How to get out of the ad annoyance and ad fatigue trap

In the dynamic world of online advertising, advertisers and publishers are faced with the difficult task of finding a balance between audience attention and user experience. To maximize the effectiveness of advertising campaigns while ensuring a positive user experience, they must find ways to curb phenomena such as ad fatigue and ad annoyance.

Ad fatigue describes the decrease in response and effectiveness of an ad campaign due to repeated exposure. In other words, users become downright too tired to continue taking in advertising and its message. Ad Annoyance describes an even stronger reaction, namely negative reactions or feelings towards the advertising, which can also extend to the advertised brands. According to a YouGov/Picnic survey, more than two thirds of people find digital advertising annoying and unpleasant. Over 85% of respondents also stated that they feel overwhelmed by too many advertisements on a website and tend to ignore them. Respondents also stated that a poor advertising experience negatively affects their perception of the brand and reduces their willingness to buy. The increasing use of ad blockers is another clear sign that users are trying to protect themselves from annoying advertising. In Germany alone, 39% of users have installed an ad blocker when using the open web.

How does a negative experience with advertising come about?

Ad fatigue occurs when users become less receptive to an advertising campaign due to repeated exposure to the same or similar ads. This can lead to a decrease in key engagement metrics such as click-through rate, conversion rate and interaction time. Users who are repeatedly exposed to the same ad lose their attention and interest because they are already aware of the content or find it irrelevant. Ad Annoyance, on the other hand, occurs when advertising disrupts or impairs the user experience. This can be caused by various factors. Intrusive advertising formats such as pop-up ads that overlay the content or auto-play video ads with sound, for example, can have a negative impact on the user experience by being perceived as annoying and intrusive. In addition, irrelevant ads that are not tailored to the interests or needs of users can also lead to frustration and dissatisfaction, especially if they are displayed too frequently to the target group.

How can the advertising experience be improved?

In order to minimize ad annoyance and ad fatigue and thus maximize the effectiveness of advertising and the user experience, advertisers and publishers must apply various strategies. Firstly, intrusive ad formats should be avoided. Important resources for advertising formats that are not intrusive are provided by the iab, for example. Furthermore, advertisers must ensure that they reach the relevant target group through good targeting and limit the ad frequency. However, continuously updating ad content to keep users' attention can also help to counteract the phenomena.

One advertising approach that offers promising potential in the fight against ad fatigue and ad annoyance is Choice-Driven Advertising (CDA). CDA brings self-determination to online advertising consumption and involves people directly in the process. From a selection of four to six commercials, they can choose the one that appeals most to their current interests. This not only creates precise, organic targeting that guarantees the relevance of advertising for users. At the same time, this type of self-selection also enables organic and cross-media frequency capping, as users can decide for themselves which ads they have already seen many times on the web, on TV or out of home and consciously choose a different ad. Our annual advertising impact study shows that CDA is even perceived positively by ad blockers who actively try to avoid online advertising.

Ultimately, ad annoyance and ad fatigue are key factors that influence users' behavior and reactions to online advertising. Through targeted design and optimization of advertising campaigns, advertisers and publishers can promote a positive user experience while increasing the effectiveness of their advertising. One effective approach is CDA, which aims to foster a more positive and respectful relationship between advertisers and consumers by respecting individual preferences and improving users' control over their advertising experiences. By empowering users to make their own decisions about the advertising they are exposed to, CDA leads to more engaging, relevant and respectful advertising interactions in the digital ecosystem.