You invest a lot of time into your paid search campaigns, but how much is spent on refreshing your ad copy? Columnist Frederick Vallaeys, along with his guest David Greenbaum, discuss how to overcome ad fatigue for maximum impact.
The Problem Of Ad Fatigue Today
The online advertising space continues to aggressively grow by the billions, yet consumers are oftentimes overwhelmed by the abundance and repetition of ads they see. And when the same old ad runs too often, consumers stop responding. We call this ad fatigue.
Ad fatigue sets in when an ad that historically performed well stops delivering value. Why does this occur? For two reasons.
First, consumers grow accustomed to seeing the language and become desensitized to the message. Second, competitors start to pile on and recycle the messaging.
When ad fatigue sets in, click-through rate (CTR) and Quality Score drop – increasingly making ad fatigue a problem online marketers should be solving for in their SEM campaigns.
Below are four ways to avoid ad fatigue through refreshing every aspect of your ad copy.
1. Seasonality & Product Changes
Retailers have a particular cadence for updating product catalogues and refreshing inventory. When what you are selling changes, so should the corresponding ad copy.
When a clothing company releases a new line of Italian cashmere sweatshirts, for example, they update inventory lists and product catalogues.
Similarly, when a brand repositions itself in the marketplace or takes on new objectives, it should be reflected in the evolving campaign strategy.
Consumer brands respond to seasonality and promotions by adapting keywords, ad text and landing pages to the specific holiday or season. If you’re selling a car in the winter, it’s more effective to show a rugged, four-wheel drive vehicle than a sporty, top-down convertible.
Make sure the right ads are running at the right time, and not too often. When the same ad runs too frequently, the consumer is desensitized.
2. Copycat Messaging
Another part of the ad fatigue equation is messaging that is simply not unique.
Oftentimes, smaller brands will piggyback on the brand leader, copying ad text and messaging. The problem with repetition in the ad landscape is that messaging becomes diluted, causing a shorter shelf life for ads due to the “pile on” from smaller competitors (think of it as something like a “multi-ad pile up”).
Look at this example for LED TVs. The ads on the page all use the same format for the headline and as a result look alike on the page, having little effect on the consumer.
When an ad resembles several competing ads on the same page, it no longer packs a punch. In fact, it probably doesn’t pack any kind of punch at all.
3. Evolving Consumer Needs
One of the biggest battles that an online marketer faces is understanding the fickle, ever-changing consumer in today’s fast-paced, multi-media marketplace.
As culture and language constantly evolves, so do the ways consumers search for or discover your products. So, how do you make your ad stand out across a changing and evolving consumer landscape?
Some of the most effective ads we see are written in today’s lexicon. One client saw a huge improvement in an ad that used the manufactured word “You-nique.”
The bottom line here? Marketers see results when they talk to consumers the same way those consumers talk among themselves.
When advertising to Millennials, for example, experiment with different strategies and ways of engaging with this particular demographic. Consider their varied interests, dialogue and behaviors. Make them feel included in the conversation – as opposed to being advertised to – and your campaigns will be more successful.
What consumers are searching for changes regularly, and the ad text that is directed back at them should also change.
Successful online marketers are mindful of the evolution of language and sensibilities, and make the appropriate changes in their ad campaigns and outreach strategies.
4. Changing Ad Platforms
Google is frequently rolling out platform updates that allow online advertisers to engage with people based on factors such as device, geography and audience – to name just a few factors.
In display, marketers can segment customers by Topics to target pages about a specific subject. If you are targeting males ages 18 to 24 interested in climbing, for example, you can segment based on a Topic such as “fitness” to better serve relevant display ads.
The benefit of remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) is that you can build specific campaigns around customer behaviors.
For example, you can target a customer who abandoned the page before purchasing more aggressively by offering discounts and other promotional offers.
The more ways you have in your wheelhouse to segment your consumer base, the more unique opportunities you’ll have to talk to them.
However, with each new ad format or changes to targeting criteria, it becomes more important to keep ad creative fresh and your messaging relevant.