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Ad Fatigue: How Long is Too Long for Your Campaign

Imagine getting on Facebook and seeing your friend’s post about her engagement at the top of your newsfeed every single time you open the app. You’d probably get annoyed at first, but then, over time, you would probably start scrolling past it without even thinking about it. You’re not thinking, “I wonder what she’s trying to say to me” or “I wonder if there’s anything new that she can tell me.” That’s how your target audience feels when they see the same ads for your business over and over for a long period of time. It’s called ad fatigue, and most small businesses are adapting behaviors and attitudes toward marketing initiatives that enable consumers to become fatigued by online marketing campaigns, as well as traditional media campaigns.

Let’s define what ad fatigue is, share why businesses should care, and give you tips and tricks for marketing campaign optimization and management so you can have high impact marketing campaigns in the future.

What is Ad Fatigue?

Before we get into the optimal length of a given marketing campaign, it’s important we define why length matters. Ad fatigue is a real thing, and it’s a growing pandemic. Getting consumers’ attention is a struggle in itself with so many messages being thrown at them daily, but keeping their attention is another thing to keep in mind while creating marketing creative.

Now imagine you get your consumer’s attention, and you keep it, but over the next few days, they see the same ad. Soon, they don’t even notice your ad is there. This is called ad fatigue. Ad fatigue is a problem that occurs when consumers become so familiar with an ad that the ad makes no impact on the consumer.

If you want to know the psychological reason why consumers fall to ad fatigue, read on. If you would rather just be told what to do, skip to the next section.

Psychological Explanation of Ad Fatigue

There is a psychological concept called inattentional blindness, and ad fatigue has been attributed to this. Scholarpedia says, inattentional blindness is “the failure to notice a fully-visible, but unexpected object because attention was engaged on another task, event, or object.”

Ad fatigue has also been attributed to repetition blindness, another psychological concept. While this is more related to repeated words being overlooked while reading, the same behavior is true for whenever an ad, whether digital or traditional, is seen time and time again. Our brains learn to block it out.


Your Business May Be a Victim of Ad Fatigue

How do you know if your business’s marketing campaign has fallen victim to ad fatigue? If it’s an online marketing campaign, look at ad metrics. If your engagement, click-through rate, and impressions are dropping while the ad spend and targeting stays the same, that’s a sign consumers aren’t interested in your ad anymore.

Also beware of high frequency when looking through your ad’s performance. High frequency means that the same group of people are seeing your ad too many times. Many platforms have a frequency cap where you can adjust how many times one person can see your ads in a certain time frame. We recommend keeping frequency around 2 times per week.

If you’re managing a traditional campaign, like print ads, billboards, and TV commercials, you may be able to see your ad’s effectiveness by looking at your web traffic. If your web traffic spiked when your ads were released but now has leveled out or even dropped, that’s a hint that your consumers have ad fatigue toward your campaign.

With traditional media campaigns, it is harder to pinpoint the effectiveness of ads, but “a good rule of thumb is to refresh your creative at least once every three months” or every quarter.

Why Does Ad Fatigue Matter?

Wondering why your business should care about ad fatigue? I mean, at least you have some marketing out there, right? Wrong.

Ultimately, the purpose of advertising and building ad campaigns is to gain new customers and to retain current customers. Therefore, if you’re overusing your ads and viewers are tuning them out, then your ads aren’t effective, and they aren’t fulfilling their sole purpose.

Ad fatigue results in wasted money, and it can actually hurt your brand reputation. If viewers are getting annoyed by your ads or tuning you out, then their view of your brand could be damaged. Which ultimately results in low sales opportunity and less trust in your product or service.

Ad receptiveness amongst consumers drops about 28% when the consumer doesn’t trust the company fully compared to when the consumer does have trust in the business. That means that you have 28% less of a chance to influence your consumer and to move them through the sales funnel.

It’s time to update your ad creative and messaging to effectively reach your target audience. Let’s talk about creating high impact marketing campaigns!marketing-campaign-optimization-adsmith

How Long Should a Marketing Campaign Last?

So how long is too long to run a marketing campaign? Like we said before, a good rule of thumb is to change out creative every three months or once every quarter. This ensures that messaging is relevant to what your business is trying to communicate and promote. It also ensures that consumers are given fresh messaging and creative consistently.

Consumers will be able to see new sides of your business as you communicate new messages. They’ll be able to construct a more accurate voice and image of your brand. When consumers can confidently say what a business does and who they are, their trust in the business grows as well.

Tips for Marketing Campaign Management and Optimization

Consistently updating and optimizing your marketing campaign will help increase your engagement, click-through rates, conversion rates, and consumer trust with your brand! We are going to give you a few tips to consider as you analyze the impact of your current marketing campaign.

1.   Research Your Consumer

At ADsmith, we always start here, no matter the marketing objectives your business is trying to reach nor the marketing initiatives you think your business needs. Marketing research is vital to the success of any marketing campaign, especially when you’re updating creative and messaging regularly.

One way to research your target audience’s consumer behaviors is to conduct a focus group. ADsmith conducts focus groups for our clients to test different creative, messaging, and even website designs and layouts to make sure we are reaching the target audience and keeping their interest.

If you are interested in discovering what your target customer has to say about your brand and your current marketing initiatives, we are ready to develop questions, test creative, and analyze the results to create an action plan for your website and more with our focus group services!

You’ll be surprised at what you learn from your target consumer in just two hours. You may find that your current or past ad campaigns were never reaching your target market effectively.

Another way you can research your market for marketing campaign optimization is to stay up to date on current trends and know current consumer habits for your industry. How is your target market interacting with the digital world? How does your target market move through the sales funnel? The data is out there to help direct your next marketing campaign.

2.   Set Clearly Defined Goals

Once you know the condition of the market you’re trying to reach, the next step is to set clearly defined goals for your marketing campaign.

What do you want consumers to do when they see your ads? What is the objective of your ad campaign?

Then write down how you can practically get consumers to take the desired action with messaging and with creative. This may take some brainstorming amongst the team too.

3.   Analyze Your Metrics

If you have a current online marketing campaign running, we recommend looking at the performance of the campaign. Take a look at metrics like CTR, impressions, quality score, and engagement.

If any of these metrics show a gradual decrease, it may be time to update your ads. If you’ve been running a campaign for three months or more and you’re still seeing good performance in those areas, you’re not totally in the clear. We still recommend updating your ads because you’re at risk of pushing consumers into ad fatigue.

Consumers may be taking action, but is your messaging outdated or irrelevant? Could you improve the messaging to get the viewer to take further action? There’s always room for optimization in any area of marketing.

4.   Implement Change

Once you’ve researched the market and your target audience, set defined goals, and have analyzed current campaign metrics, it’s time to implement change. Update the creative being used on digital ads, produce a new TV commercial, update your billboard ad that’s been up for 6 months, and start developing new messaging to attract your target consumer more effectively.

The ultimate goal of marketing is to increase sales and to retain current customers. How can you do so with an outdated, stale ad campaign? Kick ad fatigue to the curb by being proactive and intentional with your creative and messaging.

Marketing Campaign Management with ADsmith

We know this is a lot to take in and consider. ADsmith Marketing & Advertising is a full-service agency, equipped to help you manage and optimize your digital and traditional marketing campaigns.

ADsmith has the experience and knowledge to break down your metrics and website traffic to clearly show you the impact of your ad campaign, and if what you’re doing isn’t working, we can assist you in building a new marketing strategy to engage your target audience with your brand.

We’ve created and implemented many new ad campaigns for clients, and with the experience and skills of our team, we are efficient in doing so.

Contact us today and we will show you how all our marketing services combine to create the ultimate marketing campaign service offering. We’ll help you avoid ad fatigue, so you can continue to grow your business with high impact marketing campaigns.