Whether we like it or not, we’ve all been fatigued by advertisements. Whether it’s the ugly billboard you see day after day on your commute to work or the pop-up to “take advantage of the CAR SALE before it’s TOO LATE!” that keeps appearing when you’re reading the news online. You don’t even have your license, but yet these people are still trying to force you to buy a crappy car. Ugh.

What Is Ad Fatigue?

“Ad fatigue” happens when your audience becomes overly familiar with your ads, gets bored of them, and stops paying attention. Ad fatigue causes your ad campaigns to become less effective over time, hurting your ROI.

There comes a point that marketers need to confess to the fact that they’re exhausting their audience and turning them off rather than delightfully chauffeuring them down the funnel. In fact your funnel has a lot of escape holes if you’re poorly serving the same ad over and over again to the same audience.

Ad fatigue dog sleeping

Don’t sweat it! If you’re paying to play on search, social, or both, here are three insanely easy things you can do to ensure you’re not turning off your audience.

#1: Change the Background of Your Image Ads

Do you ever need a vacation? Well, your audience does too! We all need a change of scenery from time to time because when we’re exposed to the same visuals over and over again we stop noticing them.

Display ads are particularly susceptible to ad fatigue because the same audience tends to see the same ad multiple times, especially with display remarketing.

“With one of our display campaigns we noticed a declining CTR,” says co-founder of Optmyzr, Frederick Vallaeys. “By simply changing the background color from yellow to blue, we were able to instantly restore our old CTR because the ads looked different and users started noticing them again.”

We do this all the time at WordStream. For instance, in the example below, by changing the mousepad from blue to red it instantly refreshed our ad and helped re-engage our previously fatigued audience.

Ad fatigue example

Simply swapping out your outdated and over-used image ads with a new background color is often enough to re-engage fatigued users that have stopped noticing your ads. It’s that easy!

#2: Keep Your Ads Fresh and Up-to-Date with Ad-Customizers

Ad customizers just turned 1 years old! Google released these babies in September of 2014, and they’ve really been a game-change for the active advertiser. Anyone who’s doing PPC and is unaware of ad customizers needs to open their eyes and embrace these gems, because they are truly the easiest way to keep yours ads fresh and relevant while creating a sense of urgency to entice your audience to click.

How do they work? Ad customizers dynamically update your ad with tailored messaging and time-sensitive calls to action. Do you have a limited-time offer or sale? You can use the countdown feature to let users know they only have 3 days left before it’s too late! Whether it be counting down to a one-time event, a recurring event, or inserting location-specific details, ad customizers are an easy, hands-off way of preventing ad fatigue.

Ad fatigue example of ad customizers

#3: Rotate Your Ads Indefinitely with an Ad Schedule

With display and social ads, it’s easy to be tempted by the ad rotation options to optimize for clicks or conversions, because who doesn’t want more of those? However, this allows Google or Bing to show the same ad many times to the same audience in a short period of time, which can lead to ad fatigue. You can combat that by choosing to rotate ads indefinitely:

Ad fatigue screenshot showing the rate indefinitely option

Along with indefinite rotation, you should ensure you’re only serving up ads during relevant times of the day and days of the week. This will vary depending on your business model, but if you’re a storefront that’s closed between 8:00 PM and 8:00 AM then you shouldn’t be showing the same ad that says “Come on by!” when you’re not open for business. The concept is simple, and for less obvious business models, determining an ad schedule doesn’t have to be done in the dark. Follow these guidelines to dig into the data to see when you’re getting the highest conversion rates, and then determine a beneficial ad schedule that will not lead to ad fatigue, but rather to higher returns.