Signs that you need to update your ad creatives

Saptarshi Nath

Early Stage Growth Tips

08.06.2023

TLDR

Regularly update ad creatives to prevent ad fatigue and maximize marketing budgets. Signs for the need for an update include poor performance, lower engagement, decreased CTR, higher CPC/CPA, and reduced conversion rates. Combat ad fatigue with A/B testing, revisiting targeting, optimizing landing pages, adjusting bids, or starting fresh. Monitor KPIs for timely improvements to maintain campaign effectiveness.

Here's the goal of this article: we are going to understand when to tweak, stop, or upgrade your ad creatives. Digital advertising isn't static. As marketers, we must respond and adapt based on campaign performance and market shifts. Finding the perfect timing for these changes can be tough, especially if you're new to the field. This article will give you a clear plan on how to recognize when your ad campaign needs an update or if it's time to hit the brakes. For the purposes of this article, we are referring to ad copy and ad creative when we refer to ad campaigns.

But first, why is regular monitoring important?

Regular monitoring and analysis of your ad campaigns are fundamental to digital marketing success. By continuously tracking your campaigns' performance, you can catch trends and fluctuations in real-time, respond promptly to changes, and make data-driven decisions that maximize your campaign's effectiveness.

On platforms like Meta/Facebook Ads and Google Ads, you can access real-time data about impressions, click-through rates, conversion rates, and more. For example, a sudden drop in your ad's click-through rate might indicate a need for better targeting or more compelling ad creative and copy. Conversely, an uptick in impressions with no change in conversions may suggest your landing page needs improvement. Regularly analyzing these metrics helps you identify problems and opportunities, adjust your strategies, and continuously improve your campaign's performance.

Poor ad performance is probably draining your budget.

Poor performance in your ad campaign is not just a missed opportunity for gaining leads or making sales; it can also significantly drain your marketing budget. Consider this: If your ad's click-through rate (CTR) falls below industry averages, you're essentially paying for impressions that aren't translating into clicks, and even less likely, conversions. Your ad creative isn't pulling its weight.

Let's take Google Ads as an example. Suppose your cost-per-click (CPC) is $2, and you're generating 1000 impressions a day, but your CTR is just 1%. That means you're spending $20 a day on clicks, but what about the 99% of users who saw your ad and didn't interact? You're essentially spending money on 990 impressions that aren't leading to any engagement.

Meta ads has some clear guidance around this:

Ads that are shown around 3 times or more tend to decline in performance, even if they were initially very successful. We recommend creating a new ad with a new image or text about once a week. Make sure to stop your previous ad before running the new one so that they don’t compete with each other.

In such cases, your marketing budget is not effectively utilized and leads to low marketing efficiency. Even if you work with an external agency for your creative work, there are some metrics you should keep in mind as a general rule of thumb. While you don't want to micromanage your agency managing your Facebook campaigns, you still need to have a handle on how they're spending your money.

Understanding this helps underline the importance of timely updates to your campaigns or shutting them down if necessary to save resources and optimize your marketing budget effectively.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that help preempt issues with your campaigns.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) serve as vital checkpoints to understand how well your campaign is performing. Different KPIs can provide insights into various aspects of your campaign. Let's dive into a few examples:

Click-Through Rate (CTR): This is the percentage of people who click on your ad after seeing it. It's a primary indicator of how attractive or relevant your ad is to the audience. A low CTR may suggest that your ad content isn't compelling enough or you're targeting the wrong audience. If CTR has gone down over time, your target audience may be experiencing creative fatigue—simply gotten tired of viewing the same ad.

Conversion Rate: This measures the percentage of users who complete a desired action after clicking on your ad, such as making a purchase or filling out a form. A low conversion rate could indicate issues with your landing page, product, or the alignment between your ad and the landing page. If you run Google Ads, you can use Airboxr to find out if your landing pages are leading to conversions/purchases. This is a good proxy to understand if the ad creative and copy on your landing pages are successful at converting users.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): This KPI tells you how much it costs to acquire a new customer through your ad campaign. A high CPA—especially on paid social—could mean your ads are not cost-effective, and you might need to reconsider your ad strategy or targeting.

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): This KPI measures the financial return on your ad expenditure. A low ROAS could indicate that your campaign is not profitable and requires adjustments or possibly termination.

Frequency: Frequency refers to how often your audience is exposed to your ads. If your audience is small (e.g., a remarketing audience targeting visitors to your website), you might end up alienating your audience by showing them the same ads too often: time to update your creative.

These KPIs, among others, offer valuable insights into your campaign's performance. Regularly tracking them helps identify areas for improvement, ensuring your campaigns are effective, profitable, and delivering the desired results within the target audience you want.

Automate Ad reports for your Shopify store.

Automate Ad reports for your Shopify store.

Automate Ad reports for your Shopify store.

Early signs that your target audience is experiencing ad fatigue

Thankfully, digital creatives are easy to measure and clearly provide hints that your audience is tired out. Here are some leading indicators you can use to keep your ad creative fresh.

Decreased Engagement Rate: Engagement rate measures how much your audience interacts with your ad. This includes actions like clicks, likes, shares, or comments. Suppose you notice your engagement rate dropped from 10% to 3% over a month. This could mean your audience finds the current ad less appealing, suggesting that it's time for an update. This could also be a sign of creative fatigue—maybe the audience has seen your creatives too often and actively ignores them when they show up on their social feed.

Lower Click-through Rate (CTR): CTR is the ratio of users who click on your ad to the number of total users who view it. If your CTR falls from an initial 4% to 1%, it implies fewer people are interested in clicking your ad, indicating that your ad content or audience targeting may need a refresh.

Higher Cost Per Click (CPC) or Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): If your average CPC rises from $1 to $2.50 or your CPA increases from $20 to $45, it means you're spending more for each click or new customer acquired. This may be a sign that your ad is less competitive and may need adjustments to improve its cost-effectiveness.

Decrease in Conversion Rate: Conversion rate is the percentage of users who perform the desired action after clicking on your ad. A decrease from 5% to 2% might indicate that your ad or landing page is less compelling, suggesting that it's time for an update.

Reduction in Quality Score in Google Ads: Google uses Quality Score to determine the relevance and quality of your ads. If your score drops from 7 to 4, it could mean your ad or landing page isn't resonating well with the targeted audience, leading to lower ad positions and higher costs.

Decreased Relevance Score in Meta/Facebook Ads: Similar to Google's Quality Score, a decrease in Facebook's Relevance Score (from, say, 8 to 5) means your ad isn't as relevant to your audience as it should be. This could lead to fewer impressions and higher costs, suggesting the need for an update.

Airboxr automatically identifies when it is time to update your ads.

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What should you do when you see signs of ad saturation?

The key is to use the levers you can control to give your campaigns a second chance. Start with these four areas which constitute most of users’ “ad fatigue”:

A/B test new ads: If you see signs that your campaign needs an update, one of the first strategies you should consider is A/B testing. Create two new versions of your ad (Ad A and Ad B), each with a single varying element. This could be the ad copy, visuals, or Call-to-Action (CTA). By running these ads simultaneously, you can determine which version resonates more with your audience, and therefore, which elements need refining in your campaign. For some platforms, you may need to duplicate your campaign instead of adding new ads on the same campaign.

Re-evaluate your targeting strategy: Another critical area to assess is your ad targeting. Are you reaching the right people? If your engagement or click-through rates are dropping, it may mean your current audience isn't responding to your ads. In this case, you might need to refine your target audience. This could involve targeting different demographics, behaviors, or interests, or experimenting with lookalike audiences on Meta/Facebook or similar audiences on Google Ads.

Optimize your landing pages: If your ads are getting clicks but conversions are low, your landing page may be the issue. You need to ensure the message and design of your landing page align with your ads. If they don't, users might be confused or disappointed and leave without converting. Test different landing page designs, layouts, and content to see what drives the most conversions.

Adjust your bidding strategy: Sometimes, the issue might be that your ads aren't getting enough visibility due to a low bid. If your ad's performance is suffering, you might need to increase your bid to compete better in the ad auction. Both Google Ads and Meta/Facebook Ads have different bidding strategies you can experiment with to optimize your ad spend.

And if all of the above fails, it may be time for a fresh start with your campaign. Oftentimes, costs of advertising are also seasonal—just ask any DTC brand what their marketing costs look like around Black Friday. So if you are seeing increasing costs and lower performance over a month, it may be prudent to slow down on your ad spend and focus on reengaging your existing users instead.

Saptarshi Nath

About the Author

Saptarshi is the CEO at Airboxr. He is a former VC, DTC entrepreneur, and consultant. He works closely with other DTC founders to help them identify the right data for their decision-making.

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