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Ad fatigue is when your audience becomes “immune” to or even irritated by your ad, no matter how successful it has previously been.
That’s right: one bad ad experience can motivate people to install an ad blocker – a pretty permanent solution to a temporary problem.
What Are The Symptoms of Ad Fatigue?
It’s really not that difficult to spot ad fatigue. “On it” marketers tend to check their ad metrics daily, monitoring any fluctuating statistics. Here are the main signs that your ad has outstayed its welcome.
1. Negative Feedback
If your audience welcomed your ad with open arms during its first week, then inexplicably started leaving horrible comments a few days later, that’s a key indicator of ad fatigue.
Facebook users can hide or block any content they’re sick of seeing, and Facebook takes each incident very seriously. If the negative feedback isn’t getting enough positive feedback in counterbalance, Facebook will start making moves against your ad account. This means disapproving ads or even shutting accounts down.
A sudden spike in negative feedback is the clearest sign of ad fatigue you’ll get.
2. A Spike In CPM/CPC Rate
A spike in CPM (Cost Per 1000 Impressions) or CPC (Cost Per Click) is a sign of probable ad fatigue.
If your high CPM is coupled with a low CTR (click through rate), you’ll know for sure that ad fatigue is playing havoc with your campaigns.
3. The Test Of Time
Just like your favourite pop song of ‘05, ads naturally get less popular as they age. One marketing company found that most ads last no more than 35 days (and usually not even as long as that) without severe consequences on Cost Per Click.
The ad frequency metric on Facebook shows you how many times an advert has been seen by one – a unique – user. So, for example, if you have a Facebook frequency score of 3.0, that means one person has seen your ad three times.
According to a study by SocialMediaToday, the optimum number of views for an ad is four. After four times per user, you’ll start to see a rise in your CPC.
This, of course, is just a rule of thumb. Sometimes a high frequency can be beneficial if you have high creative variety, but that’s a subject for another day.
How To Cure Ad Fatigue
So, you’ve worked your backside off on a set of ads, and you’re sure they’re destined to become legendary all-time winners.
That’s why it’s so frustrating when an ad starts limping along slower than a pensioner wading through treacle.
Of course, there a couple of things you can do to resuscitate a dying advert… but sometimes you have to accept that the ad, like Elvis, is dead.
Here’s a couple of quick pointers.
1. Rethink Your Audience
The next time you set up an ad campaign, exclude audiences who’ve engaged with your ads over the last year, and the people who’ve already taken the action you wanted. This will ensure that only brand new people will see your ads.
2. Rotate Your Ads
Ad fatigue can be counteracted by keeping your current ads on a rota. One ad could be active on Monday through to Thursday, with another ad taking over for the weekend traffic, Friday to Sunday.
3. Jazz Up The Ad Image and Headline
If you want to go down this route, remember that your ad needs to look as new as possible. This means a dramatic change of image or headline, as these are the most recognisable parts of an advert.
If you successfully “trick” audiences into thinking this is a fresh ad, you’ll see your CPC return to what it had been in that first successful week or so.
And now for the hard truth…
4. Refresh Your Creative
There’s no “magic pill” for reviving a dying ad.
Facebook recommends that you update your creative every two weeks to avoid ad fatigue.
If you run an incredibly busy agency (and creative work is tough, let’s face it), then the above tips will help… but you may find you’re just delaying the inevitable.
But an ad’s short shelf life shouldn’t be considered a burden. An agency’s work can only improve through practice, practice and more practice.
If you take the time creating customer avatars, looking into Audience Insights and developing great hooks, your agency will soon reap the rewards.
Ad fatigue is a serious concern for PPC agencies who can’t (or won’t!) regularly update their creative.
I know, it’s hard work. With so many other things going on, it’s easy to put updated creatives at the bottom of the pile.
Have you ever suffered the effects of ad fatigue? Tell us in the comments!