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How to avoid Ad Fatigue on Paid Social [Hacks + Strategy]

“Seriously, this ad again? Ugh.”

That’s pretty much how users feel when they see the same ad over and over again.

But it doesn’t just annoy users. They become bored and ignore the brand outright, developing an acute case of ad fatigue.

This effect occurs when users see the same ad repeatedly, while creative fatigue represents the tiredness of seeing the same visual element from an ad.

Ad fatigue can result in a higher cost per result, lower CTR, and engagement. Now, with the new privacy laws and bidding farewell to cookies, ad fatigue is only getting worse. 

If you recognize the signs of ad fatigue, you’ll need to deliver fresh creatives that will reengage your audience. And if you stick around, we’ll share a creative production and ad distribution strategy to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

How to measure prevalence of ad repetition

Usually, advertisers  keep an eye on the following metrics to recognize ad fatigue:

  • Ad Frequency –  since it often marks the beginning of fatigue.
  • Click-through rate (CTR) – 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.

What usually comes up as a failure is measuring only frequency, because of two problems:

1) frequency is measured on the ad/ad set/campaign level, while creative fatigue happens at the creative level

2) frequency isn't always the relevant metric, because it presents an average effect over a period of time.

That's why a holistic approach must be taken.

If you use a large daily ad budget while showcasing the same creatives, 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. 

Ad fatigue on Facebook & Instagram

Creative fatigue on Facebook

Ad fatigue occurs when your audience has seen the same ad too many times. Facebook can warn you even before you publish your ad if there’s a chance ad fatigue can occur in the first 7 days.

And after your campaign is active, you might see a Creative Limited or Creative Fatigue in the delivery column. 

Creative Limited = When your cost per result is more than your past ads but less than 2x as much

New cost per result < 2x past ads 

Ad Fatigue = When cost per result is more than or equal to 2x past ads

New cost per result >= 2x past ads

8 Hacks to combat Instagram and Facebook ad fatigue

What works for one campaign may not necessarily work for another, but there are several hacks that can be implemented quickly:

  1. Exclude people who have already purchased or visited your website in the last 30 days;
  2. Exclude fans of your page depending on where they are in your Facebook Ad funnel;
  3. Decrease budget for high-frequency ad sets;
  4. Run 4 to 8 ads with different creatives in an ad set and leave them all on. When your audience is fatigued by one, Facebook will start optimizing towards the others;
  5. Show ads on a schedule;
  6. Create ad sets for each placement and don’t use ‘Automatic Placements’ when targeting larger audiences. Facebook will optimize the best performing placement and allocate funds there.
  7. Use Dynamic Creative
  8. Try Dynamic Experiences

You need to keep testing over time to see what works best for you and how you can keep your costs low and increase returns.

The Hunch Creative Studio is there to assist you in easily tackling all creative production challenges impacting performance. From effectively combating creative ad fatigue to proactive alignment of performance, scale, and creative excellence, the Studio offers unparalleled image and video editing capabilities.

Also, we’ve done a full deep dive here: How to combat Ad Fatigue using Dynamic Creative on Social (+DPA playbook)

Creative fatigue on TikTok

Audiences on TikTok experience creative fatigue much faster than Facebook or Instagram users.

And that makes sense when you account for how the platform capitalizes on short attention spans and the endless need for fresh content. 

But given how popular the platform is for e-Commerce brands, TikTok is still worth spending your advertising dollars on. If you’re low on creative ideas, we’ve analyzed some of the best TikTok ads.

Dealing with creative repetition on TikTok

TikTok’s blog suggests refreshing creatives every 7 days at least. And that does seem like a lot. 

But remember, you don’t always have to use new creatives. You can also try unique hooks and angles instead and keep the same video.

Like Facebook, TikTok also offers a method to optimize creatives automatically - Automated Creative Optimization (ACO). And it pretty much works the same way as Facebook’s Dynamic Creative. 

But if you’re hard-pressed for time (and let’s admit it, video editing is no joke), TikTok also offers a feature called Smart Video - a way to efficiently design your creatives.

If you’re not using ACO, consider using diverse creatives when you start running a campaign. The huge differences in the creatives are especially helpful when you’re testing the waters. Add more creatives after you cross the learning phase (50 conversions.)

Creative tiredness on Snapchat

Snapchat ad fatigue

Like TikTok, Snapchat advertisers report creative fatigue is far higher than Facebook or Instagram.

Snapchat’s blog also talks about another negative result of users seeing the ad over and over again - they may proactively speak out against an advertiser publicly.

But just like TikTok, Snapchat’s user base is mostly Gen Z. In fact, it is slightly more popular than TikTok for Gen Z.

Dealing with ad fatigue on Snapchat

Snapchat offers some out-of-the-box solutions to beat ad fatigue: 

  • A/B testing - Snapchat offers split testing that lets you test 4 variables - ad creative, targeted audience, ad placement, and advertiser goal
  • Dynamic ads - Like other platforms, Snapchat lets you run dynamic ads. Once you connect your Product Catalog and install the Snap Pixel, you can create personalized creatives.

If you don’t opt for these solutions, best practices include using a bunch of creatives for each ad and refreshing those creatives very often. You should also rotate your ads.

3 more hacks to kill ad fatigue

Your creative may not be the reason your audience experiences ad fatigue.

Both Meta and TikTok place a huge emphasis on creative fatigue. Yet, if your campaigns are experiencing ad fatigue it might be due to the banner blindness or because shoppers saw your offer way too many times.

BTW, have you read our The Ultimate Guide to Paid Social Advertising?

Hack 1: Change your ad’s background

Yes, this is tiptoeing in the “make changes to your creative” camp but hear us out. 

Instead of changing your creative, try switching up the background color. Seeing the same color can cause banner blindness. Just like you associate the iconic red with Coca-Cola or the familiar orange and black with Netflix, audiences can spot a brand’s ad in seconds.

Perfume ad examples
Forget about ads with white background.

It might seem counterintuitive to all the branding principles you’ve learned about how familiarity increases awareness. But that’s when you need to stick out like a sore thumb (in a good way), you want to be disruptive.

If you’re looking for more than just average results for your creative, check out Hunch’s AI Background Removal and how it can help you ditch dull backgrounds.

Hack 2: Run a new offer

Is your offer attractive to your audience? Will they actually buy from you? Have you tested it?

If you don’t say heck yes to each of those questions, consider switching up your offer before your design and copy team start pulling all-nighters to refresh creatives.

Before launch:
Work on a hypothesis based on your ICP. Test it against a small budget first. If the early conversions look good, then pull the trigger.

After launch:
If you see ad fatigue setting in, change your offer first. Perhaps offer a better discount or make the benefit of your product super clear. Talk to customers that did buy from you to understand what made them click. Apply those learnings to your campaign.

Hack 3: Schedule, rotate and set a frequency cap

You probably already know this, but it bears repeating. Be strategic about your ad schedule.

If you’re selling coffee and your target audience includes working professionals, then you might want to show your ad early morning and especially on Sunday and Monday when most people complain of Sunday scaries and Monday blues, respectively.

You can also set up indefinite ad rotation, so your audience isn’t constantly getting bombarded with your ad. 

And finally, set a frequency cap. You can limit the number of times a specific ad or ad sets appear on your consumer’s feed.

Creative automation: Beat creative fatigue on autopilot

We won’t lie to you. Trying to deal with creative fatigue is a full-time job. 

Even though all ad platforms offer some type of native solution to deal with this phenomenon, you still need to produce creatives to begin. And the problem gets bigger as you scale.

An advertiser spending $100k per month needs 10 times as many creatives as an advertiser who spends $10k.

Why? The larger the budget, the further the reach; the further the reach, the quicker everyone has seen your ads, and the fatigue sets in.

Pumping out 20 new creatives to replace that one high-performing creative after 3-4 days is by no means a pace anyone can easily keep up with. Not to mention, it’s expensive.

What if you could prevent creative fatigue from happening in the first place?

With automated creative production, you can.

Creative automation is generating many creatives using your catalog so that social platforms can then serve them to the audience most likely to engage.

At Hunch, we help agencies like you turn your data into high-performing ads and show you how to do it on auto-pilot. 

If you don’t have the resources to produce creatives at scale, Hunch is the answer. Our advertising experts dive deep in your products or service and comprehend your goals to turn them into aesthetically pleasing on-brand creatives.  

Plus, all those native solutions like dynamic creative, ad rotation and scheduling? You can do all that on Hunch without ever leaving the platform.

Want us to help you combat creative fatigue? Book your FREE strategy call.