few posts each month that are promoted via this tool. Facebook has even recommended to some brands that they only do this for a few campaigns a year and that’s it. We’re talking about maybe 10 posts a year in this instance.

Why are they recommending this? Two words: time and money.

Facebook wants to declutter the newsfeed, but doesn’t want to stop raking in the dough. These R&F campaigns mean less ads in the newsfeed, but the same amount of money (or more) for Facebook. It’s a win/win for them.

Media buying agencies stand to save a lot of time with this approach. Instead of having to promote content daily, they boost once a month, while still making the same amount of commission. This frees up time to work with more clients and bring in even more cash. We do social media buying here and could easily push this R&F Campaign-only strategy to our clients to increase our cash flow, but we value efficient media spending and ongoing fan engagement too much.


Dolla dolla bills y’all

What all this R&F Campaign pushing also tells us is that Facebook is recommending brands view impressions as the most important social KPI, even over engagements. This is making Facebook like any other traditional media buy. But isn’t the point of social media to have a conversation? To connect with fans on a level you can’t with a print ad, banner ad or TV commercial? To let them feel heard and appreciated so they will advocate for your brand? Yes, it is. Brand advocates on social are the new word-of-mouth marketers. A Share is a very valuable thing and brands should always use engagement as a main social KPI and goal. Not to say impressions and reach don’t have their place, but engagement is what social media is all about. If you shift to an R&F Campaign-only strategy, you stand to lose all the advocates you’ve been working so hard to create.

To sum it all up, we recommend that our clients use R&F Campaigns for select campaigns with awareness or branding objectives. They shouldn’t replace ongoing content, but be used periodically to complement it.

What are your thoughts on R&F Campaigns? Have you ever tried them for your brand? Tell us about it below.

Ignite Social Media