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With the holiday season right around the corner, spending time planning to minimize ad fatigue is more important than ever. Nearly every company will be increasing their budgets, and competition for consumer interest is becoming increasingly competitive. Below, we’ll detail what ad fatigue is, why addressing it is important, and ways to combat its effect.

What Exactly Is Ad Fatigue?

Ad fatigue occurs when an audience has seen an ad too many times— they become uninterested, and performance begins to decline. We can turn to data to understand when ad fatigue is playing a role, or when your marketing efforts could be falling victim to another culprit.

Is Ad Fatigue the Real Issue Here?

There are a few key metrics you can turn to when diagnosing whether you’re dealing with ad fatigue.

  • Frequency: The amount of times, on average, a user has seen your ad. While increased frequency can be a good thing, increased frequency coupled with declining performance can indicate ad fatigue.

 

  • CTR and CPAs: Is impression volume steady DoD while CTR is declining? Are CPAs increasing overall?
  • Relevance Score: Negative feedback impacts relevancy. If users decide to hide your Facebook ad, you may notice a decline in relevancy, further cementing that ad fatigue is your performance culprit.

Types of Ad Fatigue

  • Slow and Steady: The most common type of ad fatigue. You launch an ad, it performs well, but then over time you see CTR decline as CPAs increase. Perhaps you saw strong initial performance, but then conversions and engagement began to tank. You might think, “Did something happen to my audience? Is Facebook glitching again?” While there could be something greater at play here, the data could be telling you that your audience has simply become less interested.
  • New, but Not So New: Wait, what?! Let me explain. Often advertisers create an asset, launch it, it performs well…and then they create an almost identical creative for a different product to relaunch. While the creative itself is technically new, running a nearly identical creative against the same audience could result in change not significant enough to evoke higher performance. If you are constantly launching “Same, but different” creative, yet see performance decline over time, it may be time to develop a fresh approach to your creative strategy.

“But Erica, producing creative is expensive and time-consuming!”

Yeah, but so is inefficient spend on creative that just doesn’t convert or provide a return you’re hoping for! You’ve got two options: spend money on inefficient creative, or spend money on new creatives that will most likely provide a return on spend. Either way, you’re spending money. In the age of constant visual stimulation, it’s important to provide content people find engaging and relevant, and that will encourage them to convert.

“Okay, you’ve convinced me. But what about time?!”

Until we figure out how to get more hours in our day, we’ll have to stick to the old-fashioned way of really, really ridiculously good time management! Apps like Asana and Trello can help with overall campaign management and creative development communication. Generally, we know far in advance when holidays or special promotions are coming, but we too often leave important creative conversations until it’s crunch time. For a specific eCommerce client, we began seeing holiday season conversations in September. Sit down and plan out every creative needed so that every stakeholder is aware of expectations and assets needed at least two months in advance of the deadline. Communication is key!

“Is there anything else I can do?”

I’m so glad you asked! Although rotating in new creative continuously can have a positive impact, testing can play a key role in creative longevity as well. On social platforms, test new creative in different audiences. In more text-based platforms like Google Ads and Bing, add in at least 5-10 different ad text variations and allow Google to optimize ad copy based on what might perform best. If you’re feeling fancy, run tests using Ad Variations in Google to switch up various parts of your copy. The testing options can be endless, but they allow for valuable information that can help inform better decisions.

Lastly, if you have a compelling value prop, showcase that EVERYWHERE. Adding creative to new ad formats can increase awareness and conversion rates. Recently, our client tested Gmail Sponsored Promotions with creative they had already developed for social. With minimal spend, our Gmail campaigns converted with an ROAS equivalent to non-brand search. We can now use our learnings here to develop more aggressive Gmail campaigns in the future.

With a solid understanding of ad fatigue and an approach to combatting it through creative rotation and testing, your campaigns are set to have their best holiday season yet!