What is ad fatigue?


What is ad fatigue?

No ad campaign can run forever. But how do you know when it’s time to move on? It’s not a question with one straightforward answer. Instead, you’ll have to make an honest assessment of your marketing goals and metrics to make a decision. If you don’t, you’ll run into the dreaded problem of ad fatigue. 

So, what exactly is ad fatigue?

As the name suggests, ad fatigue occurs when your audience has seen your ad so many times, they grow tired of it. You could have the best ad in the world, but eventually your audience will stop paying attention, rendering the ad ineffective. Generally speaking, this problem can only realistically be solved by making new creatives or starting a new campaign. 

Think of it from the audience’s perspective. If you’ve seen the same exact ad 20 times and not taken action, why would the 21st time be any different? Most likely, by then, you’ve stopped paying attention. Or even worse, you’re actively annoyed. (Who hasn’t seen that obnoxious TV commercial and changed the channel just to avoid it?) 

Here’s what you need to know about ad fatigue: 

Ad fatigue statistics

• A whopping 91% of people are of the opinion that ads are more intrusive these days.
• Similarly, 87% believe that there are just more ads now than there used to be.
• The average person sees an estimated 4,000 – 10,000 ads per day. (Sounds like that 87% was onto something!)
• It should come as no surprise, then, that 83% of people want to cut down on noise by filtering out intrusive ads. 


Though it’s important to keep them in mind, don’t let those numbers alarm you too much. It may be difficult to avoid entirely, but ad fatigue can be kept to a minimum with a few simple tips.

How to avoid ad fatigue:

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1. Track campaign performance.

As you likely know, ad campaigns shouldn’t be set-it-and-forget-it. There’s a good chance you’re doing this anyway, but all the same: monitor your campaigns closely! Specifically, you’ll want to keep an eye on frequency and CTR.

Frequency will tell you how many times people are seeing your ad on average. As the frequency gets higher, you will likely see diminishing returns. There’s no hard and fast rule for how many times people should see your ad, but if your frequency starts creeping north of 10, you may want to adjust your campaign.
CTR is your click-through rate – basically, it’s the number of clicks your ad gets divided by the number of times your ad gets seen. If this number starts to tank, that’s a sure sign your ad is becoming less effective, because it means fewer people are taking the time to visit your site.

    an image showing people from different demographics

    2. Examine your audience.

    If you see a dip in performance, it might be worth taking a look at who exactly you’re targeting. Are your audience qualifiers leaving you with too small a group? If so, that group may be getting hit with your ad so many times that it has become noise to them. Targeting a very specific group can be great, as it can help you find a highly motivated audience, but you may need to consider casting a wider net or otherwise adjusting your parameters. That way, you can get your ad seen by fresh sets of eyes – and discover more about your target audience in the process. 

    a paintbrush and two pencils

    3. Refresh existing creatives.

    It’s all too easy for an ad to become so familiar, you don’t even really see it anymore. Luckily, it’s not hard to make something old seem new again by merely refreshing an element or two! If your ad was using a white background, consider making a version with a color that pops more. This doesn’t mean that you should suddenly use colors that are wildly off brand. (Unless, of course, you’re considering a dramatic brand pivot and are testing the waters – more on branding here.)  

    Here are some small things you could change that wouldn’t require making a whole new campaign: 

    • Social ad copy 
    • Colors 
    • Headline 
    • Imagery 
    • Call to action 


    If you’re starting to experience a dip in performance, ad fatigue may be the culprit – but there’s no need to panic! With these simple tips, you can ensure that fatigue is kept to a minimum and that your ads continue to provide a good ROI.

    Post wrap up

    Think your campaigns may be plagued by ad fatigue?