If you’ve ever run any Facebook advertising campaigns, you must have experienced the frustration that comes with Facebook ad fatigue – haven’t you?
Think of your last campaign.
You did everything just perfectly: identified the best target audience, found a product that exactly matches their needs, designed a stunning ad, and launched the campaign – you couldn’t feel more confident about it!
So you come back the next day, look into the ad reports and put a big smile on your face: you were right – the ad engagement is beyond any of your wildest expectations! But…
A few days later you check the ad reports again – and this time you’re not so happy… Instead of keeping those brilliant click-through rates and low cost per clicks, your ad campaigns’ results started to decline. For the same amount of money you spend, you’re receiving less and less clicks – and that just doesn’t any make sense!
“The ad was perfect!”, I hear you shout. “What am I doing wrong??…” *sigh*
Have you ever experienced this?..
I know I have. Multiple times. Day after day, campaign after campaign, again, and again.
And that, my friends, is the online disaster that’s keeping thousands, millions of us sleepless at night, and furious, frustrated at day – the cruel, heartless Facebook ad fatigue.
Lucky for you, there are some specific actions you can take to fight it. (Yay!)
In this article I’ll share the exact tactics that will help you slay this monster, or at least put a leash on it.
Shall we begin?
Scroll down or jump into what you need the most:
- Split the campaigns by placement,
- Adjust your budget and audiences,
- Rotate your ads,
- Rotate target audiences,
- Schedule your ad campaigns smartly,
- Choose Daily Unique Reach optimisation,
- Exclude audiences for link ads
What is Facebook Ad Fatigue:
Facebook ad fatigue or Facebook ad blindness, is the unavoidable phenomenon in Facebook advertising (any advertising, really), when people get tired of the ads and start to ignore them.
To put it simply – the first time the target audience saw your ad, they will be much more likely to click on it, especially if it’s something really useful to them. However, if you keep showing the same ad to the same person for a long period of time, he will quickly lose interest in it.
And that makes sense – we’re all experiencing it, even offline. The same way we can’t remember the majority of ads or brand signs we see every single day, the same way we’ll start to ignore unappealing ads on the internet.
Why should you care?
Because ad fatigue leads to higher advertising costs!
Let me repeat it – ad fatigue leads to higher advertising costs.
[Tweet “Facebook ad fatigue leads to much higher advertising costs, but you can fight it:”]
Even long before the Relevance Score was introduced, most Facebook advertisers agreed that higher click-through rates lead to lower advertising costs – after all, better ads will receive higher ad engagement, more clicks, and so will make more money to Facebook.
On the opposite, if your ad looks terrible, it will receive very little engagement, little clicks, and Facebook will ask you to pay up much more to get it shown to any audience.
Once the ad fatigue begins, you will notice a slow decline in click-through rates, and that will be an indicator to Facebook that your ads are becoming less attractive – the Relevance Score will go down as a result too.
What that means, is that if you don’t have any processes to combat Facebook ad fatigue and keep those click-through rates higher, you will need to spend increasingly more money just to maintain the same reach or amount of clicks – and we do not want that, do we?
So what can we do about it?
How to recognise Facebook Ad Fatigue:
What’s the first step to solving a problem? Identifying that you have one.
For that, you’ll need to get into a habit of checking Facebook ad reports.
[Tweet “Use Facebook Ad Reports to recognise ad fatigue:”]
Inside the Ad Reports, there are three most important metrics you’ll need to follow: Frequency, CTR (click-through rates), and cost per action (or cost per engagement).
Once you’re there, the most obvious signs of Facebook ad decay are:
- declining click-through rates,
- increasing cost per action,
- very high frequency.
And if you’ve set a daily budget for your ad sets, the effects of ad blindness will be even more obvious:
How to Fight Facebook Ad Fatigue:
Now that we know what ad fatigue is and how to recognise it in your advertising campaigns, it’s time we did something serious to deal with it.
So here are 7 ways to combat Facebook ad blindness. Some are easier to implement, others will require more attention and effort, but they will all contribute to you running much more successful and effective ad campaigns – this will result not only in a better investment of your advertising budget, but in a much better experience for your customers too!
And happy clients = more business, agree?
So let’s roll.
1. Split the campaigns by placement:
One of the biggest Facebook advertising mistakes, is to run your ads on all three placements, desktop news feed, mobile news feed, and desktop sidebar, at the same time.
You might know that already, but Facebook would automatically optimise your ad campaigns based on how different factors are performing.
So if you selected all the placements, Facebook would look into their individual performance, identify the best performing ad placement, and would slowly start pushing more money into it.
Because CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) or optimized CPM for sidebar ads is much, much lower than for any other placement, Facebook would often push more budget towards it. The problem with that, is that the frequency for sidebar ads goes insanely high and can contribute a lot to the ad fatigue.
If you really want to minimise the effect of Facebook ad fatigue, you should always split the campaigns by different placement and manage the spending accordingly.
2. Adjust your budgets and audiences:
Another common issue, is not having a balance between the size of the target audience and the allocated budget.
If the audience is too small and you are trying to spend a very large budget on it, the frequency of your Facebook ads will also increase by a lot.
In order to avoid it, you have to keep track of the frequency and make some adjustments – if you see that the frequency is going above 2.0 for news feed ads and 3.0-4.0 for sidebar ads, allocate different budgets to different ad placements, increase the size of the target audience or identify new ones with Audiences Insights.
2.0+ and 3.0+ frequencies are just my personal guidelines – you should always test what’s the acceptable frequency for your campaigns, and what is the threshold beyond which you’re getting poorer results.
3. Rotate your ads:
This is an absolute. MUST.
From my experience, Facebook ad campaigns would usually reach their peak click-through rates around the 3rd or even 2nd day after the launch.
So in order to minimise Facebook ad fatigue, it’s crucial that you get into a habit of rotating the ads every 3-4 days.
[Tweet “Get into a habit of rotating Facebook ads to minimize ad fatigue:”]
If you’re promoting the same service or product, start by creating multiple ad variations with different visuals (the photo has some of the biggest effect on how it is perceived by the audience).
Then, run one ad for 3-4 days, pause it, and activate another Facebook ad – it will be perceived as a different ad by the audience, which will help you to keep higher click-through rates.
And if you have multiple products or product categories, that’s even better – create different ads for different products and different categories, and start the rotation for them too.
It’s enough to have at least 2-3 variations at the beginning and you can do the rotation manually. You can also use some third-party Facebook ad management tools, like AdEspresso or Qwaya, that can rotate the ads for you automatically.
4. Rotate target audiences:
That’s another great way to keep your ad campaigns fresh.
Instead of creating a single campaign that’s targeting a very broad audience, break it down into smaller demographics and rotate them.
For example, if you’re an e-commerce site in the US, you can create numerous ad sets not only by 50 states, but even by cities, different interests groups, behaviours and other demographics – just show the same ad to a different target audience every few days before the ad blindness kicks in!
5. Schedule your ad campaigns smartly:
The worst thing to do is to run the same ad, targeting the same audience, for a long period of time.
I’ve already explained how you can lessen the ad fatigue by rotating ads and target audiences, but if you’re too busy and can’t manage numerous ad variations, you can use the ad scheduling instead.
For example, I prefer to run any Facebook ad campaigns in small bursts – I’d have a campaign active for 1-2 days and then paused for 2-3 days, so that the target audience can rest from it.
So instead of adding a daily budget of $50 and running the campaign for 7 consecutive days for a total of $350, you could put a daily budget of $175 and set the campaign to be active on just two days of the week – the amount spent will be the same, but you will not have to worry about annoying your clients.
You can already do that by using the Power Editor tool, but you can also set the scheduling on the above-mentioned ad management tools, AdEspresso and Qwaya.
Sweet and simple.
6. Choose Daily Unique Reach optimisation:
If you’re not using the Power Editor tool to create your Facebook ad campaigns, you’re losing out.
Not only can you easily duplicate the campaigns, set the ad schedule for your ads, assign multiple conversion pixels and more, but you can also use the rather new ‘Daily Unique Reach’ optimisation.
If you choose this, Facebook would “serve your ads to people up to once per day”, which in theory sounds superb – it’s a simple way to cap the ad frequency and keep a higher CTR.
In real life I’ve only had limited results with it – cost per click was usually much higher than using any other bidding types.
My suggestion – test it, test it, and test it again, and see if Daily Unique Reach can work for you. If it does, great! If it doesn’t stick to other techniques.
7. Exclude audiences for link ads:
This is a huge one! And I’m still amazed with how little it’s being used.
I assume the majority of you will run ‘Clicks to Website’ or ‘Website Conversions’ campaigns to drive direct traffic to your website and generate leads, sales or any other type of conversions – am I correct?
So tell me, what is the most annoying thing that bothers people on Facebook? – Easy! Ads that keep reappearing even after you visited the page or made a purchase!
But it doesn’t have to be that way – you can easily stop wasting your money by using remarketing and excluded audiences.
[Tweet “Use Facebook excluded audiences to fight ad fatigue:”]
First, you will need to grab the remarketing code in your Facebook advertising account and add that to your website. Second, you will need to create unique website custom audiences that will track people that visited different pages at different times on your site – one remarketing list could be for “anyone who visited any page on your website in the last 180 days”, while another one could be only for those that visited, for example, the “View Cart” page in the last 15 days.
And this is where the magic comes in: no matter what you’re promoting, a product, a service, or simply a blog post, you can create a unique website custom audience just for that single page, AND you can then exclude those visitors from your target audience.
So if someone saw your ad, clicked on the link and went to that page, he would then be added to the excluded audience, and would not see the ad again. Instead, you can then show them very targeted ads based on their activity on the site and make your advertising much more effective. BOOM.
Again, you will need to use Power Editor for setting it up: just select the audience you want to exclude on the ad set level under the ‘Audience’ settings.
Bonus: Vary your campaign objectives:
I know, I know – you all want to get as much traffic as possible to your website and generate immediate sales, but that is very short-sighted.
The vast majority of people will not make a purchase the first time they saw your ad. Heck, even if they clicked on the ad and explored the products, it’s likely that they’ll need more time to make a decision.
So don’t get obsessed with those link ads – share some photos, create an album, put on a video, and promoted them. Show how others are already using your product and spend a portion of your budget building social proof.
And once you’ve done that, hit them hard with a strong right hook, as Gary Vaynerchuck would say, and incite them to take an action you want.
Facebook advertising costs depend on numerous factors, but generally, the better the ad engagement, the higher the click-through rate, the lower the advertising costs will be.
The problem is, that most advertisers keep their ad campaigns running for very long periods of time, which results in ad fatigue – the target audience simply gets tired of those ads.
Because of it, the ads will start receiving less and less clicks and that would naturally increase the advertising costs – Facebook would assume that the ads are less relevant, so you’ll need to spend more to get further impressions.
However, you can limit the ad fatigue by: keeping a close eye on the frequency (especially across the different placements), getting into a habit of ad rotation (rotating not only the products, visuals, but also target audiences), adding some ‘rest’ days into the campaign with ads scheduling, as well as excluding anyone who clicked on the link ad from your target audience, so that they don’t see those ads again.
If you follow these steps, you will tremendously increase the quality of your ad campaigns and will save a ton of money. 🙂
Cheers and let me know about your results!
Well done. Excellent advanced content that should be utilized in any Facebook advertising campaign.
Cheers, Curtis, I’m glad you found it useful!
Also – I’ve been testing having the landing page as an excluded custom audience from all cold traffic in order to keep frequency down. That way, they are only served remarketing specific ads instead of the same cold traffic ads they came in through. Thoughts on this?
Hi Curtis, yes, that’s definitely a good case practice.
I always add a custom audience for the landing page or even entire category/website and exclude that from all acquisition campaigns. In that way I can have my acquisition campaigns and remarketing campaigns running at the same time and not interfering with each other.
If I didn’t exclude it and had remarketing campaigns active, it means that some people would be seeing both the acquisition campaigns and remarketing campaigns at the same time, and that is a waste of resources.
Great article Adomas. These are the techniques that people aren’t utilizing enough.
Thanks Grayson, I’m glad you enjoyed it!