By Ioana Cozma | 12 min read
Outsmarting Ad Fatigue: 5 Strategies to Keep Your Ads Fresh and Engaging
Ad fatigue is the bane of most advertisers’ existence.
You can create the perfect ad, and still, people will get bored with it.
But you’re on the right page to tackle that issue. This article shows you:
- 5 strategies and 12 actionable tactics to overcome ad fatigue
- Insider tips, including inBeat’s Jewelry Box Technique to slash ad fatigue and CPAs
- Real examples that worked
Stay tuned below.
What is Ad Fatigue and How to Recognize It
Ad fatigue is a symptom that occurs when your target audience sees your ads too often. Basically, your prospective customers become bored with your branded content.
And they stop paying attention to it.
Side note: That’s why ad fatigue is also known as banner blindness.
The problems are easy to guess: Less impact leads to a slower move to the sales funnel, which leads to fewer sales.
Luckily, recognizing ad fatigue in time means you can take the reins of your advertising campaign again. The signs include:
- Lower click-through rate (CTR): When your target audience doesn’t click on your ad anymore, it means that ad is no longer effective. A drastic drop in the CTR will tell you there’s something wrong with your advertising strategy.
- Lower audience engagement: If your social media ads get very few comments and shares, you’re in trouble. The lack of interactions means your paid content is not compelling or attractive to potential customers.
- Fewer impressions: Plummeting impressions means that ad fatigue is installing rapidly because people don’t interact with your paid posts anymore.
- ROI performance drop: If your creative assets don’t bring enough ROI, that’s a clear sign you have to spruce them up.
Fortunately, you can do plenty of things to deter ad fatigue.
Let’s jump right in:
Your A-to-Z Plan for Combating Ad Fatigue
The previous section taught you what ad fatigue is and how to recognize it. Now let’s see some actionable advice on how to fight against it.
1. Find Out the Root of the Problem
Treating severe audience fatigue is like treating an infection.
Taking antibiotics without any medical check-up could be useless – or even dangerous in some cases. Sure, a bacterial infection could technically be treated with antibiotics; but viral infections need antivirals.
The first item on your list is finding the root cause of your ad fatigue. Here are the steps:
- Analyze ad performance:
- Use your regular tools to track the key metrics that reflect your campaign performances, such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and ad recall. The return on investment is also a good indicator to follow.
- Look at the timing of your ads and audience segment.
- Conduct audience analysis:
- You can use social media listening tools, direct surveys, or direct communication with them. Note your:
- Audience size
- Audience saturation
- Audience settings
- Monitor social media, customer service channels, and other sources for negative audience feedback about ads.
- Use this feedback to identify common issues and make necessary changes.
- Monitor your competition:
- Analyze your competitors’ ads to understand their advertising strategies.
- Identify their most effective ads and reverse engineer their creative strategy.
- Use creative testing:
- Test different ad formats, messaging, and creative elements to see which resonates most with your potential customers.
After going through these steps, you now know where the problem lies:
- Audience selection
- Ad type and format
- Creative ad elements
- Ad dissemination (channel and timing)
Let’s see specific tactics that work at each level:
2. Audience Selection
One reason that your ad is not performing according to your expectations is that you’re not catering to your audience.
Either you’re addressing the wrong people or letting the right ones slip through your fingers.
Here’s what you can do about that:
2.1. Readjust Your Targeting [and Stop Addressing the Wrong People]
Consider that your ad is perfectly fine, but you’re just talking to the wrong people.
Consider these two tactics:
- Look for new audiences in another niche: This could involve using different keywords, demographics, or interests to reach the right Internet users.
- Create lookalike audiences: Analyze your current customers’ profiles and address the same type of shoppers using lookalike audiences. Social platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram allow you to create such an audience, as does Google.
Here’s how to recreate an exact audience by focusing on your best shoppers’ profiles:
2.2. Dynamic Retargeting (DRT) to Go After the Right Customers
Dynamic retargeting means showing relevant ads to your past website visitors.
Let’s say you have an online shoe store. One person checked out your fitness trainers without buying them – but Google and your cookies know that.
Dynamic retargeting shows them tailored ads with the precise fitness shoes they visited.
This tactic increases the recall rate and catches people’s attention because it’s highly personalized.
Pro tip: Use Responsive Search Ads to dynamically update your ads with customized content and keep your advertising fresh and relevant.
2.3. Remove Past Users
Paid ads are similar to cold outreach. You wouldn’t dream of sending the same email over and over to a potential business partner.
So why would you pester your already fatigued audience?
People who engage with your ads are already familiar with your offers. If they didn’t buy your product, it’s no use pestering them.
Pro tip: Facebook Ads allow you to exclude social media users who visited your website without converting in the past 60 days.
That brings us to the next point:
2.4. Target Your Loyal Customers Separately
When you perform custom audience segmentation, target your loyal customers with different messages than your new ones.
That’s because customer retention requires a different marketing strategy than customer acquisition.
These people are in different stages of the sales funnel. Imagine one of your loyal customers sees this ad:
“Looking for the best [product/service]? Try us out today and get [discount/bonus offer] for signing up.”
Understandably, they can get considerably irritated when fatigue sets in. Even worse, your ad is ineffective, and your CPAs increase. Instead, a loyal customer should see this:
“Happy birthday, [Name]! Thank you for your loyalty! Enjoy exclusive rewards and discounts just for being a valued customer.”
3. Ad Type and Format
Here’s an insider story you’ll love:
Our TikTok marketing agency worked with NielsenIQ to promote the inbox-decluttering app Unroll.me.
The app addresses a larger audience because almost everyone can relate to having a cluttered inbox – regardless of age, gender, location, profession, etc.
After releasing our UGC TikTok ads, we noticed that:
- The most polished, edited, and fast-paced ads appealed to the younger generation of males aged 18 to 24.
- The slower-paced ads with in-depth app reviews appealed to the 55+ age group.
Lesson learned: Different audience segments prefer different ad types and formats.
And that brings us to our:
3.1. inBeat’s Secret Algorithm Trick: The Jewelry Box Technique
The Jewelry Box Technique is based on a pretty straightforward principle:
The box in which a precious piece of jewelry comes is as important as that jewelry. In other words, relevant content depends on presentation.
And the best presentation for social media algorithms is using creator content like this ad:
Our numerous case studies are living proof that using creator content can slash your cost per acquisition/ install and reduce ad fatigue considerably.
For NielsenIQ, we:
- Slashed CPAs by 75%
- Accelerated app downloads to 100,000+ per month
3.2. Change the Ad Format
The social media platform/ marketing channel you’re using dictates your ad format to some extent.
But you can still choose between different styles according to your:
- Marketing goals
For example, Instagram Reels ads are more interactive than in-feed ads. That makes them better for an engagement campaign addressed to a younger generation.
Polished in-feed ads are better for an awareness campaign.
Side note: Our awareness campaign for the beauty brand Native included such polished content from diverse creators across the board.
So we used the Jewelry Box Technique to power up this campaign too.
Here’s Taekwondo sparring world champion Leticia Esparza promoting Native products:
4. Creative Elements
Sometimes, the creative elements are the ones that mess with your campaign effectiveness. These can include:
- Colors: Yes, even a small change in your color palette can refresh your ad and catch your tired audience’s interest. Split-test your customers’ feedback to different colors and refine the best-performing ads
- Keywords: Conduct keyword research to ensure your copy uses the right keywords according to your potential customers’ search intent.
- Fonts: Consider a new font that your target audience would like better, and that fits your product/message better. Alternatively, mix and match your fonts within the same ad to draw more attention to your advertisement.
- Visuals: Change your visuals according to your target market. For example, turn your copy into an infographic or a static image to videos. Carousel ads can be a good alternative to single-image ads.
- Photos: Change your images and backgrounds occasionally to keep your ad looking fresh. Alternatively, remove the background altogether to make your products stand out.
Pro tip: Reversed images can raise interest and significantly decrease your cost per click (CPC).
- Use a different CTA: If your potential customers aren’t explicitly told what to do, they won’t do it. Therefore, the right call to action can make or break your digital advertising efforts.
Pro tip: Personalize your CTAs according to the stage of the customer sales funnel.
- Purchase stage: “Shop now and get 20% off your first purchase.”
- Evaluation stage: “Call us now and speak to one of our experts about your [product/service] needs.”
- Consideration stage: “Sign up for our newsletter to receive our exclusive deals and offers.”
- Awareness stage: “Learn more about [product/service] and discover how it can help you [solve a problem or meet a need].”
For example, the Babbel app always varies its social media ads to prevent people from scrolling past its messages:
And since Babbel is a language app, it can take advantage of specific imagery associated with different cultures and languages:
Notice how this change in colors and scenery refreshes the original copy.
Remember: This tactic prevents ad fatigue because people get something in return – beautiful images that elicit wanderlust.
Besides, the ad is non-intrusive, with just a few words underlining the main benefit: six months of free app usage.
5. Ad Dissemination
Ad dissemination entails the timing and channels you’re using.
5.1. Reduce Ad Frequency
Don’t bombard your target audience with the same ad over and over again.
When the same person sees your ad more than six or seven times and still doesn’t convert, that’s a problem.
Remember: The maximum ad frequency should be five. If you’re getting over that, you must put your campaign on hold and reevaluate.
Pro tip: Set up an automatic ad frequency on your ad platform and pick relevant time slots for your audience.
5.2. Rotate Ads
Create different versions of the same ad and rotate them frequently. This tactic ensures your target audience doesn’t just glaze over your ads.
You can maintain your content fresh by changing fonts, colors, visuals, and even the type of ads you’re using.
Remember: A/B test different modifications to zero in on the top-performing creatives.
That’s what we do with all our paid media ads. And that’s why we use diverse creators across different social media channels.
For example, we get 50+ unique online content assets for Prose per month, and we’re yet to encounter ad fatigue:
This guide took you through some amazing strategies and examples to keep ad fatigue at bay.
Babbel can get away with a higher ad frequency by offering its potential customers specific benefits: the wanderlust-eliciting images that accompany a significant discount.
And our inBeat Jewelry Box Technique showed you the power of using content creators to power up your ads.
Remember: You should find relevant, engaged content creators for the job.
Our agency partners with the top 2% of creators for these projects and has extensive paid media experience.
Contact us for a free strategy call and speak to one of our experts about paid advertising needs.