Limiting the number of (commercial) channel messages using frequency capping


This post applies to Realtime Marketing. The feature is available from release 1.1.10512.27 (April 2023), which should already be available to you. If not, you can manually update your Marketing installation by going to Settings > Versions.

Frequency capping makes it possible to limit the number of emails, push notifications and/or text messages in order to prevent message fatigue. It is important to keep this feature in mind when setting up multiple Journeys.

For example, when sending out messages through multiple Journeys to a customer, they might mark emails as spam. Also, the engagement with your messages could also drop severely if you send ten messages each day to a customer. Personally, I’m unsubscribing from any newsletter which sends me more than three emails a week. 😉

In this post we will go through two things:

  1. Creating the Frequency Cap Setting; here we can set the maximum frequency per contact point
  2. Using the Frequency Cap Setting in Journeys; how does it work in Journeys and how can we use the Frequency Cap Setting?

But before we dive into that, please note the following:

  • Not all messages are counted towards the Frequency Cap Setting. Only messages set to a legal designation of ‘Commercial’ will count. If you are sending transactional messages, such as order confirmations, they will always be sent no matter what settings you defined in the Frequency Cap Setting.
  • When the frequency cap has been reached for a customer and a Journey wants to send out a message, it will be blocked. This means that the customer will not receive the message at all. When the Journey continues and, for example, the next day another message is scheduled (and the customer did not hit the frequency cap for that day), that message will be sent.
  • You can view which and how many messages are blocked due to the frequency cap in the message analytics in the Journey.
  • The frequency cap that you create will be enabled by default for all Journeys.
  • You can only create one Frequency Cap Setting per business unit.

Creating the Frequency Cap Setting

To set up a frequency cap, go to the Marketing application and switch to the ‘Settings’ area. Then go to ‘Frequency cap’ under ‘Customer Engagement’.

Please note that you might not be able to create a Frequency Cap Setting if you do not have sufficient privileges. The out of the box security role that has the correct privileges is the ‘Marketing Manager – Business’ role. However, if you are using custom security roles, you or your system administrator should modify the security role accordingly.

There are no out of the box Frequency Cap Settings, so we will have to create a new one. Click on ‘Add new setting’.

Once loaded, you can set up a few general fields, such as the name and owner of the Frequency Cap Setting. After that it gets more interesting, now we can set up the maximum frequency per contact point.

Please be aware that these numbers are merely random examples I put in. The numbers can be different per brand or industry and the numbers above should not be used as a best practice.

You can fill in numbers for the channels that you are using. You can also leave an input field blank, which means that no frequency cap will be applied.

Once you are done putting in the numbers, click on Save. Now the Frequency Cap Setting is active and is ready for use in your Journey(s)!

Using the Frequency Cap Setting

To configure the Frequency Cap Setting we just created, switch to the ‘Real-time marketing’ area and go to ‘Engagement’ and then ‘Journeys’. Now create a new Journey.

Like mentioned earlier, a Frequency Cap Setting that is created will apply to all Journeys by default. To configure the frequency cap per Journey, click on the Gear tab in the Journey designer

Here we can enable or disable the frequency cap for this specific Journey. If you disable it, all messages from this Journey will be sent to the customer, regardless if you are sending one or a hundred messages.

Within the Journey insights, if we click on the message and then go to ‘Delivery and interactions details’, we can get an overview of all customers that did not receive the message because of the frequency cap that has been reached.

That’s it! Please let me know if you have any comments or feedback regarding this post!


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