If your marketing team is feeling exhausted by the volume of campaigns, they're not alone.

Ad fatigue — the feeling people get after a digital ad follows them everywhere they go online — has set in for consumers. Now is the time for marketers to use analytics to prevent people from reaching this state. 

Ad fatigue reflects how pervasive digital advertising has become. The rise of remarketing ads, combined with a plethora of ad options for content and placement, has raise the likelihood that marketers oversaturate their intended audience with a marketing message. 

While people have some control over their online experiences, accepting ad messages in return for certain conveniences or services, the ubiquity of screens makes it possible to dull even the most straightforward message. The result is negative sentiment toward the product, service and / or brand behind the ad.

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How to Recognize Ad Fatigue

So how can marketers recognize ad fatigue? The major digital ad platforms are taking different measurement approaches to help marketers recognize fatigue earlier in a campaign. For example, Facebook has established a custom metric in its ad manager: frequency. Frequency represents the number of times someone has seen an ad. The metric can be selected to appear as a column in the ad manager, giving the marketers a means to compare saturation levels across campaigns. 

A high ad frequency rate, say two times or more, indicates more impressions of an ad are being served to entice an ad viewer to click. Thus a rise of impressions per click means the ad message may be working harder to appeal to a viewer to take action. Other symptoms of ad fatigue can include a declining click-through-rate, and an increasing cost per action during the campaign.

Learning Opportunities

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How to Fix Ad Fatigue

Tactics to solve ad fatigue vary according to the advertising platform. Clear segmentation of an ad audience by age, geography or behaviors is the first step. Another is to rotate the ad message every few days. Marketers using social ads can switch out a variety of images or video when creating ads.  

Capturing fatigue performance means evaluating options in the analytics platform key that supports campaign activity. If Facebook analytics is central in a measurement stack, marketers can add a Facebook Pixel to the main site or app so that ad performance can be compared against the site conversions that results from the ad. Facebook Pixels are a relatively easy to install way of tracking website activity.  

For marketers using Google Analytics, examining cost reports can provide a similar comparison based on campaign Return of Advertising Spend (ROAS). Its value in an ad fatigue analysis is allowing campaign cost data to be imported and charted within the report. This means it is possible to import ad campaign data from other sources such as Bing, Twitter and Facebook, to allow comparison of the return on advertising spend among the campaigns to note changes.

Ad fatigue is a relatively new phenomenon, with research on the subject just emerging. But given the usage of ad-blockers among consumers, marketer do not need too much research to learn that marketing messages must be issued with care. Marketers should include ad fatigue as part of an analytics plan to keep customer engagement and campaign ROI high, as well as to protect the brand integrity of a product or service.