Ad Fatigue: What Is It and How to Deal With It

We’ve all suffered from ad fatigue at some point or another. Don’t believe it? You know that repetitious YouTube ad you keep getting served and how annoying it’s become? That’s what we’re talking about.

Ad fatigue is a very prominent issue facing marketers and their target audience. So, how do you deal with it? How do you avoid ad fatigue when we live in a digital world with ad campaigns being launched practically every second?

In this post, we’ll walk through the main factors that are making the biggest impact on your advertising strategy and why they could be contributing to message overload with your audience – as well as how to detect when it kicks in and how to minimize ad fatigue.

Yaniv Masjedi
CMO, Nextiva

Their expertise has helped Nextiva grow its brand and overall business

Overcome Ad Fatigue

What Is Ad Fatigue?

Ad fatigue sets in when audiences see the same ads repeatedly, leading to decreased performance, higher costs-per-action (CPAs) and, worst of all, apathy or disgruntlement toward your brand.

Initially, an ad might perform well, with the data to prove it. But very few ads perform well after the first 7 days, and that’s where ad fatigue can start creeping in. The last thing you want for your audience is to pester them with the same repetitive ad that loses its luster after the fourth or fifth time a user sees it:

Graph showing where Ad Fatigue sets in

How do you know when users have actually had enough? Take a look at these specific metrics with each of your ads. They can reveal how jaded people are getting when they come in contact with your ads:

  • Increased Frequency of Ad Views: When the same individuals are repeatedly exposed to an advertisement, the frequency metric increases. This is an early warning sign of ad fatigue. It indicates that the target audience is becoming overly familiar with the content, potentially leading to disinterest.
  • Declining Engagement Ratios: Perhaps the biggest signal of ad fatigue is the changing ratio of impressions to clicks. Initially, an ad might receive a high number of clicks per impression, but as time passes and the audience becomes overexposed, this ratio tends to decrease. A downward trend in this ratio is a red flag, suggesting the ad’s decreasing appeal to its audience.
  • Lower Conversion Rates: Even if the audience clicks on the ad, a decreasing conversion rate is a significant sign of ad fatigue. It implies that while the ad can still attract attention, it’s losing its effectiveness in persuading the audience to take the desired action, be it a purchase, a subscription, or another form of conversion.

Strategies to Combat Ad Fatigue

To effectively counter ad fatigue, there are a few things you can do to curb the rate at which your audience is getting bored or even annoyed by your advertising campaigns’ repetitive ad placement.

Diversifying Creatives

The key to refreshing ad content lies in creating multiple variations and implementing ad rotation. This includes rotating through a diverse set of creatives, conducting A/B testing to determine what resonates best with the audience, and incorporating user-generated content for authenticity.

It’s a good idea to analyze competitors using ad transparency tools like LinkedIn’s Ad Library, Meta’s Ad Library, and Google’s Ad Transparency Center:

Study ad libraries to know the competition and avoid Ad Fatigue

A quick stroll through those systems will help you see exactly how many different variations of ads your competitors are currently running, which can help you realize if you need to up the ante on the variety of different creatives you’re serving.

You can also combat ad fatigue by trying out different ad formats:

  • Interactive ads like quizzes and polls engage audiences actively, making the experience more personal and less rote.
  • Video and rich media ads, with their dynamic storytelling and interactive elements, are highly engaging.

Additionally, shoppable ads streamline the buying process, enhancing user experience and conversion rates.

Remember, even a new ad format will become stale if served enough times.

That’s why the target you want to shoot for is a nice medley of ad formats that complement each other. Ideally, you want your ads to be diverse enough that after a user sees your video ad, the next time they come in contact with your brand, they’ll see a text ad, and then maybe a social ad, and then back to the video ad. The moment they see the same ad in the same format multiple times in a row is when ad fatigue will set in.

More Refined Targeting

Expanding the audience scope is a vital strategy to cure ad fatigue. This expansion can be efficiently executed by employing lookalike audiences, which helps in reaching individuals who share characteristics with existing customers, thereby potentially increasing the relevance and effectiveness of the ads.

Additionally, geo-targeting adjustments enable marketers to tailor their ad campaign based on local preferences and trends, making the ads more relatable and effective in different regions:

Facebook Ads article Location SG blog

Implementing intelligent frequency capping and audience segmentation is also essential. This approach allows for the exclusion or targeted engagement of specific groups, such as past converters or actively engaged viewers.

If you do this, you can avoid bombarding the same audience repeatedly, thus reducing the risk of ad fatigue. Moreover, this targeted approach ensures that the advertising efforts are concentrated where they are most likely to yield results.

Excluding Past Viewers and Converters

To help viewers avoid ad fatigue, you can also exclude past viewers and converters — basically, anyone who has already interacted with your offer or has exhibited clear signs that they aren’t interested and therefore have nothing to be gained by seeing your ad again (and will save you the cost in ad spend by not serving them multiple ads).

You can also dial in on frequency capping in your chosen ad platforms to ensure that users aren’t seeing your paid ads beyond a certain limit that you set, such as six times per day, for example:

Choose your frequency of ad placement to avoid Ad Fatigue

You want to strike the perfect balance here, though. Some people will take more than one or two ads for your offer to finally click with them, so you don’t want to cut off the ad frequency to early, as you could be depriving yourself of genuinely interested traffic that would benefit from a little more exposure to your ads.

Emotional, Logical and Credible Appeals

Balancing messaging in advertisements is key, and it may take some experimentation to find the right angle to swing with your ad creative.

Creating ads that forge an emotional connection through storytelling or humor, contrasted with logical, data-driven arguments and a dash of authority through experience, can appeal to a broader audience spectrum:

To avoid Ad Fatigue create ads with emotion and imagination

Depending on your audience, it’s worth developing variations of your dynamic ads, native ads or any other ad placements that carry an emotional, logical and credible offer and gauging which of them is capturing the audience’s attention for longer. If you detect one performs better than the other, then it’s in your best interest to start framing more of your future campaigns in that light.

Last Thoughts on Combating Ad Fatigue

Ad fatigue is an inevitable part of digital advertising, but it can be effectively managed so long as you keep a close eye on it. Realize that there’s a lot at stake when your audience suffers from being bombarded with increased ad frequency.

They’re not only detaching from your brand because they’re tired of seeing the same thing over and over again, but it can also lead to thinking that your brand is lazy with its constant ad exposure. On top of that, you’ll be wasting advertising dollars on an ad recipient who is veering further away from sympathizing with your brand versus further toward it.

Stay vigilant and adaptive to reduce ad fatigue so your audience doesn’t lose interest in your offerings. Watch your ad data closely, and react to the patterns you find. It doesn’t get any simpler than that!

If you’re ready to get the maximum return on your online ads with fresh ad creatives, Single Grain’s paid ads experts can help!👇

Overcome Ad Fatigue


For more insights and lessons about marketing, check out our Marketing School podcast on YouTube.

Ad Fatigue FAQs

  • How do I get rid of ad fatigue?

    To overcome ad fatigue, it’s crucial to refresh your ads frequently. Introduce new visuals, messages, or formats to maintain audience engagement and prevent the decline in response rates that occurs when ad fatigue sets in.

  • How do you calculate ad fatigue?

    Calculating ad fatigue involves monitoring key metrics such as click-through rates, engagement levels, and conversion rates over time. A consistent decline in these metrics can indicate that ad fatigue is occurring, prompting a need for ad content revision.

  • What is one way to mitigate ad fatigue?

    Ad fatigue occurs when a person sees the same ad on all ad channels across the internet. So a proven way to mitigate ad fatigue is to rotate your ads regularly. This approach prevents audiences from seeing the same ads repeatedly, thus helping to maintain interest and engagement.

If you were unable to find the answer you’ve been looking for, do not hesitate to get in touch and ask us directly.
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