Every Penny Counts: How Your Marketing Efforts Can Avoid Ad Fatigue

When an audience becomes apathetic to the brand and message, it can make even the best campaigns fall flat

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Do you ever feel like you’ve seen the same ad a hundred times?

We have all experienced it—seeing an ad and immediately putting down our phone, changing the channel or closing the pop-up as quickly as possible on our browser. After investing time and money to create ads, ad fatigue—or when your audience becomes apathetic to the brand and message—can make even the best campaigns fall flat.

Let’s talk about what causes ad fatigue, how to know if your brand is experiencing it and what you can do to resolve the situation.

What causes ad fatigue?

Old creative

If you haven’t refreshed your creative in a while, your audience might be scrolling past it without a thought. To them, it’s old news and they’ve seen it before. Best practices say brands should refresh its creative every quarter. Don’t forget, your customer might be seeing your message on multiple platforms, so it might be best to switch it up even more often.

Frequent messaging

You might think that being aggressive with your ad frequency is a sure way to capture your target’s attention. The thing is, as a customer, it starts to feel like the brand is stalking you. Then, it just gets tiresome and could even negatively impact the customer’s opinion of your brand.

Hard sell

Connecting with customers authentically means caring about what they need. If a brand’s ads are constantly pushing the hard sell, never addressing the customer paint point and showing how the product or service solves the problem, consumers will likely lose interest. Overtly selling is okay sometimes and in certain stages of the customer journey, but if every ad is a hard sell, the target will start to tune you out.

The content-ad ratio

There might be an oversaturation of advertising in general, in which case customers might just start scrolling or flipping the page with wild abandon, seeking out any content that isn’t an ad. It’s important to pay attention to the content-to-advertising ratio of any platform or medium where you choose to invest marketing spend.

The telltale signs

Want to know if your marketing is falling victim to ad fatigue? Here are a few indicators:

  • CTR plummets. You used to have a stellar click-through rate (CTR), and now your ad isn’t performing as well. A declining CTR could be a symptom of ad fatigue. The ad used to capture the attention of the target audience and earned clicks, but now that same ad has stopped resonating with your consumer.
  • Little engagement. You’ve noticed that followers aren’t liking, commenting or sharing your content and paid posts as much as before. Once the audience has seen or engaged in your creative, it might not garner the same action the next time around. This is especially true if you haven’t changed up your creative assets for a long time.
  • Impressions are low. Most digital algorithms push relevant content, and that means that people need to interact with your posts for them to continue to be served to your audience. If CTR and engagement are low, it will impact impressions, too.
  • Unsubscribes. An unfollow or a snooze is your target directly communicating with you. If followers are starting to disengage with the brand, or ads are getting snoozed for 30 days, listen to what your audience is telling you. They want to see something different.

The best defense

Here are a few best practices to make sure your ads have a long-lasting impact:

Confirm the audience. Make sure that you’ve found the right audience for your product and take a closer look at the platforms they frequent.

Reassess goals. If the brand has been pushing a hard sell and alienating customers, try swapping out to a brand awareness campaign or drive clicks to a blog that showcases how your product can help. A new campaign goal might help connect with prospects at different stages of the consumer journey.

Switch up your creative. Try new visuals, copy, calls to action (CTAs), different design, change up colors or make other creative edits. Essentially make sure the new creative is different enough so that it seems fresh.

Try a new format. Most platforms offer a variety of formats. Create a carousel ad of various products or deliver a short video showing the benefits of your service.

Monitor performance. This should go without saying, but monitoring performance is critical in not only spotting ad fatigue as it starts to happen, but in making sure that the changes you make are positively impacting the brand’s performance.

Reduce ad frequency. If your brand has been hitting up its customers a lot, give them a little breather.

Personalize wherever possible. Some platforms offer the capability to customize placements. Take advantage of delivering a message that speaks directly to your customer when available.

Retarget where appropriate. Give your customers a break and exclude them from your marketing for a while. Then, come back with a fresh retargeting campaign that makes them take notice.

Don’t be dismissed

Ad fatigue can strike at any time. If you’re noticing signs that your creative and strategy are past their prime, it’s important to act right away. At the end of the day, marketing that is ignored by the target audience is a waste of advertising spend, so it’s in your brand’s best interest to monitor, investigate and swap out ads when needed.