Did your campaign's performance suddenly starts to decline after a couple of weeks This is probably due to something called ad fatigue and it happens when your target audience is, well, tired of seeing the same ads over and over again.
What is Facebook ad fatigue?
Facebook ad fatigue is when people see your same ad too many times. High ad fatigue causes Facebook to severely limit your ad's deliverability. You can measure ad fatigue on Facebook with the frequency metric.
How to recognize Facebook ad fatigue vs something else
Spotting ad fatigue is easy: one or several key metrics in your campaign start to drop and the "frequency" metric starts to rise at the same time. In case your key metrics drop but frequency doesn't increase or vice versa, this is not ad fatigue.
How to find the frequency metric in Facebook Ads Manager
The frequency metric isn't included as a column in the default column layout in the Facebook Ads Manager. Click the Columns dropdown to see the list of pre built column layouts. Choose either Delivery, Performance and Clicks, or Customize Columns... and add it any view you want.
If you see your deliverability decreasing (impressions dropping) and your frequency count increasing, it's safe to assume your ad and campaign is suffering from ad fatigue. If this sounds like what you're experiencing, here are ten ways to fight ad fatigue (with examples)!
1. Automatically pause ads with high frequency
Let's assume you created several ad creatives and turned them all on. Once one of them reaches a high frequency, you want to turn these ads off. This will let the other ads run instead so deliverability increases while you can create more ads.
To create a Facebook automated rule, click the main Facebook Ads Manager menu and choose Automated Rules under Create & Manage.
Click the green Create Rule button in the top right and the rule creator will pop up. Choose to target All active ads and Turn off ads as the action.
Under Conditions you'll choose how you want to turn off high frequency ads. I recommend setting the Frequency cap to 2.4 and Impressions at least over 450 in the last 7 days and check it every 30 minutes. Obviously, you will need to fine tune these parameters to your business and typical account activity. Here's what that rule will look like:
By the way, if you're interested in learning more about bringing automation to Facebook ads with automated rules, check out our Facebook ad automation guide.
Using Revealbot, we can get much more precise by targeting specific ads or ad sets (instead of all), increasing how often the rule will fire to every 15 minutes, and set different windows of time for the frequency and impression cliffs.
In the Facebook Ads section of Revealbot, click the Create rule button in the top right and Revealbot's rule creator will pop up. First, you'll select the assets to target. With Revealbot, you can select specific ad accounts (will affect all ads in the selected ad accounts), campaigns (affects all ads in selected campaigns), ad sets (affects all ads in selected ad sets, or you can select individual ads for this rule to apply to.
Even better, you can create filter criteria to select any ad accounts, campaigns, ad sets, or ads that meet certain conditions. The cool thing with this type of selection, is any new item you make that meets your selection criteria will have the rule applied to them automatically. In the below example, I'm selecting all ads in a campaign that contains "conversion" in the campaign name. Any new ads I make in the future inside these campaigns will have this rule applied to them.
Once you select your asset targeting, you can now create the rule conditions. Using the same logic as above, I'm pausing ads with a frequency over 2.4 in the last seven days and have received over 6,000 impressions in the last 90 days.
Now you can launch ads worry free. Anything with a high frequency will be automatically paused. Just make sure you set up notifications (Revealbot can notify you via Slack) so you can be on top of what's happening.
2. Create new audiences and ads
It's great that we're pausing ads with high frequency, but paused ads won't make us any money. The next thing to do is to update your ad creatives or audiences.
How to quickly update ad creatives
- Change image background color
- Change CTAs
- Change text and/or headlines
- Use new images/videos
- Minimize text in images to pass Image Text Check
How to quickly test new audiences
- Create lookalikes based on your key conversion metrics (purchase, time spent, engagement, etc.)
- Create audiences based on behavior
- Create lookalikes from by uploading customers or syncing your CRM
3. Automatically decrease budgets for high-frequency ad sets
Pausing high frequency ads will stop them from ever being served again, but what if it was a high converting ad/ad set and you don't want to pause it completely? Another solution to decrease the budget. If your ad sets are being served to the same people too often you can decrease their bid/budget to decrease frequency.
What’s considered a “healthy frequency”? It mostly depends on your campaign objective and the audience you’re targeting. For most marketers ideal ad frequency is something between 1.01 and 2.99.
Here's another automated rule you can try to decrease budget for high frequency ad sets. This rule is similar to our first rule where we paused high frequency ads, except here I'm lowering the budget by 33% on the ad set level once per day if the frequency is over 2.4 and impressions are over 4,000 in the last 14 days.
In Revealbot, we can again get a little more granular with our targeting and conditions. As explained above in the paused ad high-frequency ads rule, you can select specific ad sets you want our new rule to apply to or use filter conditions. That is the same so we'll move right the to rule conditions.
The main difference between this rule in Revealbot vs the Facebook automated rule is the ability to have different time windows for each condition. So in this automated rule, we're looking at frequency in the last three days and impressions in the last seven days.
Note: Again, the amount you'll decrease the budget, the frequency cap, and impression threshold are not industry standards. They 100% depend on your audience sizes, campaigns, and objective. For example, if you're targeting micro audiences then perhaps a lower impressions threshold would work better. However, it's recommended to always let ad sets complete initial learning before applying any rules to them.
So, this automated rule will decrease ad fatigue by limiting deliverability so people don't see it as frequently without changing the ad creative.
4. Exclude custom audiences that already engaged with your ad or brand
Excluding people that have already interacted with your website or engaged with your content can be used as another way to avoid ad fatigue on Facebook.
There are four ways to exclude such audiences:
Excluding website traffic (Facebook Pixel data)
Create a custom audience and then exclude it in the ad set audience settings. In thee example below, this is excluding purchasers in the last 90 days.
Excluding app audiences
Create audiences using Facebook SDK for iOS or Android and exclude them the same way.
Note: Use this tactic if you have an app and/or run App Install or Conversion campaigns on Facebook. Facebook SDK is basically a piece of code that your app developer can put inside your app, thus allowing Facebook to track events within your app.
Excluding audiences that engaged with Page and/or subscribed to your page
You can exclude all people who engaged with your app the same way.
Excluding uploaded custom audiences
Upload a customer CSV file or sync an audience from your CRM with an integration to Facebook Ads to remove existing customers, or identified bad fit leads.
Then exclude them from your ad set just like in the examples above.
5. Limit ad deliverability by running ads on a schedule (dayparting)
Facebook has a built in ad set scheduling that allows you to run ads only on certain days and at certain times. The only downside to how Facebook implements this feature. One, you have to set the ad set's budget to a lifetime budget meaning you have to set an end date and budget limit for the ad set. And two, you have to set this manually for every ad set.
Nonetheless, dayparting, or running ads on a schedule, allows you to run your ads during the best days of the week and time of the day versus running them 24/7. This will cut down less useful impressions and decrease ad fatigue. Here's how to set it up on the ad set. First, change your Budget and Schedule to Lifetime Budget.
Then just below, choose Run ads on a schedule for your Ad Scheduling option. From here, you can choose your account's time zone or the user's time zone to select the days of the week and time of the day you'd like your ads in this ad set to deliver.
So in the above example, my ads will only run on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday between 8 AM and 6 PM and on Saturdays between 10 AM to 3 PM. By bringing dayparting into your strategy, you can extend the life of your ad creatives and reduce ad fatigue with your Facebook ads.
If you're using Revealbot, it's much easier and more flexible to set up dayparting. Just like with Facebook's out-of-the-box solution, you can turn ad sets on/off by day of week and time of the day using automated rules with a few added benefits.
The first benefit of using Revealbot for setting up dayparting is that it's done through just two automated rules, one to pause and one to start, and can be applied to many ad sets as explained in the pause high-frequency ads example (e.g all ad sets that contain "conversion" in the ad set name). The second benefit is you don't need to set the ad set to a lifetime budget with a scheduled end date. It works on regular, continuously running ad sets. Here's how you'd set dayparting up in Revealbot.
The above rule pauses ad sets the same way I did it manually with Facebook's ad set scheduling. Now you only need to duplicate this rule and just flip the time greater than to time less than (and vice versa), plus change the main rule action to turn the ad sets on.
Excluding nighttime hours can work good when your conversion goal requires a lot of effort (purchase, lead form, etc). This is because people don’t want to spend much time at night filling out forms or pulling out a credit card, and are more likely to bounce. You can use Facebook Audience Insights to determine the best times to run your ads and when is best to pause them.
6. Use the reach campaign objective
If you have a campaign that is suffering from ad fatigue, you can try duplicating the campaign and simply change the campaign objective to Reach. Reach campaigns are usually used to more thoroughly reach larger audiences.
Reach campaigns are optimized for Daily Unique Reach by default, and have special options to limit frequency on the ad set. The default setting is no more than two impressions every seven days, but you're able to customize to the frequency cap over a time period of your choosing.
Although this may be the best way to avoid ad fatigue, you have to sacrifice not being able to optimize for conversions.
7. Optimize ad delivery for daily unique reach
You might wonder why we would mention this option again when we already told you about the Reach campaign objective.
Sure, Reach Campaigns are naturally optimized for Daily Unique Reach but you can optimize for Daily Unique Reach in Traffic and Engagement campaign objectives as well.
To do that, go to your ad set within a campaign with the Traffic or Engagement objective and change its delivery optimization method to Daily unique reach.
The difference between this method and the Reach campaign objective is you don't have as much control on the frequency cap for ad delivery with this method.
Note: You can also optimize your Conversions campaign for Daily Unique Reach, but we don't recommend doing that, as it will most definitely prevent Facebook from optimizing your campaign for Conversions and will result in a lower ROAS.
8. Try duplicating your ad set
Although we have a lot of ideas on how the Facebook algorithm works, we don't know exactly how it works. So when I've been stumped on an underperforming ad set before, I've found just duplicating it has worked to resurrect the campaign.
If an ad set just isn't doing well, sometimes it seems to just hit a cliff and can never recover unless you start over. We already have a great blog post on ad set duplication, why and when to do it, and how to do it the right way.
Although it doesn't focus on ad set duplication as a solution for ad fatigue, it can help in very much the same way. Give it a shot and see if it kickstarts your ads!
9. Manage placements the right way
It’s better to avoid setting ‘Automatic Placements’, especially when running a campaign that targets larger audiences.
When you use several different placements, Facebook will just choose the best-performing one and allocate most your ad set budget to that one placement.
Creating different ad sets for different placements is good for speeding up and optimizing your campaign, especially when it comes to targeting on both Facebook and Instagram.
An example above shows all ad sets in a campaign divided into placements based on a platform, i.e. Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network.
Instagram Stories is a different placement too, because you can't target people on both Instagram Feed and Instagram Stories using images or videos of the same size unless you're using Customized Assets.
Long story short, building ad sets for different placements is good when:
- you want to reach people across different platforms
- you want even budget allocation across different platforms
- you want to test which placement yields best results
And it's also good for controlling ad frequency and avoiding ad fatigue 😉
10. Complete overhaul and a different campaign objective
Although we hope our customers will never get tired of our ads, it's inevitable they will eventually. Don't feel down.
Sometimes people just get tired of the same brand/offer/content showing up in their feed and there is no other way to make them interested again but to rethink the entire campaign, create new content and new offers that might drive leads and sales.
Note: You should only take this serious step in case you couldn’t fight off ad fatigue any other way.
What's worked for you?
I'd love to hear your stories about what you did to beat ad fatigue in the comments!