5 Creative Practices to Combat Ad Fatigue

Lindsey Pizula

By: Lindsey Pizula

Senior Strategist


With user engagement at an all time high across social platforms, people have higher exposure to your social ads. It is true that more exposure increases brand recognition and favorability but if the ad is not resonating with the audience or the audience has been overexposed to the ad it will lead to a poor user experience for customers and drive costs up. Based on our research, campaigns that adhere to creative best practices and implement strategic creative rotation plans on average see results that are 2X more efficient than campaigns that do not follow these best practices. Below we outline the top 5 Creative Best Practices to consider when trying to avoid creative fatigue, creative rotation strategies to consider and finally we highlight our purpose built Creative Fatigue Dashboard that our teams leverage to help clients predict when creative fatigue is likely to occur and how brands can avoid it altogether.

Top 5 Creative Best Practices

1) Consider diversifying ad types and testing different narratives to convey your message.

2) Test a sequential marketing message. Even if the campaign goal is direct-response, sequential messaging will improve the metrics most valuable to your brand.

3) Adjust messaging depending on what the target audience already knows about your brand. If your brand is well recognized, focus more on purchase intent and conversion.

4) Every ad’s creative should clearly showcase the product, the key details of the brand and a prominent call-to-action.

5) Limit the number of posts live at the same time (this can lead to expedited fatigue.) Unified recommends limiting  active creatives to 3-5 per campaign.

Unified’s Creative Fatigue Dashboard

In addition to establishing a strong creative rotation and following creative best practices, Unified’s Creative Fatigue Dashboard is a power tool that can be used to improve your rotation strategy by identifying current and potential creative fatigue for live ads and can also help advertisers anticipate and plan for future campaign success. Our team of experts use the tool to improve campaign performance for clients and tailor future recommendations.

Two Main Problems Solved by the Fatigue Dashboard:

  1. Identifying current fatigued ads that should be replaced.
  2. Identifying the optimal creative flighting and recommendations for campaigns.

At a quick glance, Unified’s tool will tell advertisers:

  • Current spend on an ad
  • Fatigue Prediction Day
  • Days Fatigued
  • Potential Impact if not addressed (i.e. “14% higher CPC while fatigued”)

Average Days to Fatigue tells you how many days your ads run before they start fatiguing. This provides a good indicator of how long to flight creative.

Average CPX Change tells you on average how much CPX increases for your fatigued ads. This allows you to quantify just how costly creative fatigue has been for you.

Establishing a Creative Rotation Strategy

After locking in the quality of the creative, there are specific media factors to consider that can help guide advertisers as they build creative refresh strategies. These factors include:

Audience Size. An optimal audience size will be based on your budget. Generally speaking however, if the audience size is small (<1,000,000 people) over a flight longer than 7-10 days a creative rotation is recommended half-way through the flight, or once a week depending on the overall campaign length and budget.

Flight Length. For shorter flights (<7-10 days) a campaign may be able to maintain performance without a creative refresh. Ultimately this too will come down to the audience size and budget. Smaller audiences with larger budgets (> $100,000) and shorter flights will achieve larger frequencies which will increase the chance for creative fatigue. Conversely, larger audiences with smaller budgets (< $100,000) paired with shorter flights will achieve lower frequencies, resulting in a decreased chance for creative fatigue.

Budget. The classification of large versus small budgets is contingent on the overall audience size and flight length. Longer flights and larger audiences require more budget while shorter flights and smaller audiences require less budget. Generally speaking, the larger the budget, the more creative refreshes required to maintain performance throughout the campaign.




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