What Is Ad Fatigue? (And How To Cure It)

Ad fatigue can be the kiss of death for your ad campaign. But what is ad fatigue? Learn more about this phenomenon and how to combat it

You're tired, we're tired, the whole world is tired. As we acclimate to an ever-changing world, our priorities are also changing. However, your ad campaign can't afford for your target audience to get tired when it comes to ads. This is called 'ad fatigue.'

And when trying to reach out to your target audience, it can be a death knell for even the most watertight ad campaign. That trip down the marketing funnel becomes less a journey and more of a missed opportunity.

After a while, even the most compelling, colorful, attractive ad will eventually fall out of favor. After all, if you're hit over the head almost daily with the same commercial or banner ad, you'll either tune it out entirely or start to outright hate it. And we get it!

That's why it's vital for digital marketers to prepare for and combat ad fatigue. But how?

Ad Fatigue: The Basics

man wearing white top using MacBook experiencing ad fatigue

Ad fatigue occurs when your ads become oversaturated with your audience. It's a phenomenon where your click-through rate suffers because your ad becomes a fixture on a site rather than an effective ad. It could even hurt your online reputation if you're not careful!

People still see your ad, although there may be some banner blindness (we'll get to that soon). But the result is still the same: the volume of clicks is way down.

  • The frequency of your ad appearance remains the same, but your click-through rate (CTR) lowers.
  • Since users become used to your content, your return on investment sinks

There's also banner blindness, where ads and ad campaigns can underperform.

What Is Banner Blindness?

Like ad fatigue, banner blindness operates in that same area. How many times do you access a site, see that there are ad banners, and completely disregard them? It's almost as if, you've guessed it, you're turning a blind eye to banner ads.

This isn't ideal if you're running an ad campaign. Not by a long shot. Consumers and your target audience outright 'erasing' your ads on a website? You're in a tight spot.

Consulting The Experts

UX/UI experts, the Nielsen Norman Group, explain that ad avoidance is a learned behavior. And mobile ads, in particular, can 'poison' or negatively affect items around them.

"Content placed in the same part of the screen as an advertisement is often considered to be an ad and is also ignored.

This is called the Gestalt law of proximity. In essence, your target items, tainted by the annoyance of banner ads, spoil the adjacent items, as your audience perceives them to be part of the same structure.

"Thus, if one of the items seems completely irrelevant, they will often assume that the entire section is not related to their goal and will stop scanning the rest of the items."

As an advertiser or marketer, this is terrifying.

But how do you avoid this advertising 'kiss of death'? There are a few methods.

Easy Ways To Avoid Banner Blindness

  • Make your ad less 'ad-like.' Sometimes, to help your ad succeed, you need to make it less 'ad-like.' That means getting creative! Maybe try to make your ad more subtle. Something not as flashy as it once was. If your ad blends in and looks more 'organic,' people likely won't be as turned off by its proximity.
  • Good A/B testing. Anyone familiar with user experience knows that A/B testing can make or break certain aspects of UX/UI. Through comprehensive testing, seeing what works and what doesn't can be a massive boon to your ad campaign.

How To Cure Ad Fatigue

person using macbook air on white table monitoring ad fatigue

First thing's first: do not just throw money at this problem. You'll effectively just be wasting your monthly ad spend.

Let's explore ways to avoid ad fatigue and help your audience connect with your content in a meaningful, effective manner.

Monitor Your Ads

It's a matter of 'when,' not 'if,' when it comes to ad fatigue. It's sad but true. However, your ad campaign isn't lost!

Don't just 'set it and forget it' with your ads. Although you may want to send your ads out into the world for your audience to see, you need to keep a close eye on how they perform. Regularly monitoring the performance of ads is crucial to campaign success.

Monitoring audience engagement levels will help you be able to diagnose any potential problems early on. And that may prove to be a difference.

Namely, you're going to want to watch your CTR closely. This metric for ads is crucial to see what's performing well with your audience and what engagement levels look like. The less your audience clicks through, and you can see customer intent drop off, you know the ad fatigue is setting in. This dropoff hardly helps build trust with your customers.

Changing How Your Ad Looks

Sometimes, all you need is a fresh coat of paint.

Something as simple as a color scheme change can breathe new life into an ad. Changing the ad appearance can be a reasonable first step toward overhauling a campaign and can give you some time to boost engagement before creating new ads.

Give some significant thought to how colors and different elements will affect audience perception. However, don't go too crazy with those colors. Keep things relative to your brand, first and foremost.

Depending on your ad and its purpose, a new appearance can boost engagement once again.

Variety Is The Spice Of (an Ad's) Life

We love variety. And fresh content. Whether it’s a holiday ad that packs a punch, or some local SEO efforts pulling you in to an aesthetically-pleasing ad, it makes a difference.

Seeing something new, different, and dynamic is a breath of fresh air. If you have multiple ads and change things up, your audience may be more forgiving (and more receptive) toward ads.

This means semi-regularly taking these multiple different ads and rotating them. Depending on which platform you're using for user engagement, you can even set up ad rotations to help you keep things new and exciting. Work with your brand designer to help cook up some new ideas.

Ad Verbiage

What words are you using in your ad? Are they 'salesy'? A little too desperate? Your audience will pick up on this and recognize it as a more pesky ad. Change the wording. Don't be afraid to let your inner wordsmith create some pithy, witty ad copy!

Ads: The Wrap Up

If we can offer only one piece of advice for ad fatigue, it's this: don't just throw your money at it.

It's, understandably, a knee-jerk reaction to lower CTRs. Increasing ad spend seems like a sound idea. But you can work with what you have.

Ad Fatigue: Add Some Pep To Your Step With Sprinkles Media

woman with pink hair and man looking at laptop monitoring ad fatigue

At Sprinkles Media, we're dedicated to improving your advertising strategies to ensure that your ads are dynamic and won't draw the ire of your customer base. Need PPC help? We've got you covered. And we use a holistic approach to digital marketing and advertising; no one business has a surefire, one-size-fits-all approach to success.

Got any questions? Get in contact with us today, and set up a digital marketing consultation with us to see what your business needs.

Don't fly solo with your ad campaigns; find your value and act on it. Because at Sprinkles, you're worth it.

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