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The Right Way to Fight Ad Fatigue

| April 30, 2024 | By

Ad fatigue can be a nuisance for everyone involved. Whether you’re creating them or taking them in, out in the wild, seeing the same campaigns over and over can be both disheartening and boring.

This is, of course, a lose-lose situation. (Imagine pouring resources into a campaign only to watch its effectiveness wane as your audience's eyes glaze over the once-captivating creative.) 

Common solutions, such as rotating ads or capping frequencies, can help. But if stubborn ad fatigue sneaks in, you may need to go beyond surface-level fixes.


What Is Ad Fatigue 

Ad fatigue is a potentially serious situation in which your audience becomes so familiar with your ads that they completely blend into their environments. Your potential customers then start ignoring your creative. This leads to decreased clicks, lower engagement, and a drop in overall campaign performance. 

Think of it like hearing your favorite song on repeat until it fades into the background. Perhaps it was once compelling. Now, it’s just part of the noise.

It’s also an advertiser’s worst nightmare. Which begs the question: How does this happen—and how can you stop it from happening? 

Change Blindness and Frequency Capping

While there are many reasons for ad fatigue, overexposure is the most common factor. This makes sense: If you show the same ad too many times to the same group, it’ll become repetitive (and then annoying). 

Eventually, that ad will become so familiar that it’ll become invisible to those familiar with it. This is due to a phenomenon called “change blindness.” The consumer’s brain is seeking novelty, and since a frequently seen ad doesn’t deliver, the consumer won’t register seeing it. 


Common Solutions to Ad Fatigue and Their Limitations 

If you think ad fatigue is impacting you, your creative, and your ad dollars, there are a couple of established solutions you should consider implementing.

Rotating Your Creative

Rotating your creative involves systematically switching up the messages, visuals, or overall creative approach of your ads after a certain number of impressions or a specific amount of time. This should help maintain audience engagement. 

However, while this method can result in a renewed spark of interest, it doesn’t necessarily sustain campaign performance indefinitely. Even rotation will, eventually, become expected. 

Implementing Frequency Capping

With frequency capping, ad professionals aim to limit how often an individual sees an ad in a certain time frame. By setting a cap, advertisers can theoretically prevent their audience from becoming oversaturated with the same message. This can mitigate potential fatigue. 

Like rotation, this method has limitations. Frequency capping doesn’t meet the brain’s need for novelty. Just capping the number of times your audience sees your ad won’t stop those ads from becoming essentially invisible over time.


A Strategic Approach to Combat Ad Fatigue

If neither creative rotation nor frequency capping really solves your problem, what’s next? 

It’s time to take a more strategic, holistic look at your creative. 

The Importance of Continuous Experimentation

Constantly and seriously experimenting with the type of creative you use in your ads can be a strong shield against ad fatigue. Regularly infusing your campaigns with visually unique, ultrapersonalized creative keeps the audience engaged and curious. (It’s also more interesting for your creative team.) 

Beyond Small Tweaks: Embracing Bold Changes

Minor adjustments to your existing ads might seem like a quick fix, but small efforts will likely have a small impact on your audience’s attention. Instead, focus on bolder, more innovative changes to your ads. Test groundbreaking concepts; step out of your comfort zone! 


Practical Steps to Fight Ad Fatigue

These strategies can sound very nice, but when it comes time to create your next campaign, how can you implement them in your workflow? 

To keep your advertising fresh and engaging, here’s what we recommend. 

  • Schedule sessions explicitly for creative testing. Incorporate the exploration of new ad concepts into your team’s weekly or monthly routine. 
  • Track and analyze the performance of your ads. Use ad analytics to see which campaigns are resonating with your audience and for how long. This will help you understand what you need to amplify or change in your creative. As you release new concepts, use further data to see what’s working and what you may need to rethink.
  • Encourage and reward bold ideas from your team! Push your team to think outside the box. When someone shows signs of experimentation or innovation, commend them (even if the idea isn’t quite what you’re looking for). Then, when it seems possible and strategic, take a chance to see how the ad performs. You can always take it down and replace it later. 

With these strategies, ad fatigue can be a challenge that your team is ready to tackle. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we get it. At Innervate, we’re constantly brainstorming and creating solutions to help you make dynamic, creative ad strategies much more accessible. Ready to keep your content fresh and your audiences captivated? Reach out to our team today, and we’ll help you get started.

Click to read the guide, "Transform your CX with the power of AI."

Infographic: 4 Solutions for Overcoming Your CX Challenges