Sample Research Paper on Advertising: What is Ad Fatigue?

Business WritingAdvertising

With the rise of digital marketing, the marketing field has become more democratized. Small businesses have similar, if not the same, levels of access to marketing platforms. The result of this is the development of new advertising and marketing strategies, such as pay-per-click marketing, social media marketing, SEO marketing, and video marketing, which have propelled the business sector into a higher level of competition. With this myriad of marketing strategies, almost every corner of the Internet has become a marketing platform. Indeed, every few scrolls on Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok must have at least one advertisement and every Youtube video plays one or two ads before or after. Despite the arguably over-saturation of ads, consumers still engage with ads, provided that they are entertaining, informative, and personalized (Hopkins, 2021). However, despite initial success, even well-crafted ads may see stagnation and, eventually, a decline in their performance. This is attributed to a decline in the consumer’s interest, called ad fatigue. This advertising research paper seeks to define ad fatigue, its dangers, how ad fatigue occurs, and finally, how to avoid it.

Definition of Ad Fatigue

Ad fatigue is the phenomenon when the audience stops responding to an ad, thereby decreasing its efficacy and increasing the costs of the ad (Driskill, 2021). When the audience sees the same ad for a period, they will eventually lose interest in the ad. When ad fatigue happens, the audience stops noticing and remembering the ad, so there is no more response and engagement. After defining ad fatigue, the succeeding section shall delve into the dangers of the phenomenon and why it cannot be ignored in one’s marketing practice.

Dangers of Ad Fatigue

Ad fatigue is costly in more ways than one. Not only will the company not get returns on its investment, but it might end up paying more for each ad after the onset of ad fatigue. Since most platforms like Facebook charge per click, they may end up losing money once an ad loses traction. To avoid such losses, they may either stop showing the ad to its users or charge the company a higher fee for showing the ad. Both options are not ideal for a company looking to expand its reach. 

Another costly impact of ad fatigue is its impact on the audience. When the audience sees the same ad repeatedly, they will get tired of it and even annoyed. This impression will then be attached to the brand and discourage them from clicking the ad and purchasing from them. 

Ad fatigue is a sign that an ad has been overused and, because of this, it cuts short the lifespan and potential of an ad. Thus, ad fatigue prevents companies from getting the full return on their investment on an ad campaign. Furthermore, ad fatigue could have detrimental impacts on the company’s brand image and sales. 

How to Detect Ad Fatigue

Given the gravity of its potential adverse impact on a company’s brand, companies must be vigilant against ad fatigue. Companies and marketing professionals can detect ad fatigue by looking into certain metrics for their ads. The tell-tale signs that an ad has been impacted by ad fatigue are high frequency, decrease in clickthrough rate (CTR), engagement, and impressions. 

A sign that an ad is about to be impacted by ad fatigue is if it has achieved high frequency, meaning if it has interacted with the same audience many times (Driskill, 2021). That individual or group who has been targeted by the same ad multiple times is guaranteed to become disinterested in the ad. Companies should be vigilant of ads that have a high frequency of appearance to the same group.

Another sign to look out for is low engagement which signifies that the audience is not cognitively, emotionally, or behaviorally influenced by the ad (Driskill, 2021). Ad engagement includes likes or reactions, comments, shares, and clickthroughs. The lack of reactions, comments, and shares shows that the ad is not piquing the interest of the audience. Meanwhile, a low clickthrough rate means that the ad is no longer convincing the audience to visit the site or purchase the products, therefore signaling the ineffectiveness of the ad. 

Although prevention is possible, it is equally important for advertisers to know the signs of ad fatigue. The key to combating this phenomenon is to detect it early so that measures can be implemented immediately.

How to Avoid Ad Fatigue

Naturally, companies and advertising professionals want to avoid ad fatigue and continue being in the center of positive attention from both potential and current customers. One must remember that humans’ attention span is limited. The ways to avoid ad fatigue are:

  • Creating A Variety of Ads

In a fast-paced world, it should come as no surprise that ads must also be developed quickly. Using the same ads for a long period makes a company vulnerable to ad fatigue. To avoid this, companies must take precautionary steps starting from the creation of their ads. Companies must make sure that their ads are fresh and relevant, meaning they must stay on top of current trends at all times (Heath, 2018). What this further entail is the continuous and rapid production of new ads, meanwhile not compromising on quality. A high volume of ads gives companies a set of ads to present to their audience so that no one ad is presented repeatedly for too long. Ad fatigue, thus, should be taken into consideration during the creation of marketing plans.

  • Updating Ads

The key to avoiding ad fatigue is to not use the same ads for a long time. However, this does not mean that companies need to create entirely new ads every few weeks. Often, updating elements of an ad will suffice in keeping it fresh in the eyes of the audience. Updating the visual elements of an ad is one of the most effective ways to do this because the ad will appear different to the audience and, therefore, catch their attention (Heath, 2018). Other elements, such as the messages, the call-to-action, and the links are also worth updating to keep an ad new. 

  • Making Use of Google’s Ad Rotation

One of the features of Google AdWords is ad rotation, which is a setting that allows companies to show different ads on rotation as opposed to the default setting of showing the highest-performing ads all the time. Ad rotation will help minimize or prolong the onset of ad fatigue.

  • Banking on Audience Optimization

Audience optimization helps advertisers target the right audience for their company and their ad campaign. Through this strategy, they identify their target audience and can program platforms to show their ads to the right audience (Heath, 2018). Audience optimization is a strategy that advertisers do on a regular basis. However, this strategy is also useful in preventing ad fatigue. Users who are not the target audience of an ad is sure to experience ad fatigue quickly. In contrast, those who fall within the right demographic are less likely to experience ad fatigue.

When combatting ad fatigue, advertisers are advised to conduct regular A/B Testing. Regular A/B testing would allow companies and advertisers to allow them to optimize their ads based on their target audience.

  • Using Retargeting Strategies

Retargeting is a strategy for reaching audiences that have already visited a company’s site or, in other words, shown interest in the company’s products. Retargeting involves strategically positioning ads throughout the web so the target audience will see the company’s ads while browsing the web (Heath, 2018). Multiple ad placements maximize a user’s exposure to the ad without triggering ad fatigue. 

  • Using Dynamic Ads

Dynamic ads deliver personalized ads for each user. It uses cookie technology to customize what the viewers see, so it is based on their interests and behavior on the company’s website (Matekovic, 2021). For instance, a user who has looked into but did not purchase product A will be able to see the same product and similar products as recommendations in their ads. Dynamic ads keep the company in the user’s sight but since the visuals and content of the ad change based on their most recent behavior, the ad does not become monotonous.


Ad fatigue is a phenomenon that emerged as a result of the increasing competition between advertisers in the same advertising platforms. As explained in the above research paper (check out our tips on how to format a research paper just like this), ad fatigue is when the audience loses interest and stops engaging with ads after repeated exposure to them. In some instances, ad fatigue results in annoyance toward a brand, which is truly detrimental to any company. This phenomenon is disruptive for companies that invested their resources in well-produced ads and on PPC marketing. When ads stop becoming effective earlier due to ad fatigue, companies end up spending more on their ads than they receive in return. Thus, advertisers must be aware of ad fatigue, know how to discern when an ad is affected by ad fatigue, and finally how to prevent ad fatigue from impacting their ads. In today’s extremely competitive marketing world, it is insufficient to create entertaining and informative advertisements. One must also make sure that audiences do not become tired of these ads. This is why knowledge of the effective strategies for combating ad fatigue is beneficial for advertisers as it will help maintain their positive rankings and impression on users. 


Driskill, J. (2021, November 5). Definition: Engagement. The Online Advertising Guide . 

Heath, B. (2018, June 26). 9 ways to avoid Facebook ad fatigue among your target audience. Social Media Today . 

Hopkins, I. (2021, March 22). What do consumers actually think of ads? Global Web Index.

Matekovic, F. (2021, July 8). How to combat ad fatigue using dynamic creative on social (+DPA playbook). Hunch . 

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