If you notice your Facebook ad campaigns becoming less effective, ad fatigue might be the culprit.

Ad fatigue is created when ad frequency becomes too high, resulting in the same people seeing your ads over and over, which causes your campaign to produce inferior results.

The three main effects of ad fatigue are:

  • Lower relevance score - As users interact with your ads at a lesser rate than before, your ad’s relevance score will decrease.
  • Higher CPC - A lower relevance score, in return, results in an increased CPC.
  • Reduced ROAS - A higher CPC inevitably leads to a reduced return on ad spend.

Not only does ad fatigue reduce the effectiveness of your campaigns, it also increases advertising costs. You should constantly be looking for ways to combat ad fatigue.

How to recognize ad fatigue

There are three metrics that you need to keep an eye on in order to recognize ad fatigue:

  • Frequency - Look out for increased ad frequency since it often marks the beginning of ad fatigue.
  • Click-through rate (CTR) - Another metric that can help you notice ad fatigue is click-through rate. Ad fatigue will often be marked by a slow decline in CTR.
  • Cost-per-action - When your average cost-per-action starts to increase, you might be dealing with ad fatigue.

If you’re using a large daily ad budget, ad fatigue can kick in within three to four days. On the other hand, campaigns with a smaller ad budget might go on for a couple of weeks before experiencing the effects of ad fatigue.

The timeframe in which you’ll start experiencing ad fatigue also depends on the size of your audience. If not optimized, every campaign will eventually experience ad fatigue.

Try new creatives

The creative is the first thing that the audience notices about your ad. It’s what grabs their attention and makes them interact with your ad. Here are some changes you can make to refresh your ad creative:

Change the format -  A simple change you can make is to try using a different ad format. E.g. if you’re using a single image ad, switch to carousel ads.

Use video instead of an image - If you’re using images in your ad creative, try converting those images into a slideshow and use the video as the creative instead. You might also want to try using a GIF image as your ad creative.

Change the colors - Try using a different set of colors for your creative. Research shows that people’s assessment of products is often based exclusively on colors. With that said, try to avoid using Facebook’s blue-and-white color scheme so your ad doesn’t blend into the rest of the newsfeed.

There are many elements that need to be considered when choosing an ad creative. A good creative is:

  • Relevant and practical - Your creative needs to be relevant to your ad copy. You should also try to use images which show people using your product.
  • Bright and eye-catching - Use bright colors and images that can grab users’ attention more easily. Make sure that the images you use look great in all sizes, from small to large.
  • Simple and genuine - Avoid using images that have too much going on. Try not to use stock photos as your ad creative and opt for using images that seem more natural and genuine instead.
  • High-resolution - Make sure to find a high-resolution version of the image you’re going to use in your ad.
  • Without text - Leave the text for your ad copy and avoid placing it on images.

Change the copy

Another way to deal with ad fatigue is to refresh your ad by changing its copy. The four main elements of the copy are the headline, the main copy text, the offer, and the length. You should experiment with changing all four and see what works best:

Headline - Consider changing your headline to include a question, a call-to-action, or the name of your brand. You might also want to experiment with using emotional trigger words and words with high Emotional Marketing Value in your headline. When it comes to headline length, shorter headlines usually provide the best results.

Main copy text - Try varying your main copy text to reduce the effects of ad fatigue. Remember to address your audience directly and include a single call-to-action that makes it very clear what action you want them to take. Use simple language and check your ad copy with the Hemingway Editor to make sure it is easy to understand.

Offer - Try changing the specific offer you’re making to your audience. For example, if you’re offering a discounted trial of your service, try offering the service for free.

Length - If you’re using long copy, shorten it to one sentence. If, on the other hand, your copy is very short, try expanding it.

When writing ad copy, you should try to:

  1. Spark curiosity - You need to find a balance between making your copy too vague and revealing too much. If your copy is too vague, it won’t spark people’s interest. On the other hand, if your copy is too revealing, it won’t push people to click on the ad and try to learn more about your offer.
  2. Instill a sense of urgency - Creating a sense of urgency with your copy can make people experience FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) and prompt them to take action. Including limited time offers in your ad copy is a great way to create a sense of urgency and encourage people to purchase from your business as soon as possible.

Target new audiences

If your audience is tired of seeing your ads, your ads might also be suffering from audience overlap. Audience overlap occurs when the same people are members of two or more different audiences in your campaign. It increases your advertising costs and essentially makes you compete against yourself while bidding for clicks.

Audience overlap also causes ad fatigue by showing the same people multiple ads from your campaign. There are two things you can do to fix audience overlap:

  • Move overlapping ads into the same ad set - Join ads with overlapping audiences into the same ad set to prevent them from competing with each other.
  • Change targeting - Refine your audiences by excluding certain interests, behaviors, or demographics until you reduce the overlap.

Here are some other things you might want to try in order to combat ad fatigue:

Break down a broad audience into smaller segments - Break down your main audience into smaller segments and serve each segment a different version of the ad. You can segment audiences using a variety of criteria such as geographic location, demographics, behavior etc.

Stop marketing to people who’ve already made a purchase - This makes sense if your product offering is very small and/or consists of products which are usually only bought once (e.g. mattresses). Create a custom audience of people who have purchased from your business and exclude it from your campaign’s targeting to stop showing your ad to people who have already engaged with that specific ad.

Target a lookalike audience - A lookalike audience is an audience that consists of people who have similar traits to people in another audience. Try creating a lookalike audience from a list of your existing or previous customers.

Rotate audiences for ads - While your audience will probably get tired quickly from seeing the same ad every day, chances are they won’t mind seeing a different ad from the same company. You should strive to rotate audiences for ad sets every three to four days.

Bonus

We’ve prepared two additional tips to help you reduce combat fatigue:

Rotate ad schedule - Schedule your ads to be displayed on different days of the week. This will allow you to show your audience a different ad every day.

Change campaign objective - Instead of trying to sell a product or service with your ad, shift the objective of your campaign to creating and nurturing a relationship with your audience. You can do this by using ads to offer your audience something they might value, for free. (e.g. information-rich blog posts and guides, ebooks, tools, videos etc.)

Conclusion

To summarize, there are a number of things you can do to combat ad fatigue. These include:

  • Changing the format of your ad
  • Using videos instead of images
  • Changing the colors of your ad
  • Modifying your ad's headline, main copy, offer or copy length
  • Breaking down your broad audience into smaller, more defined segments
  • Excluding people who've already made a purchase from your audience
  • Targeting lookalike audiences
  • Rotating ad audiences
  • Rotating ad schedule
  • Changing campaign objective

When changing your ads to combat ad fatigue, make sure to only change one element at a time. If you’re changing the ad image, leave the copy intact (and vice versa). Changing multiple elements at the same time can make proper A/B testing almost impossible.

You should also monitor your ads daily so you can notice ad fatigue in time and take the necessary steps to reduce its effects on the performance of your campaign.