What is Ad Fatigue?

Ad fatigue is an important concept to keep in mind for display ads. In short, it is when people in your target market see the same ad of yours again and again. It results in fatigue because the ad goes from subconscious messaging to conscious frustration!

I’m writing this article because I’m going through it right now with one of my favorite services: SEMRush. They think I’m on-target for their ads. And they’re right. But then, on every single site, on every single device of mine, I see their ads again and again. SEMRush if you’re reading this… please limit your max impressions per person per week.

In other words, it’s usually good for visitors to see your ads often, but it can backfire.

And remember, in AdWords and most platforms, this is configurable. In Google Ads, you can let individuals see each ad, or ad group, or campaign a maximum of X times per day, week, month. In which you configure the variable for “X.”

So, what is the best balance on display campaigns such as Google Display Ads? It depends. It’s different for every situation.

These are the rules of thumb I tend to follow:

  • Setting the maximum per ad group, so that one target can see different types of ads.
  • Configuring the number of ad groups so that one user doesn’t see an ad more than once per day if it’s a short-lifespan (like an item is in their cart, buy now, please) or once per 2 days if it’s a longer lifespan.
  • Exposing the target to more ads with different wording and designs. Ad fatigue is magnified greatly if you have a small number of ads. So long as the user is seeing different messaging and different designs, then the fatigue is weakened, meaning you can show more ads.

But that rule of thumb varies by industry, as the cart example reminds us. So, try it out and see what works best for you.

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