Paid advertising is a fast and effective way to get more sales for your business. But paid ads come with a complex ecosystem of decisions that can cripple your campaign success.
Here’s the truth: even if you do everything right, your paid ads could become a victim of ad fatigue.
This happens when, 3 weeks into a great campaign, you notice a higher cost-per-click (CPC). And woah: it looks like your ad frequency is through the roof.
That means people in your target audience have seen your ad over 3 times.
And guess what? They’re sick of you.
Ad fatigue is a huge problem because it means you’re pumping more money into ads that just don’t get traction anymore. Users are sick of hearing about you, and that has devastating consequences for your campaign.
First of all, it’s important to understand what ad fatigue is and how to spot it. And once you spot it, put these 5 strategies into place to combat ad fatigue for good.
What is ad fatigue?
Ad fatigue is also called “banner blindness.” It happens when customers see your ads so many times that they start to feel annoyed.
Yeah, ads are always a little annoying, but ad fatigue is different: it leaves a negative impression on people who see the ad. This means your ad campaigns are working against your goals, which is never a good look.
Ad fatigue hurts your campaign effectiveness, decreasing clickthrough rates while increasing CPCs.
Translation: you’re paying more money for fewer sales.
So, even if you have a super-successful campaign, you have to shake things up and get smart to avoid ad fatigue.
Dig into your campaign analytics regularly to spot ad fatigue early. A few signs include:
- Ad frequency: Most advertising platforms will tell you how often, on average, a user sees your ad. If it’s more than 6-8 times, you might have an ad fatigue problem.
- High CPCs: Have your costs-per-click suddenly skyrocketed without an explanation? It could be ad fatigue.
- Declining clickthroughs: If you saw a 25% clickthrough rate at the beginning of the campaign and now see a 5% clickthrough rate, ad fatigue could be to blame.
But you’ll never catch ad fatigue unless you’re paying attention. Always, always keep a close eye on your paid ads to stop ad fatigue before it wreaks havoc on your budget.
5 ways to overcome ad fatigue
Now, what do you do if you think you have an ad fatigue problem? Try switching up your campaign with these 5 proven methods to make your campaign profitable again.
1 - Reduce ad frequency
Unless you’re targeting several million people, platforms like Facebook will inevitably show your ad to the same people twice.
Twice is fine. Twice is great.
If you start getting to five, six, seven times or more? That’s a problem. That’s when costs really start to go up.
If your average ad frequency is over six, pause your campaign and make some adjustments to reduce that ad frequency.
Try different settings like:
- Automatic rules: Most ad platforms let you set up automatic rules that keep your ad frequency low. In plain English, that means the platform will prevent a user from seeing your ad after they’ve seen it twice. You should always set up automatic rules, anyway, because they can be a useful backup for when you’re too busy to check the campaign daily.
- Ad rotations: Ad fatigue happens when people see the same ad over and over. So don’t show them the same ad! Create 5 variations of your ad and rotate it every 3 days. When one ad’s frequency comes close to 3, pause it and start your next variation. That changes things up enough to keep users’ eyes fresh.
- Ad schedulers: This tool shows customers different ads on different days. So, if you show someone an ad just once a week, they’re not going to get as fatigued. This is a native setting in most ad platforms like Facebook or Google, so use it!
2 - Refresh your copy and creative
After twisting the knobs on a few of your campaign settings, you can also reduce ad fatigue with a creative refresh.
This means refreshing both your images or video and your ad formats by trying different combinations.
So, if you’ve been really into Facebook’s Carousel ads, pump the breaks and try a video ad instead.
Ad creative is important because it’s what your audience sees first. You can update your text copy until the cows come home, but your visuals matter most.
Here are a few easy ways to refresh your creative and reduce ad fatigue:
- Convert the creative to a new format: If you’re doing single-image ads, combine them into a Carousel. Or create a slideshow video from your image ads.
- Adjust the colors: Did you know that customers respond differently to different colors? Not only can this minimize ad fatigue, but it can help you split test customer response based on color. Try blue, yellow, or green backgrounds and see how your CTRs change.
- Reverse your images: Yes, this seems a little obvious and too easy, but it works. Use graphic design software to flip the creative to be a mirror-image. AdEspresso did this and saw a 10% drop in their CPC!
- Use different photos: Feel free to use the same text overlays, but switch up your product or photography to keep things fresh.
- Remove the background: There’s nothing wrong with a simple background. In fact, it’s a great way to make your products stand out in someone’s feed.
3 - Adjust your targeting
Have you taken a look at your audience settings lately? Sometimes they can cause ad fatigue.
Keep your campaign objective and even your ads the same here—this is about targeting different people. That might mean targeting:
- New audiences in a different segment or niche
- Lookalike audiences
- Past website visitors
If your existing audience is sick of your ads, get yourself a different audience.
4 - Exclude past users
If someone’s already engaged with your posts and knows who you are, you don’t have to continue harassing them with your content.
If they’ve already said, “No thanks” and you keep pestering them, it’s going to work against you. The best way to prevent ad fatigue is to exclude past users.
Use Facebook’s pixel to create a custom audience targeting people who clicked through to your site in the past 60 days. This will allow you to exclude people who clicked through but didn’t convert.
But don’t worry: these folks are prime for retargeting campaigns, so it’s not really goodbye.
5 - Create new content
Although the ideas above are great, the best thing you can do for your ads is to use new creative.
As we said earlier, “you can update your text copy until the cows come home, but your visuals matter most.”
- Changing ad frequency might actually hurt your total acquisition if the copy is great.
- There are only so many ways to refresh your existing copy and content.
- Adjusting your targeting only works if you haven’t exhausted your target market.
- Excluding past users from an ad that works might cost sales.
By putting in new creative, you are breathing new life into your high performing ads.
Creating content in-house can be expensive though. Even if you have a big budget, it still doesn't make much sense to spend money on high production.
Today’s top and rising brands have figured out that raw, authentic content is actually what works best.
And the best way to create that authentic content is through product users (aka user-generated content).
UGC is 35% more memorable than your branded content and helps you stand through the clutter in your paid ads.
If you really want to create high-quality content that resonates with buyers, we suggest fueling your ads with creator content.
Because partnering with the right creators can give you a consistent stream of high-quality, authentic content for your ads. Don’t leave your content creation up to chance by just relying on everyday users.
Creators also help you get more traction out of your paid ads, too.
Set up an influencer campaign to run in conjunction with your Facebook Ads: you handle the branded content and let the influencer worry about building trust and awareness with a larger audience.
The bottom line
Paid ads are a great way to raise awareness and increase sales, but let’s be real: ads can get annoying.
Instead of pestering your prospects, use these 5 strategies to keep your ads fresh and engaging every time. A well-balanced advertising strategy will minimize—and even fix—ad fatigue.
Oh, and if you want a little help with solving ad fatigue, it’s time to work with a creator.
Skip the BS and get straight to the good stuff with Trend’s network of experienced, vetted influencers. Sign up now for free and start generating great creative for your ads for $100 (plus a boost in brand awareness).