Ad Fatigue (ad lassitudinem) is expected to cost digital publishers $27 billion by 2020. Although the in-app environment has largely been immune to Ad Fatigue, this will change as mobile ad budgets continue their migration to apps.
App users don’t operate in a vacuum: they are active on other platforms and already susceptible to Ad Fatigue. By taking measures to ensure a good user experience, you can prevent Ad Fatigue from developing within your user base and extending to the greater digital environment.
What is ad fatigue and what causes it?
Ad Fatigue (AF) is a psychobehavioral syndrome with genetic, cultural and environmental factors. Its clinical presentation is characterized by affect instability, increased ad disturbance and decreased ad engagement.
Every internet user appears to be genetically predisposed to Ad Fatigue and culture can mitigate or mediate its development. Changes in the macro digital environment have contributed to its prevalence since the release of the first digital banner in 1994.
Acutely, Ad Fatigue is caused by the micro digital environments that users visit, i.e. apps and website. For instance, properties that overexpose their users to ads either in number or frequency are particularly toxic.
Ad Fatigue’s progression and prognosis
AF’s progression can be separated into three phases: ad irritability, banner blindness and ad hostility. Left untreated, Acute Ad Fatigue progresses into Chronic Ad Fatigue Syndrome (CAFS).
Once CAFS is developed, users employ ad blocking technology. Desktop and mobile web publishers are provided a glimmer of hope as users can be convinced to stop using the technology, at least temporarily.
But app developers are provided no such hope: users will abandon the app altogether. With healthy users abandoning apps at a rate of 25% alone, Ad Fatigue presents app publishers with a clear and present danger.
Ad Fatigue is a publisher’s problem
The bad news? AF has evolved to pandemic proportions as all users are beginning to demonstrate its signs and symptoms. The good news? You can take steps today that will prevent the majority of your users from developing it.
While most of the onus has been put on advertisers to prevent Ad Fatigue, publishers need to be provided the tools to effectively combat it. After all, it’s your app/s that are on the chopping block once users develop AF.
To successfully combat Ad Fatigue, you need an ad network that works with premium advertisers and provides an SDK equipped with engaging formats and tools to control for ad exposure.
What to look for in your SDK
Relevant ads that are unintrusive ensure engagement, which is inversely related to Ad Fatigue. The latest research-supported ad formats that demonstrate high rates of engagement are Reward Video and Native Ads.
Even engaging ads need to be controlled for exposure. No matter how engaging the ad, Ad Fatigue will quickly set in if your user is exposed to ads too many times. Thus, you need to control for redundancy and frequency.
With adaptive targeting, you control for redundancy by preventing your users from seeing additional ads for products they’ve converted on. For frequency, day and lifetime capping allow you to decide how often and long users will see the same ad.
Prevent in-app Ad Fatigue today or pay for it tomorrow
Like your physical health, your actions today will determine your app’s health tomorrow. Only through consistent monitoring and application of knowledge will you be able to maintain your app’s health over time.
Your decisions over how you arrange your formats and control for exposure will be unique to your user base. In a cross-device world, one thing is certain: less is more and your ad network should allow you to do more with less.
Give your app and ad network’s SDK a check-up today. Otherwise, the only indication that your user base has developed AF will be when their numbers have inexplicably and unexpectedly plummeted…never to return.
Kyle Buzzell is a Content Manager at Adcash, he draws from his years of experience in psychology and sales to plan, research, and write content. He enjoys content in all forms and is in a constant state of learning to ensure that the content he produces is relevant and entertaining.