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3 Techniques for Managing Facebook Ad Blindness and Ad Fatigue

Published: August 13, 2012

Author: Molly Shotwell

Today’s post is by Kye Mou, a Product Marketing Manager at Marin Software. Kye has been in the online marketing industry since 2008. He graduated UC Davis with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Economics, is an avid San Francisco Giants fan, and enjoys the company of friends, family and his dog, Kaiya.
What Is Ad Blindness and Ad Fatigue?
If you’ve ever been in a room with a loud air conditioner, you’ve probably found that the longer you’re in the room, the less you notice it. Your ears become “deaf” to the barrage of a constant and unchanging auditory input. A similar effect is observed when your Facebook ads remain unchanged as they’re delivered more frequently across what are becoming smaller target audience segments. Your Facebook audience has become “blind” to the barrage of a constant and unchanging visual input. People simply start ignoring your ads – and at a very rapid rate.
This ad blindness is further compounded by Facebook’s preference to deliver ads that are expected to perform well from a click-through-rate (CTR) perspective. As your ads’ CTR drop because of ad blindness, Facebook will let them participate in fewer auctions, and as a result, your overall impression volume drops. This is what’s known as ad fatigue. Your ads are old and tired, and Facebook is putting them to sleep so your target audience can engage with fresher, more stimulating ads.
To manage ad blindness and ad fatigue across your Facebook campaigns, you’ll need to keep your ads fresh, pay attention to click metrics, and adopt an “always be testing” mentality. Today, we’ll walk through these three techniques and provide some best practices for putting them in action.
1.       Keep Your Ads Fresh
Remember that air conditioner we tuned out? What happens when it sputters with a different sound? We notice the change and become aware of its existence. With Facebook ads, making a different sound means rotating a variety of ads. Because a single ad can be served to the same user multiple times a day, it doesn’t take very long for ad blindness to set in. Even Facebook suggests that advertisers change images and ad copy every couple of days to ensure that they remain fresh to users, encourage clicks, and avoid ad fatigue.
So what are the best weapons for combating ad fatigue? With all the engaging social content on Facebook today, your ads need to stand out to grab the user’s attention. Unique value propositions, differentiations, and calls to action are all important to your ad copy. But what makes Facebook ads unique, compared to other popular online marketing channels, is the ability for advertisers to include an image. Selecting the right image can be the difference between the onset of ad blindness and a click-through.
facebook effective adThe most successful Facebook ads include colorful, engaging images. Adding a red, orange, or yellow border to your images creates contrast with Facebook’s blue and white interface and is an easy way to draw attention to your ad. Oftentimes, images that perform well are not necessarily the most aesthetically pleasing; rather, they are the ones that grab the most attention. These images range from easily identifiable logos and happy people to plain text overlaid on a colorful gradient background.
2.       Pay Attention to Click Metrics
A common technique for keeping Facebook ads fresh is to rotate images and ad copy every several days. But what happens when a new ad suffers from ad blindness and ad fatigue after one day of being live? A four-day ad-rotation technique would not address this decline in performance until three days later. In order to effectively manage ad fatigue, you should focus on decreases in impressions, clicks, or CTR in addition to regularly scheduled rotations. These three metrics can reveal ads that are already suffering from ad fatigue or decreases in impressions, or may begin to suffer from ad fatigue due to ad blindness, decreases in clicks, or CTR.
dynamic ad rotationSet up alerts or automated reports across all of your active Facebook ads to warn you of large decreases in impressions, clicks, or CTR. If a creative experiences a 50% decrease in impressions per day after three days of being live, it’s time to rotate in a new ad. If impressions have remained consistent over the last three days, but CTR has dropped 15% each day, you may want to consider generating a new ad. Enterprise-class solutions, like Marin Software, can dynamically rotate images, headlines, and description lines when impressions, clicks, and CTR drop below custom thresholds. These types of automated tools are highly effective for large Facebook campaigns.

A.B.T. (Always Be Testing)
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then you’ve got a lot of words to test. With all the images available, continuously testing a variety of ads to the same audience can help you hone in on the most impactful image for a particular message and audience segment. Keep in mind that even a “perfect” ad is still subject to ad blindness and ad fatigue. The goal shouldn’t be to find the ad that performs the best; it should be to find the type of ad that performs the best. This is only possible if you’re always testing and measuring the performance of new ads.
Implementing these techniques into your Facebook ad optimization strategy will reduce ad blindness and help you manage ad fatigue. And with the right tools, they can go a long ways towards making Facebook ads deliver profitable returns for your business.
kye mou – Kye Mou, Marin Software

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