Ad fatigue is a bit like that feeling when you've heard the same song on the radio a hundred times in a day. Well, in the world of advertising, ad fatigue is a similar concept. Imagine you're scrolling through your social media feed, and you keep seeing the same ad over and over. At first, it might catch your attention and make you curious, but after seeing it repeatedly they will start to get bored and lose interest. 

That's ad fatigue!

It happens when people get tired of seeing the same ad, and it stops having the impact it once did. It's like your audience saying, "Okay, we've seen this a million times; show us something new!"

Ad fatigue taps into the natural behaviour of humans wanting to seek variety and novelty. As social beings, we're wired to be curious and interested in new things. When we repeatedly see the same content, like ads, our brains can become less responsive to it because it's no longer seen as interesting. It's a bit like when you hear the same joke over and over, it becomes less funny each time.


Now we understand what ad fatigue is let’s talk about the potential impact this can have on your ads and your brand.

  • Decreased ad engagement - Your audience may start to ignore the ad and scroll past it as they have seen it too many times 
  • Lower click-through rate (CTR) - As fewer people will click on the ad your CTR will likely decrease 
  • Wasted ad budget - If people aren’t engaging with the ad then it should not be running
  • Brand perception - If the audience sees a repeated ad constantly it can make the brand seem annoying and boring, which no brand would want.  



You know you’ve hit ad fatigue when your performance metrics take a bit of a dive, think CTR and engagement rates. A high frequency can show signs of fatigue, as you are showing the same user the ad multiple times. According to Facebook's best practice, the frequency should ideally be around 1-2 a week. 

Also, if you look at the ad data regularly you should trust your gut and don’t wait for ad fatigue to hit, keep testing new creatives to keep messaging fresh and engaging. 



Now let’s get into the reason you are likely reading this blog, what can you do to keep the audience interested? 

Rotate your creatives - Change up your creatives by rotating the images and ad copy. Focus on your best-performing ads, refresh the creatives and pause low-performing ads. 

There are a few simple ways to keep your creatives fresh:

  • Mix up the formats that are being used, for example, if you’re running single-image ads you can turn these into carousels or a slideshow video
  • Embrace the A/B test approach of trying different types of creatives and visuals, for example, if you’re running an image with text overlay try changing the background image
  • Get creative and have fun with how you deliver your message/offer
  • Test different benefits and emotions to connect with the audience
  • Play with diverse colours, fonts, or styles to grab the eye

You aren’t alone, you can use AI to help create new creatives, check out how we used AI to create our own AI visual profile for inspiration on how to use ChatGPT. 

Refresh targeting - Target new audiences who haven’t seen your ad yet so it’ll be fresh to them. Expand targeting to wider audiences who are relevant to your campaign, you can also build out a lookalike audience from those users who have engaged we can map out new users with similar interests. 

Limit ad frequency - As we mentioned above the ideal ad frequency is 1-2 a week, so keep an eye on this figure by adding in frequency caps. 

Try new channels - If you have strict audience targeting and you feel you’ve exhausted this on one channel it may be time to look across other channels where your audience may be, do not be afraid to test, part of paid media is to test & learn about what works for your brand. 

Keep in mind that you don’t overdo it and run too many ads that can overwhelm the audience. Your KPI and goals of the campaign are important to not lose sight of.  


Key Takeaways

Let’s go back to the song analogy, measuring ad fatigue is a bit like making sure your favourite song doesn't become annoying by playing it on repeat. Ad fatigue results from audiences getting bored of seeing the same ad, causing decreased engagement, lower click-through rates, budget wastage, and a dull brand image. You can spot this when performance metrics dip and ad frequency climbs. 

To keep things fresh, rotate ad creatives, change up formats, A/B test, experiment with visuals and messaging, and even leverage AI for creatives. Refresh your targeting, limit ad frequency to 1-2 times a week, and explore new channels, but always strike the right balance to meet campaign goals without overwhelming your audience. 

If you want some support spicing up your ads, get in touch - we’d love to hear from you!




Far from your workaday Account Manager, Hannah strives to be your organisation’s representative within Reflect Digital. She brings a strategic mindset to all of her work, and works consultatively with her clients to ensure that, together, they can find the way to take their digital marketing to the next level, and smash their targets. She also ensures all of the Reflect’s teams are aligned, prepared and organised to give her clients the best experience.

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