Facebook Ad Fatigue: How to Identify & Stop It [2022 Update]

Have your Facebook ads stopped performing?

Facebook Ad Fatigue could be the reason.

Does this story sound familiar…

Your ads start generating sales and leads then all of a sudden the performance falls off a cliff.

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. And I see this all the time running a Facebook Ad Agency.

The question is…

How do you tell if it’s Facebook Ad fatigue (and how do you fix it)?

In this guide, you’ll learn how to identify and stop Facebook ad fatigue. 

Let’s dive in.

What is Creative Ad Fatigue?

Facebook ad fatigue or ‘creative fatigue’ occurs when the your ad frequency is too high, causing your target audience to see the same ads over and over again. When people see the exact same ad on repeat, the performance will drop which is what ad fatigue is. 

Ad fatigue will impact key metrics, including the price you pay for 1,000 impressions (CPM) and the return on ad spend (ROAS) you get.

Every campaign you run no matter how successful will experience creative ad fatigue at some point.

How to Diagnose Facebook Ad Fatigue

There are 2 ways to diagnose Facebook ad fatigue and determine if it’s impacting your ads.

1. Automatic Notifications

Facebook will send you a notification in the delivery column of your Ad manager account with the warning message “Creative fatigue” but this occurs only for a select few ad types and when running a single ad so it’s not something you want to rely on for diagnosing ad fatigue.

The best way to diagnose Facebook ad fatigue is through manual diagnosis.

Facebook uses a traffic light system to indicate creative ad fatigue (source)

2. Manual Diagnosis

To perform a manual diagnosis you want to compare the frequency and cost per result columns in your Ads Manager account.

If you notice that both the frequency and cost per result metrics are rising then there’s a good chance your ad is suffering from creative fatigue.

How do you Stop Facebook Ad fatigue?

There are a number of different ways to avoid creative ad fatigue by adjusting different variables including creative, copy, targeting, objectives, and the offer.

I’ll walk you through each of these now.

1. Refresh Your Ad Creatives

One of the most effective techniques to overcome ad fatigue is to update your ad creatives.

This can be done by changing either the copy, the creative or both but I recommend you start with the creative first as this is what the majority of your target audience will notice first. 

Tips To Improve Facebook Ad Creatives

  • Replace images with videos (videos don’t seem the same fatigue problems as other ads do)
  • Change the image background colour
  • Change the call to actions
  • Change the ad copy and headlines

If you have an ad that performed well in the past then consider keeping the offer similar while only changing specific components and testing the changes in performance. Like with all Facebook Ad testing, go to the ad you want to refresh in Ads Manager, then click duplicate. You can add all the elements you like while keeping the original ad as a good point of reference.

Something as simple as switching from an image, to a video may be enough to bring your ad results back to life. Remember, the best way to upgrade your ad copy is to consider what your customers are looking for and crafting your offer around their desires. 

Pro-tip: Consider outside factor like seasonality, calendar events (mother’s day etc..) and macro-economic conditions (economic downside) as these can all have an impact on your ad performance.

2. Expand Your Audience Targeting

Targeting the right audience on Facebook is a critical component to successful Facebook advertising. But targeting the same audience can lead to an increase in ad fatigue so you always want to be looking at ways to expand your audience by testing new targeting options to change the size of your target audience. Some audience tweaks to consider include:
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interests
  • Behaviours
  • Geographic location

How to Expand your target audience effectively

  • Adjust custom audiences
  • Create new audience lookalikes
  • Test different lookalike audiences

Pro-tip: Lookalike audiences will generally give you a better click-through rate (CTR) and lower cost-per-click (CPC) versus more standard audience changes like behaviour & interest-based targeting.

3. Optimize for Conversions, not clicks

The best Facebook Ad campaigns are optimized for conversions. To help combat ad fatigue though experiment with testing different conversion-focused audiences.

Here are some examples of conversion-focused audiences you can test:

  • Holiday Shoppers
  • Discount Code Users
  • Email Subscribers
  •  View Content >= 2x
  • Customer CSV – Purchasers
  • Top 5% Visitors On Site
  • Email Openers/Clickers
  • 3s Video Views
  • 10s Video Views
  • 25% Video Views
  • 50% Video Views
  • 75% Video Views
  • 95% Video Views
  • 1-10% Customer Lookalikes

Changing your audience means that Facebook can showcase your ads to a wider group of people.

Remember, when you change your campaigns, use the same post ID to keep your social proof and measure the impact on your conversions. Changing just one feature at a time makes it easier to determine which elements make the biggest impact on your campaigns.

4. Test a New Offer

Another excellent way to avoid ad fatigue is refreshing your offer to customers. Even a small change can have a positive impact on ad fatigue.

If you’re running Facebook Ads for ecommerce, look at introducing seasonal ads to target different holiday events around Christmas, Mother’s Day and Halloween.

When changing your offer, the key is understanding your customers and what they want from you at each stage in their journey. Maybe your current offer just isn’t compelling enough? If you’re offering free shipping for first-time customers, it might be time to offer a small discount instead? What about contributing a portion of the sale to a bigger cause like a charity?

Don’t forget to keep track of the results that you get after you change your offer. Tracking the difference between your previous responses and your new ones will save you a lot of headaches.

5. Set a Frequency Cap

Frequency caps are one of the most powerful tools you’ll have in the fight against ad fatigue.

Essentially, this feature on Facebook ensures that there’s a limit to the number of times people in your target audience will see your ad. Although it might be tempting to serve a lead the same ad multiple times until they make a purchase, you’re really just wasting time and effort this way.

At the Campaign level, you can select Reach and Frequency as your buying type instead of the more common Auction buying type. You might decide to ensure that your audience only sees your ad once every few days. You might even want to serve an ad once a week, which significantly reduces your risk of fatigue.

Setting a frequency cap means that even if your customer sees the same ad for a while, they’re not witnessing the same copy on a daily basis. Remember, the more your customer sees your content, the more likely they are to block it out. Start by serving an ad maybe once a week. You can always upgrade to more appearances if you think you’re losing out on opportunities based on your ad insights.

6. expand your funnel.

When building out Facebook ad campaigns it’s critical you understand how each ad creative fits into your marketing funnel.

I always start at the bottom of the funnel and focus on getting conversions right away. As you start to see some positive signs expand your ad creatives to target mid-funnel and finally top of the funnel.

Remember: Your ROAS on top and mid-funnel audiences won’t be as high as bottom-funnel audiences but these audiences will feed into your marketing funnel and help you combat creative ad fatigue on Facebook.

Changing the way you serve your ad, and considering what stage your customers are in the buyer journey will give your campaigns new life.

Facebook Ad Fatigue Tips

There’s more to running a successful Facebook campaign than knowing how to target the right audience, and how to create copy for every stage in the buyer funnel. In an environment where your audience stays the same for extended periods, ad fatigue is a very real and complicated problem. Although you want to continue increasing your chances of a purchase from a lead, you don’t want to hound them with the same offer every day. The tips above will help you to shake up your ads from time to time so that you can provide your clients with a more unique and versatile experience. But…I want to share some final facebook ad fatigue tips to help you put a stop to Facebook ad fatigue for good:
  • Exclude people who have already purchased or already subscribed on your website (this is especially true for one time purchases & one time subscribers).
  • Use a budget that’s appropriate to your target audience size, a good rule of thumb is $10 per 10,000 people in your audience.
  • Create more ads within ad sets (Run at least 3 different ad creatives simultaneously within each ad set).
  • Choose manual placements and choose Desktop News Feed and Mobile News Feed as I find these to be the most effective when setting a frequency cap.
  • Choose ‘daily unique reach’ for the optimization & delivery if you’re targeting a highly relevant audience.
  • Constantly monitor and track your ad performance to see which strategies are working best for you.

Over to You

What strategies have worked to fix Facebook Ad Fatigue for you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

Let me know in the comments below right now.

2 Responses

  1. Average Frequency will continue to increase throughout the campaign with incremental impression weight levels. The cost per conversion increase is a better indicator, but that can be impacted by competitive pressure, seasonality, etc. CTRs and engagement rates are also useful benchmarks to track. But the real secret is how you look at the data.

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