Recognizing Creative Fatigue Early Is Important. Here’s How You Should Do It

By Matthew Skurnick

So you’ve found a great creative concept. Performance is up, all KPIs are looking good, it works on every channel and in every format that matters. Congratulations! It’s not going to last, though. You know that, right? The dreaded creative fatigue comes even for the best of creative concepts.

In fact, the more popular your creative, the more danger it’s in.

Ad creative fatigue isn’t mysterious, nor should it come as a surprise to any online marketer. This is just a matter of statistics: after a while, you’ll exhaust the audience which is willing to click on a particular ad. Every click brings you closer to the last one a particular concept is going to receive.

You shouldn’t try to avoid fatigue, nor live in constant fear of it.

What you should do is create an infrastructure which will enable you to recognize it as soon as possible. When the concept begins to lose steam, it’s time to make sure you have a viable replacement ready.

Prerequisite: Data, Data, And More Data

Before we dive any deeper, let’s talk about the different kinds of concepts you should be grouping the assets by. The easiest one to grasp is the narrative concept – several creative assets that riff on the same idea. But you should also consider all creatives drawn in a defined style as a concept, and all creatives with similar calls-to-action a creative concept as well.

If you have a robust multi-channel strategy, potential users are likely to encounter several iterations of each concept. The advantage is that while they might not click the first time they see the ad, a second or third impression might convince them to give you a shot. It will also help to cement the name of your brand or product in their minds.

But at the same time, when your users see the ad across channels, the fatigue becomes cross-channel as well.

Yet more often than not, it’s considered too difficult to track concepts across channels. We’re here to tell you it’s worth it, and not just because Bidalgo has an automated solution that includes computer vision and management tools such as smart labels and creative rank for this exact scenario.

If you decide to track and analyze campaign performance on your own, you should still try and get a holistic view of the entire activity, grouped by what the users see and not by what’s easy to track.

Naming conventions and labels are extremely important if you want to recognize creative fatigue without any external tools. An example of such a convention is:

Concept Name_Iteration Name_Creative Type_Dimensions_Length If Video

When you name and label your assets by concept and iteration, you can track how many ads each concept is in and see what kind of spend is tied to it, understand how much spend goes towards each asset type, and more.

Naming conventions and labels don’t just help you detect fatigue in creative that’s beginning to go downhill, but also find possible successors. The same mechanism that detects threats, can be used to detect opportunities as well.

Creative Fatigue: From Data to Insights

As we’ve already said, creative fatigue is inevitable. So even if you do nothing, you’ll see that you’re getting less bang for your buck than before. What vigilance and the right kind ad analysis can help you with, is understanding fatigue earlier than it can be easily detected by looking at the bottom line.

With your KPI and Media Spend on one over-time graph, the life cycle curve of a successful creative is immediately visible. If you have labeled your creative and set your naming conventions correctly, and are looking at the performance of an entire concept, the picture you’ll see is even clearer.

Creative fatigue overtime graph

Small dip in performance on one channel is far less meaningful than small dips in performance across every channel and every ad the concept is utilized in.

When the drop begins, it’s time to hurry up and find a replacement. That said, you still might have quite some time before the concept has to be retired. Weeks, even months can pass between the beginning of the decline and the time at which the creative king of yesteryear is useless.

A Problem That Scales

You should also remember that the problem of fatigue scales with the business. In our recent creative insights report, we’ve looked at the number of assets used simultaneously by companies with different levels of spend. Those who spend below $1,000 a month, have on average 5 creative assets in use at the same time. Those who spend more than $1,000,000, have an average of 198 assets.

The more assets you have, the more difficult it is to analyze all of them at the same time.

Prioritize based on the spend tied to each concept, then drill down to see the over-time performance of the most successful assets within that concept. If your BI enables you to do analyses such as these, great. If not, we can help you.

Published on November 22, 2020
Written by
Matthew Skurnick

Product Growth Lead @ Bidalgo

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