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Ad repetition can make brands memorable - but for the wrong reasons
20 July 2023 (Edited )
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Too-frequent ad repetition can erode brand interest and purchase intent

Too-frequent ad repetition can erode brand interest and purchase intent

Results of new research published by media intelligence providers Magna suggest that frequent ad repetition can make brands memorable to consumers, but for the wrong reasons.

Because of the way CTV programming works, repeating ads can be a particular problem with streamed TV, which in 2022 for the first time had a market share (35%) higher than that of cable (34%) and broadcast (22%) TV.

Accordingly, Magna researchers set out to find the answer to the question: "What impact ... do repeating ads have on brands, platforms and viewers?"

In their experiment, a total of 1,236 weekly streaming viewers were recruited from a "representative" online panel. These subjects watched a TV show of their choice on their home connected TV with 1, 4 or 6 exposures of an ad. All subjects saw the same number of ads, but with varying frequencies. Participants were then surveyed as to viewing experience and brand performance indicators.

NOTE THAT from this point on, for some reason - surveys not returned or incomplete, or whatever - numbers are based on sample sizes ranging from 104 to 623 - not the entire 1,236 people mentioned above.


  • 87% of survey respondents said that, in general for streaming TV, they see too many of the same ad.
  • 83% said they believe that ads are intentionally repeated.
  • 68% said they believe that ad repetition is intentional on the part of advertisers.

Unaided recall:

  • With 1 ad exposure, 64% of subjects recalled the brand being advertised.
  • With 4 ad exposures, 85% recalled the brand
  • With 6 ad exposures, 92% recalled the brand.

Ads perceived as "annoying" (indexed, with overall average response = 100):

  • 1 exposure: 48
  • 4 exposures: 104
  • 6 exposures 148

Ads perceived as "disruptive to overall experience" (average=100)

  • 1 exposure: 58
  • 4 exposures: 104
  • 6 exposures: 133

Ads characterized as "something I wouldn't mind seeing again" (average=100)

  • 1 exposure: 115
  • 2 exposures: 100
  • 3 exposures: 85

Perceptions of the advertised brands also varied with ad frequency:

  • "Is a brand that knows how to connect with me"
    • 1 exposure: 25%
    • 4 exposures: 16%
    • 6 exposures: 17%
  • "Is a brand that excites me"
    • 1 exposure: 21%
    • 4 exposures: 15%
    • 6 exposures: 16%

Ad repetition also impacted subjects' reported purchase intent:

  • 1 exposure: 57% "very or somewhat likely"
  • 4 exposures: 53%
  • 6 exposures: 49%

Subjects' comments on their "viewing experience" included:

"It mostly felt disruptive due to the number of times it played."

"The ad itself was fine, having to watch it 4 times was the annoyance."

"Every single commercial break featured the same ad..."

"Too repetitive..."

Conclusions drawn by the researchers from the findings above are:

  • Most blame brands when they see repeating ads on streaming TV.
  • 36% are less open to seeing the ad again.
  • Brands are paying for 16% decline in intent to purchase.
  • Advertisers should avoid repeating ads.

Also, re streaming services:

  • 44% of CTV viewers believe streaming services intent to repeat ads.
  • 51% of viewers will form opinions or take actions to avoid repeating ads:
    • 43% try to find another streaming service with same programming
    • 35% have a less favorable opinion of the streaming service
    • 27% recommend against the streaming service
    • 20% stop watching the streaming service
    • 19% unsubscribe from the streaming service

Ad formats subjects said they would prefer:

  • Long ad break before the show, rest of show uninterrupted: 60%
  • Shorter ad breaks during show: 34%

Re ad platforms:

  • Nearly half said they blame platforms for repeating ads on CTV.
  • 51% said they would take action against the platform if they had this kind of viewing experience.
  • Most said they want fewer interruptions while viewing.


  1. Intuitively, findings seem reasonable, but quantifications come from small numbers drawn from an undefined and self-selected "representative" population - so take with a grain of salt.
  2. Even if of lesser degree, these findings about people disliking repeating ads have application beyond CTV for brands, media and ad platforms. Running annoying ads will hurt your rep and could negatively impact sales.
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