Do You Know How to Spot & Fix Ad Fatigue…
August 9, 2017

Ad fatigue usually takes on the same symptoms as normal FB ad inflation costs, but whilst the latter is uncontrollable and unpreventable in many ways, FB marketers have a few key tactics up their sleeves when it comes to ad fatigue.


Ad fatigue is quite simply an audience becoming blasé or “immune” to your creative and funnel. Meaning the audience has seen the ads so many times that it starts to lose its efficiency.

In the marketing world – they call this “billboard blindness” – and on FB – where users have complete control over what they choose to pay attention to  –   the effect is even more prominent than what you might see in the traditional marketing realm.


It can be very easy to mistake ad fatigue with actual normal FB ad inflation costs (as more and more advertisers hit the platform, prices naturally go up).

The typical signs of ad fatigue include:

1. High CPMs – FB loves fresh content (makes sense as it’s main aim is to protect the user experience) and may try and stall you when your “stale” content starts to illicit negative feedback from your audience or result rates start to drop. One of the ways it does this is by increasing the CPM.

2. Stalled or lowered results – Where your campaign was crushing it for it’s first few months, results have seemingly started to come to a crawl and you’re still spending all your budget, but getting nowhere near the results you once were.

3. High negative feedback – Showing the same ad to the same person repetitively (that is NOT a warm audience) will likely result in people hiding or blocking your content.  Facebook is extremely sensitive to this type of feedback, and usually – if your ads are not balanced out with positive feedback, this will ultimately affect your ad account (you might have problems getting ads approved etc).  if you once had low to medium negative feedback, but suddenly have high negative feedback – it’s a telltale sign of ad fatigue.

4. High frequency – You – generally speaking – want to keep frequency at the top of funnel down to around 1-2.  In the bottom or end of your funnel – high frequencies are ok (and in fact, often work best).

How Can You Fix It?

So, there are a number of tactics that you have in your sleeve as a FB marketer. I’ve listed these out in order of “easiest” to implement, to slightly more “pain in the ass”… if you can get away with the former, all the better – but bear in mind you might need to go all in!

1. Exclusions – make sure you have ROBUST exclusions at the ad set level for your top of funnel campaigns.  Typically, you’ll want to exclude a custom audience of anyone that engaged with ads or posts in the last 365, and also exclude all those that already took the action required (such as made a purchase, or booked a call etc).  This will ensure FB can ONLY show you top of funnel ads to fresh eyeballs.






2. Rest your audiences/creative – Setting ad sets up for lifetime budgets and allowing ad sets targeting different audiences to “tag team” each other (ie: one is live, whilst the other is “resting”) is an advanced strategy (shared by Tom Hiscocks) to preventing abuse of audiences.

You can also try “dayparting” – running your ads at various times of the day.  So you’d have one ad set with one creative running from Monday-Wednesday (for example) and another ad set with a different creative running from Thursday-Sunday.

3. Two week refresh – Facebook recommends refreshing creative every two weeks!  I know, I know.  The last thing you want to hear as a busy FB marketer trying to juggle everything else on your plate.  But if your client is dealing with small localised audiences (ex: 40,000 people), frequent creative refreshes will ensure that audiences aren’t exposed to the same thing over and over again.

4. Different funnel – A last resort, when you have tried out the above two options without any luck – and ESPECIALLY if you are dealing with a small top of funnel (cold) audience), it may be time to test out a totally different funnel.  For example, if you were giving a free trial before, come in from a different angle – such as gamification.

Short of all of the above working, and depending on the timeframe from when you were first getting great results to it starting to dwindle, you may need to consider that the normal FB inflation effect is what is causing lowered and more expensive results.  A year or two ago – we used to be able to easily acquire webinar leads for clients for as little as $5.  These days, the average cost of a webinar registration is about $10-$15!  Facebook ads will continue to rise in prices and little can be done here except adopting a constant creative testing loop.

Think you may have ad fatigue? Tell me in the comments below…



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