Advertising fatigue? What is it and is your brand suffering from it?

Trish McCabe Rawls  |  June 17, 2021

If you've ever been scrolling through your social media feed and thought "I'm so sick of seeing those ads from X company!" then you are suffering from advertising fatigue. But more importantly, the brand of X is, too. And they obviously don't realize it or they wouldn't be paying to serve you ads. Put simply, for an organization, advertising fatigue is when your audience has become tired of seeing your marketing (SFX: Big yawn), and worse, they've stopped paying attention.

You don't want to get THERE, but it can happen.

It's common knowledge in the marketing business that you will get tired of your advertising campaigns way before your audience will. After all, you've been living it, eating it, and breathing it since it was just an idea. You are intimately familiar with every piece of print, digital, and broadcast. You see it each and every day. Because of this, some companies have been known to try to "change-up" their marketing too soon, which can be detrimental to the effectiveness of a campaign. So how do you know when your campaign needs to stay the course and when it is time to make a creative pivot in your campaign? Here are some basic guidelines.

How can you spot advertising fatigue?

Your analytics begin to suffer. This is the most significant sign. Numbers don't lie which makes website analytics your best gauge.

  1. Click-through rates (CTR) decrease
  2. Reduced engagement.
  3. Fewer impressions
  4. A spike in cost-per-click

Here are a few ways to avoid advertising fatigue — and remedy it.

  1. Vary and rotate the creative. If you basically have the same message, try to vary the visual, the color, the words and the medium you use to convey the message so you end up with multiple variations. Your audience will be less apt to tune out if they see a few variations several times than the exact same ad one hundred times. Customize your creative for each of the channels so that you can prevent your audience from seeing the same message, delivered the same way across multiple channels. Imagine using the same banner ad all the time vs using a variety of different banner ads with different visuals. And also throw in different executions such as rich media and video. It will make a big difference.
  2. Track performance. It's critical that you track performance from the beginning to establish a benchmark of success. Analytics will not only show you how a campaign is performing but will provide valuable history for future goal setting and testing. Historical campaign trends can help you predict when your current campaign might begin to lag so you can take proactive measures to prevent advertising fatigue.
  3. Diversify your ad buy. When planning a new campaign, vary placements. Don't simply buy Facebook ads. Use banner ads with online publications. Find out what their "added value" components are, like sponsoring their next eBlast. Reach out to social influencers. Utilize digital marketing variations like e-newsletters. Get on Spotify or Pandora.
  4. Have a plan to update and refresh periodically. Be prepared with fresh creative already in your hip pocket or even a hiatus from the media when you start to see a dip in traffic and conversions.
  5. Leverage channel settings. Things like Facebook frequency caps and Google Ads Ad Customizers can help reduce the likelihood of ad fatigue by limiting the number of times a consumer sees your ad and making your ads more appealing to specific consumers.
  6. Keep retargeting budgets smaller. Since retargeting audiences tend to be smaller, keep the budgets smaller. That will assure you don't oversaturate the audience. Again, refer to #2 if you haven't retargeted before. Track. Track. Track.
  7. Monitor your audiences and targeting. Along with tracking performance, optimize and refresh your audiences. Auditing targeting over the lifetime of a campaign will help you identify new audiences or segments, create look-a-like audiences and exclude past engagers which can help reduce ad fatigue. 
  8. Leverage holidays and/or current event themes. If you're looking for ways to freshen up your message or just stay relevant, think about being seasonal — if it fits your market.

In a day and age when consumers are marketing weary see between 6,000 to 10,000 advertisements per day in 2021, it is imperative that your company’s brand stand out from the clutter — and not be part of the clutter.

What are your thoughts? Has your company experienced advertising fatigue? As a consumer, can you think of a brand that gave YOU advertising fatigue? Think about how you felt and if any of the above suggestions would have alleviated your feeling of boredom with that brand.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to get in touch with us if you just want someone else to handle it. We'd be glad to do that — and more!

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