How to find and fix ad fatigue

Charlotte Collier headshot

Written by:

1 min read

I’m an early 90s baby, fortunate enough to grow up in that digital sweet spot at the start of dialup internet but before cyberbullying in primary schools. 

I do everything online work, research, shop, consume news, watch tv, listen to music, keep up with my family and friends. 

This, and my flagrant disregard for ad blockers, means my digital footprint is sizeable and the ads I am served online are usually relevant and should be of interest. 

But I, like everyone else, usually ignore them.

We’re bombarded day-in, day-out with ads that are generic, sales-y and boring and we just skip over them. 

As marketeers we’re constantly battling against the general public’s general weariness when it comes to consuming content online. 

In short ad fatigue is REAL.

Here’s how to spot when your ads are under-performing, and more importantly how to combat it…

Top tip:

This guide assumes you are already running paid ads. If you’re not, and you’d like to start, then book a call with a member of our team for some tips on how to get started. 

 

SPOTTING AD FATIGUE

 

1. DECREASING RETURN ON AD SPEND

Return on ad spend (ROAS) measures how profitable your ads are. If your campaign isn’t ROAS positive, then the revenue it generates is less than the amount you are spending. 

If your campaign starts to see a decreasing ROAS, it’s a sign that your campaign performance is decreasing and you need to make adjustments.

 

2. FREQUENCY

It’s estimated that the average person sees between 6,000 to 10,000 ads each day and we’ve become very good at ignoring them

Facebook has a handy metric for measuring this called frequency. Frequency shows the number of times your ad was served to each person (on average). According to Facebook, optimal frequency is between one and two exposures. Anything over 3.4 and the ad loses its effectiveness.

If your ad frequency is high, and your click-through-rate (CTR) is low, then it’s likely you need to make a change.

 

3. DECLINING CLICK THROUGH RATE

If you’ve been running a campaign for a few weeks and you start to see the CTR decline and fall below the campaign average, your audience is probably growing tired of seeing your ads.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to make radical changes. Try changing a colour, image or a tweak to the copy sometimes these small tweaks can make your ad look different enough to trigger a reaction from your audience.

 

4. HIGHER THAN NORMAL COST PER CLICK

If you see your cost per click creeping up, especially if it’s combined with a decreasing CTR, then it’s a sure sign that ad fatigue is damaging your ad performance. 

Consider adding negative keywords to your campaign to prevent your ad from being shown for irrelevant search queries. For instance, if your products and services are fairly high-end, you may want to add “cheap” as a negative keyword to capture the right audience. By doing this, you’ll increase your CTR, which will boost your quality score and ultimately, lower your cost per click. 

 

AVOIDING AD FATIGUE

Now you know the metrics to look out for, it’s important to understand how you can fix ad fatigue and maximise the effectiveness of your paid advertising efforts... 

 

1. GET TO THE POINT 

We’re told our attention span is ever-decreasing and we don’t refute it because we know it feels right. We skim, we scroll, we’re gone. 

So, when it comes to writing ad copy there is nothing more important than Getting. To. The. Point. This isn’t about selling your service in as few words as possible. It’s about catching someone’s interest so they stop scrolling.

You wouldn’t stop for….”We are a growth agency for the engineering and manufacturing sector.” because a) it’s boring and b) you don’t care.

But you might pause for…“Your competitors are winning deals that you don’t even know about. Want to get there before they do?” 

You don’t care what we do as a Digital Marketing Agency, but finding out your competitor has won a contract you didn’t know about, but would have been perfect for? That’s really annoying.

Get to the heart of what annoys your customer and speak to that pain in your ad copy.

 

2. HYPER-TARGET YOUR AUDIENCE

There is a (frankly terrifying) level of targeting you can do when setting up and running paid ads. This ‘hyper-targeting’ involves delivering personalised messages to a very narrow audience or persona.

Here are just a few things you can do using social media advertising such as Facebook Ads as well as Google’s paid ads platform: 

  • Use ‘Custom affinity audiences’ to target people based on their interests, the apps they’ve downloaded, and the websites and places they’ve visited.
  • Use matched audiences to reach specific contacts and companies who you’d like to work with (great for account-based marketing).
  • Display ‘retargeting’ ads to people who have visited your website but maybe didn’t convert.

By hyper-targeting your ads you can be more confident that you’re reaching an audience that is going to be interested in what you are offering.

 

3. NAIL YOUR MESSAGE

Another benefit of hyper-targeting your ads is the ability to write content specifically for that audience. The more relevant the ad is to your audience, the more likely they are to interact with it

By being specific with your targeting, you can also switch up your ads depending on where a user is in their buying journey from awareness, through consideration to purchase. The message should be different for a person that has never heard of your company vs someone who has been following you for some time and is deciding whether to take the next step. 

Matching your ad copy to the stage a user is in their decision-making can help guide your customer through to a purchase, with the information that’s most relevant to them.

 

4. CHANGE IT UP 

When it comes to ads, exposure is good but arguably conversions are better. Like I’ve mentioned above, just because someone has ‘seen’ it doesn’t mean they’ve seen it.

Maintaining the same level of impressions but seeing a decline in conversions is a sign that you are suffering from ad fatigue.

Some options for switching your ads up are:

  • Changing the background colour.
  • Switch out the images.
  • Reword the call to action.
  • Update the copy.
  • Try a different format (carousel ads, video ads, image ads etc).

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for how long you should keep an ad running. But keep an eye on metrics like your frequency, cost per click and declining CTRs to judge when you need to make a change.

 

At a glance: how to find and fix ad fatigue

  • Narrow your audience to maximise your impact.
  • Make it personal don’t use the same message for everyone.
  • Tap into their pain.
  • Track and tweak

If you’re worried that people are getting bored of your brand, or you’re struggling to get your ads to stand out, book a 15 minute chat with a member of our team for some free advice on how paid advertising could work for your business.

whitepaper

DOWNLOAD OUR LATEST WHITEPAPERS

View our whitepapers to download and keep, for FREE.
contact us

GET IN TOUCH

Have some questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch!