November 22, 2021

The Secret to Beating Ad Fatigue (For Good)

When left unchecked, ad fatigue eats away at your campaign returns. Thankfully, there are creative strategies to minimize and even prevent this phenomenon.

Creative Fatigue

Ad fatigue is one of the most common and persistent challenges in modern marketing. This phenomenon occurs when users see ad creative too frequently, which ultimately leads to deteriorating campaign performance. Ad fatigue is a natural process, but if you detect it soon enough it’s possible to refresh your ad in advance — radically improving ROI in the process.

Diagnosing ad fatigue makes it far easier to head it off before it does too much damage to campaign performance. Let’s take a closer look at some effective strategies to counter fatigue when it does take place.


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To Beat Ad Fatigue, You First Need to Identify It

The Best Fatigue Defense is a Creative Offense

Why yellowHEAD Is the Ultimate Ad Fatigue Solution


To Beat Ad Fatigue, You First Need to Identify It

The first step of beating ad fatigue is to identify it. While the first signs of creative fatigue usually look like increasing CPA or decreasing ROI, those could just as easily signify a temporary dip in performance. Being able to recognize the difference between a momentary decrease and an ongoing downturn is crucial in combating ad fatigue.

The most effective way to detect fatigue is to look beyond impression volume to consider its relationship with other metrics. Click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates (CVR) are highly effective at identifying fatigue, and often paint the clearest picture of why it’s occurring. For example, if the CTR is low, marketers know that users aren’t engaging with the creative. But if the CTR is high and CVR is low, then audiences are engaging with creative but not the promoted product — which suggests the ad isn’t targeting the right audience. Other KPIs, such as ROI, FTD, or CP-FTD, may vary in importance depending on campaign goals and overall client needs. Marketers will need to consider any and all metrics that contribute to these objectives to ensure there are no abnormalities or irregularities in campaign performance.

Analyzing user engagement directly can also be helpful, particularly for social media ads. For example, comments and likes can tell you how audiences respond to creative, what elements they like or dislike, and whether the engagement is positive or negative. After all, if users leave comments about how much they hate a specific ad, that might explain why it has high engagement with low conversions!

With all this information, advertisers can make an informed decision on whether to keep, pause, or optimize ad creative. You may even choose to increase the budget or bid on higher-value placements.

The Best Fatigue Defense is a Creative Offense

Much like everyday health measures, it turns out fatigue is far easier to prevent than to treat. The secret to overcoming ad fatigue is to refresh your creative strategy before a problem ever emerges. There are a few ways marketers can accomplish this:

  • Get proactive about ad creative: Build one or two new creatives every week, even if fatigue isn’t occurring.
  • Diversify creative elements: Instead of putting everything into one campaign, branch out with diverse ad content and track performance for each sample.
  • Iterate creative elements: Design multiple versions of your creative to determine which iterations resonate with audiences. Those that perform well — during A/B testing or among general audiences — can gain additional focus or ad spend.
  • Mix up campaigns periodically: Design a few high-quality campaigns you can rotate through. While one ad is active, optimize the inactive campaigns using the techniques we described above.
  • Analyze performance with machine learning: It’s important to closely monitor performance throughout a campaign’s duration to identify ad fatigue before it occurs. Machine learning solutions are uniquely positioned to flag fatigue early and distinguish between a performance dip from the beginning of a fatigue trend.

Why yellowHEAD Is the Ultimate Ad Fatigue Solution

For most marketers, the ideal solution for ad fatigue is to embrace data-driven insights or human expertise. At yellowHEAD, we believe you need both. We use Alison — yellowHEAD’s creative analysis and ideation technology — to detect ad fatigue and ideate creative optimizations.

Alison can tell the difference between ad fatigue and a short-term performance decrease. It also takes the assessment a step further by analyzing which elements of the creative (characters, colors, animations, etc.) are impacting performance. Next, it interprets this data across three contexts:

  • Advertisement: How does creative performance compare to creative across campaigns for businesses in similar verticals?
  • Audience: How does creative perform across different target audiences?
  • Campaign: How do creative elements impact the overall campaign result?

Alison determines whether the ad content delivers enough impressions within each context to justify its continued use. But the analysis doesn’t stop there — the platform also weighs CTR and CVR to measure the relationship between ad impressions and user conversions. With this information, marketers can produce creative iterations that overcome fatigue and surpass the original ad’s performance.

Our expert team supplements the science with advertising artistry. Our team of strategists use their knowledge of your business to identify unique opportunities that aren’t visible in a data analysis alone. Our in-house design team yellowSTUDIO can optimize ad creative or rethink the original concept entirely. If we identify an unexpected audience, we can create variant campaigns to better target their demographic.

Beating ad fatigue for good demands ongoing, in-depth data analysis. The best results occur when pairing machine learning with human insight. With Alison and yellowHEAD’s creative experts, we can drive higher performance by ensuring users never have the opportunity to grow tired of your ad creative. Together, it’s possible to limit the impact of fatigue, if not prevent it altogether.


Looking to enhance your performance marketing campaigns? Get in touch with our team today to see first-hand how we drive brand growth.

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