If you’ve been running your ads for a while, but you are just not getting the same results anymore, there is a high chance that your audience is experiencing ad fatigue. Today, we will discuss what ad fatigue really is, what are the warning signs, how you can prevent it, and most importantly – how you can beat it once and for all.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it.
What is ad fatigue?
Ad fatigue is what happens when your audience sees your ads so frequently that they lose interest in them. You can prevent ad fatigue by rotating different creatives, testing multiple ad formats, and making regular changes to your segmentation, copies, designs or Call to Actions.
Think about watching ads on TV or YouTube. You may recall an ad that you have seen so many times that you don’t want to know anything about it anymore. Ad saturation is a real thing, and it happens more often than you can even imagine.
In fact, according to a study conducted by eMarketer, 77.4% of US digital buyers have reported ad fatigue due to seeing too many ads from the same retailer. When this happens, it leads to lower engagement rates and lower conversion rates for advertisers, damaging their results in the long run.
Fictional example to visualize the results from the case of ad fatigue
What are the signs of ad fatigue?
The most common signs of ad fatigue include an increasing Cost per Lead, more expensive Cost Per Click, lower CTR, worsened results, or negative user feedback. If you notice these signs, take action by reducing your ad frequency and making impactful changes such as refreshing your creatives.
Keep in mind that there is a difference between an underperforming campaign and ad fatigue. An underperforming campaign can be due to inefficient segmentation, unclear Marketing message or poor creatives. Ad fatigue, on another hand, typically happens to campaigns that used to deliver good results but they have been worsening consistently over time.
How can I recognize ad fatigue?
To recognize ad fatigue, monitor your campaign frequently and analyze your data within a time frame of at least two weeks. As time passes, make sure to zoom out to see the bigger picture. If you see that results have been stagnant or worsening over the course of a few months or weeks, your users may be experiencing ad fatigue.
Here are the key metrics that you should be analyzing on a regular basis:
- Frequency – Some platforms like Facebook allow you to measure frequency, aka the number of times a user has seen an ad. Pay close attention to it, especially if users are starting to see your ad more than 5 times – it might be time to take action.
- Decreasing CTR – If you notice that your campaign has started out with a good Clickthrough rate, but it has been steadily decreasing over time, it means that less users are actively engaging with it. It may be time to roll out new creatives.
- Increasing CPL – Increasing Costs per Lead can be very damaging to your budget. If your ad used to generate a lot of leads, but is now showing high CPLs, it may be a result of an ad fatigue.
- Worsened results – you can also recognize ad fatigue if you notice that your overall results have worsened over time, or they are stationary without showing much movement.
- Negative feedback – if ad saturation is up to the roof, some users may even reach out to you to complain about it. Pay attention to all the possible negative feedback and take immediate action.
Graphic: how to recognize ad fatigue
10 smart ways to prevent and beat ad saturation
Now that we’ve cleared out the basic signs and symptoms of ad saturation, here are some smart ways in which you can tackle it. If you haven’t noticed ad fatigue in your campaigns yet, you can use these strategies to prevent it. If it’s already a reality, you can apply them to beat it once and for all.
1. Rotate different ad creatives
One of the biggest causes of ad fatigue is when users see the exact same ad over and over again. It doesn’t matter if the ad is in video format, sponsored content, carousel or something else.
If every time that you have an impact from a company you only see one single ad, it can get boring very quickly and consequently, engagement rates will drop.
For this reason, one of the best ways to prevent boredom and loss of interest is to rotate different ad creatives. The differences may be smaller, such as changing the color of your CTA button or background, but the ideal situation would be to have multiple unique designs.
If you don’t have the resources or the time to create very unique designs, you can still spice things up to avoid ad fatigue. Here is one great example from Hubspot.
It shows how you can use the same elements to create different designs without having to come up with a whole new concept (although you can do this too, of course):
Rotating different ad creatives is awesome because you will not only test which design works better for your audience, but you will also provide the needed variety to maintain higher interaction.
2. Switch ad formats
Another smart way in which you can prevent and beat ad fatigue is to use distinct ad formats to your advantage. Ad format options may vary between channels (you can see the full list of LinkedIn ad formats here), but most channels offer enough variety for you to try out.
Here are some examples of social media ad formats that many networks offer:
- Image ads
- Carousel ads
- Video ads
- Text ads
- Story ads
- Conversation ads
If you notice that your audience is getting saturated with your ads and engagement levels are reaching new lows, changing the ad format can be the drastic change that your campaign needs to take off again. Especially if you are changing the design as well.
Here is one awesome example of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, in which they are using Sponsored Content and Carousel to present their content in different ways:
In this case, LinkedIn is promoting their B2B Marketing fundamentals not only by switching the ad format, but also the design itself. They have made some tweaks to the copy too – which is great as it helps to refresh the ad even further.
3. Refine your segmentation
Ad fatigue can happen quite often when you are working with very small audiences, the ones that typically have less than 10,000 users. Because the audience is small, most people will end up seeing your ad at least 2-3 times over the course of the campaign.
In comparison, an audience with over 100,000 users will dilute your budget across a wider pool, and there is a chance that many people won’t see your ad even once if your budget is limited. So, the risk of ad fatigue is lower.
In smaller audiences, however, you can increase the frequency of impact across a smaller pool of users, which can lead to saturation eventually. For this reason, another way in which you can boost your campaign is to refine your segmentation.
You can do that by analyzing the historical data of your campaign and optimizing your segmentation towards the customer profile that converts better. The goal is to increase the size of your target audience, especially if it’s very small at the moment. As a result, you will reach more people, and each one of them will see the ad less times.
Keep in mind that seeing your ad less times isn’t necessarily better. You have to find the sweet spot of frequency – not too many times, but not too little times either. After all, most people need to have a certain amount of impact to be able to convert.
4. Exclude audiences
Another way in which you can prevent and beat ad fatigue is by tweaking your segmentation through audience exclusion. When your campaign has been running for a while, a certain percentage of users who are still getting impacted by it have already converted or at least visited your website.
Especially if some users have already converted to paying customers, you can easily exclude them from your audience to optimize your ad spend and ensure that you are not impacting them anymore. Of course, you can still impact and engage with them in other ways, but not with campaigns for new lead generation.
This way, you will also reduce ad saturation caused by users who have already taken an action with your business, and are no longer engaging with your ads because of it. You can also evaluate if other audiences need to be excluded depending on your business goals.
5. Repurpose your existing ads
If a specific creative is working particularly well, or you don’t have the time/resources to create entirely new ads, you can recycle and repurpose your existing ones. As we mentioned in the first point, one way to do that is by changing the colors of your background or your Call to Action button.
Here is one example of how just tweaking a couple of colors can give a fresh new look to your ad without much effort. Especially if you are using Canva (affiliate link) – it is so quick that you can get new creatives in seconds.
Disclaimer: if you click on my affiliate link for Canva and end up purchasing a paid subscription, I will get a small commission from it. Of course, you are not obligated to purchase by any means. I absolutely love Canva and I would highly recommend you to try it even if you stay on the free version.
6. Try a different Call to Action
Another extremely important element of every campaign and ad is having a clear Call to Action. For example, “Learn more” or “Contact us”. However, after a while, this Call to Action less exciting and attention-grabbing.
To beat ad fatigue, and especially to prevent it, make sure to change your Call to Action every once in a while. For example, imagine that you are a company that sells a specific software to other companies, and you are trying to get more leads for the sales team.
Maybe until now, you have been using “Contact us” or “Get in touch”. You can try spicing things up with a different, more creative CTA such as:
- Request a Demo
- Start saving time and money
- Begin your journey with us
You can check more Call to Action examples in this article.
I particularly love this one by Microsoft – “Migrate to save now, and be future-ready”.
7. Step up your copywriting
You can also try tackling ad fatigue issues from the perspective of copywriting. Even if you don’t make any changes to the visual side of your ad, sometimes rewording your copy can give you a great improvement in the results of your campaign.
Here are some tips for a great Marketing copy:
- Keep it short and simple
- Have a clear goal in mind
- Focus on the customer, not yourself
- Test different sentence types
- Create a sense of urgency
- Base your decisions on data
You can also check my article 17 Winning Tips for Writing a Great Marketing Copy for more information on that.
8. Decrease ad budget temporarily
While this isn’t the perfect solution, especially if you are planning to apply all other strategies on the list, you can also try decreasing ad budget temporarily. On some channels such as Facebook, you can decrease the budget for high-frequency ad sets if you notice that they are experiencing ad fatigue.
On other channels like LinkedIn, where you can’t decrease the budget specifically for ad sets because there aren’t any, you can considering decreasing the budget for the whole campaign. However, I would highly suggest trying all previous tactics that we talked about it before doing that.
One thing you can do, however, if you are rotating different ad creatives, is to select the rotation option to optimize for performance (for LinkedIn, it is selected by default).
This way, if the algorithm notices that a certain creative is getting ad fatigue, it will prioritize the better performing ones.
9. Limit ad deliverability
Another smart way to prevent and improve ad fatigue is to limit the deliverability of your ads in terms of time. Some channels such as Facebook allow scheduling your ads within certain time periods. This way, you can optimize the timing of your ads by delivering them in the best days and hours of the week.
Doing this will cut down on less useful impressions, decreasing ad fatigue as a result.
10. Spread your budget over time
And last but not least, you can also decrease ad fatigue by spreading your budget over a longer period of time. For example, if you have $500 dollars for the month, you can try to stretch it out a bit more and spend it for 45 days instead.
What will happen is that even if the user gets impacted the same amount of times as if you would to run the campaign in 30 days, there will be more time that passes between each impact. Which is great for preventing ad fatigue because you will reduce the overall impact frequency.
And that was all from me for today! I really hope you enjoyed my article on the best ways to prevent and beat ad fatigue, which can be a serious issue for many businesses, especially if their budget is limited. After all, we want to make the best out of our budget and maximize our results.
If you have any questions or doubts, please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments below. I hope to see you in the next article!