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Remember the first time you saw that funny commercial, nodded along as you read that clever advert or even *gasp* clicked on a banner ad because it so perfectly addressed your situation (or at least convinced you that you had a “situation”)?

What did you do the next time you saw it?

You ignored it.

That was on a good ad, an ad that did its job and got you clicking, searching, maybe even purchasing.

When an ad loses its relevance (assuming it had any in the first place), when it stops being of interest to you and you just ignore it, that is ad fatigue. Think of it like your favorite series on Netflix – how often would you watch if every episode was exactly the same? Once for sure, maybe twice out of curiosity or to see if you missed some detail to the plot. After that, you start asking yourself:  “what’s the point?”

As an organization that advertises online, how do you combat this?

  • Identify the problem and the players.
  • Approach your ads like your organic content.
  • Execute. A/B test. Repeat.

We’ve discussed the problems in brief already, let’s look at the guilty parties.

The largest offender, oftentimes, is your own campaign. Nothing personal, but if you’re running the same ad, without any change to it at all, over and over again – what you may view as exposure is, in fact, desensitizing your audience to your messaging. The other contributors to this problem? Your competitors. Through their own mismanagement of ad campaigns, they might be “poisoning the well” – causing YOUR potential customers to ignore YOUR messaging because of THEIR refusal to address ad fatigue. You become “guilty by association” as the saying goes. “What’s that? Another ad for WidgetX? Meh…”

So how do we combat this?

Refresh! Some say every two weeks. Some say every week. Some say quarterly. Some print campaigns have run relatively untouched for decades. In short, there is no concrete one-size-fits-all answer, so, what’s the right balance?

First off, if you don’t have an editorial calendar for your ads, how will you know? We’re strong proponents of applying the logic and order of an editorial calendar to your ad campaigns the same way you apply it towards your organic content. Tracking the life cycle of your ad campaign is the first step.

“Okay, so I have my ads all plotted out on a calendar, now what? I need brand new ads every month?”

Not entirely new ads. There are some relatively painless ways to re-skin your ads and serve up something new and different to your audience without having to restart the entire creative, approval, and development cycle.

Some simple things to implement (and A/B test) are:

  • Changing the background colors or fonts – while seemingly irrelevant, something as simple as this can make a fatigued ad re-register in a user’s mind – the brain notices something different where it expected the norm. This is your first foot back in the door.
  • Google Ad Customizers to create time-sensitive, product-specific, device specific and geo-specific ETAs, dynamically. In short, leverage technology to tailor your marketing efforts to your audience. Know your customer and focus on their needs. You do that, and you’ve already won half the battle of ad fatigue.
  • Review existing video assets through an editor’s eye – see what can be cut into smaller segments and augmented with a pair of bumpers for context and CTAs, and mix them up across your various social channels. You’d be surprised how much material a 3-minute clip can yield – if you look for it.

Then there’s the inevitable: A complete creative overhaul. You can only swap messaging, colors, and dynamic tags so much until you realize it’s just time. However, don’t look at that tired, worn-out campaign with disdain – you’ve got some gold there. If you’re doing it right, you should have a TON of data on what works what doesn’t, etc… all of which will serve you well in building your next campaign.

If you’d like to discuss how to best fight ad fatigue in your campaigns, drop us a line – we’re listening.