Facebook Audience Fatigue: What is it and what can you do about it?

by | Nov 10, 2016 | Facebook, Social Media Marketing Tips

“It’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to every guy and it is a big deal!”
– Rachel Green.

Facebook Audience FatigueListen, we’re all friends here. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Whatever problem you have, you can share it with us. I can guarantee we’ve seen it all before and we will have a solution for you.

I’ll go first…

Facebook Audience Fatigue is something that has been driving me crazy for the past few months. I have done a gazillion searches, read hundreds of blogs, watched hours and hours of video, attended conferences, spoken to reps… and this article is the culmination of all the advice I’ve been given. Consider it my “cliff notes” gift to you.

I have to admit, usually, we keep our articles actionable and practical. No theory, just the real how-to’s, rather than pie-in-the-sky ideals. Not today. Since I’m still suffering the dreaded Audience Fatigue, I can’t yet guarantee how effective any of these strategies will be. But given the number of experts who have recommended these tips (and my graying hair) I’m keeping everything crossed that these solutions work for me and for you.

Keep your eye out for the risky strategy we are trying out right now, coming up later in this article.

Let’s backtrack a little…

What is Facebook Audience Fatigue?

When an email file stagnates, and even the most aggressive lift note doesn’t generate a buzz, you know you have a problem. All the people on your list who were going to buy, have bought. You are left with some very loyal email subscribers who enjoy reading your free content, but who aren’t interested in paying a dime to you.

What do you do?

Perhaps you rest the list. Perhaps you work hard on growing it, flooding it with new, fresh names.

When we talk about “Audience Fatigue” in Facebook, we are referring to audiences on FB who, much like your email file, get sick of seeing your promotions. In fact, they get sick of seeing you all together.

Since FB audiences are limited (although they may be many times bigger than your email file), lookalikes still have a maximum reach – there are only a certain number of people who “look alike” to the list you uploaded.

Known audiences, like website visitors and page fans, are usually much smaller (by their nature) and can tire of seeing your promotions incredibly quickly.

And it is this that leads to Audience Fatigue. 

But note: You may have heard of Ad Fatigue. This is  when an ad has been live for a while and needs refreshing because the audience you are showing it to are getting bored of it. But Audience Fatigue happens when they are tired of seeing ALL of your ads.

So how do you know you’re suffering from Audience Fatigue, and what can you do about it?

Tell-tale Symptoms of Audience Fatigue: 

  • New ads will not help Audience Fatigue. You might see a day or two of positive results before they drop right back down.
  • Ever-increasing CPA’s.
  • Decreasing Conversion Rates (remember, you have to work this out yourself, the FB platform doesn’t have a column for that…)
  • You won’t necessarily see this (we don’t because of how we split our audiences) but you might see a high frequency — 4 and above should cause alarm bells for you. (You can add “Frequency” as a column in your FB Ad Manager results view.)

Image Title: How to find Frequency in FB

How to Cure Audience Fatigue on Facebook?

Marketers are yet to find the super-drug to fix Audience Fatigue, but we do have a few treatments you can try, plus one high-risk strategy we are trying right now…

  1. Get creative with your audiences:

If you’re already creating Lookalikes, you’re probably doing so off of your buyer file (gold star for you). But consider getting more creative with your audiences in order to diversify who you show your ads to. Here are some suggestions:

  • Lookalikes of the people who log into your “members only” area of your website.
  • Lookalikes of your most valuable buyers, like backend buyers (or VIPs, or bundle buyers, or conference attendees…)
  • Lookalikes of your most valuable web traffic: FB has a fairly new feature. You can now target the top 25% of visits to your website. You can then create a lookalike off this top 25%. They are likely to be your most engaged (more later…) visitors as it’s based on time on site.
  • Lookalikes of your most engaged readers. You’ll be hearing A LOT more about this topic in future. Engagement is BIG right now (and not in the ‘it’s-fluffy-business-BS-so-we-should-talk-about-it’ way, but in a ‘it’s-delivering-real-results’ kind of way). By taking your most engaged email readers, the ones who open, you are probably replicating the ones most likely to buy from you, but the scale will be much bigger than your actual buyer file.
  • Interests; not to be dismissed since Lookalikes took all the glory… Interests may have a lower ROI, but they should have a much wider reach than any lookalike file you can create.

But beware: Use the Audience Overlap tool to check how much your audiences overlap, and if you have a big enough “unique” number, make sure each audience is excluded from the other (much like excluding dupes when email marketing).

Facebook Audience Overlap Tool

Facebook Audience Overlap Tool

AIM TIP: You should aim for 20% or less overlap (based on the advice of our FB rep.)

  1. Use a range of ad formats: 

FB users are each given a score behind the scenes. And their score is dependent on how many ‘funnels’ they entered via FB, how many check-out pages they reached and many more factors. What’s more, FB also decides what the user is most likely to engage with in order to get them to take action. So if you’re a serial video watcher, FB will most likely show you more video ads than text ads.

Showing a range of formats — video, text, canvas, lead ads — to your audiences will create variety. In this case, we’re not looking to make one format a ‘control.’ Instead, we are just offering up different ad formats to different people depending on how they best digest content on FB. The idea is that hopefully, the variety of ad formats you are showing them will compensate somewhat for the amount of times they are seeing your ads, preventing them from tiring.

  1. Consider a Passion Page 

A while back we wrote about ‘Passion Pages‘; a page created purely to sell one ‘big idea,’ generate a buzz around a topic, or create a community of like-minded people.

In this instance, a passion page would allow you to start running ads from a different page name. For instance, instead of “Agora Integrated Marketing,” we might create a passion page for “Digital Innovation Summit.” This would have a new description and profile picture.

From there, we can start running new ads for our conference, to people who may have gotten tired or bored of seeing ads from Agora Integrated Marketing.

  1. Make sure your audiences are kept up-to-date

Yes, we know this one is admin-heavy, but it’s important. That’s why we created a tool to help you keep your audiences 100% up-to-date, every single day. Just ask us for a demo.

One High-risk Strategy We Are Trying Right Now

All of the above being said, if your audience still feels like a bucket of wet fish, it might be time to do something drastic. This one is something I’m hearing about from several sources including some heavy hitters in the FB community.

Sometimes referred to as a “Verticalized Funnel” or “Multi-touch point marketing,” the principal here is to be a little less direct, to deliver something that resembles content before then pushing hard for a conversion.

The idea is that you start by creating an ‘Engaged’ audience at the top of the funnel. This works well for businesses who have a really ‘big idea’ that needs time to resonate with their audience (because you don’t know what you don’t know…).

Your ‘Engagement’ campaign goal should be exactly that — engagement only. Once you have seen some kind of engagement (meaning they watched a video, or they opened your canvas or lead ad), you then can target those engaged users with your conversion campaigns. This campaign goal will be conversions, and your ads will be much more direct in asking for a sign up or delivering on a promise if they click/convert.

Facebook Audience Engagement Model:

Facebook Audience Engagement Model

Once this strategy is proven out, the idea should be that we can roll out “Engagement” campaigns across many different audiences, including the riskier interest or demographic audiences.

We can also experiment with more creative types of video engagement ad. You might consider:

  • Editors discussing the day or week’s issues, using content from the free e-letter.
  • Longer more ‘infomercial’ style ads – I’d recommend 60 seconds plus to really measure engagement.
  • Video testimonials may work for some businesses.

And finally, a note on Canvas ads: You might not have resources, time or equipment to knock-up a 60+ second, engaging video ad. But any e-letter content you have can be placed in a Canvas ad. You can drive traffic to this based on “Engagement” just as you can a video ad. You can then create an audience of the people who opened your Canvas ad and another for those who clicked, and target them with conversion-focused campaigns.


It’s worth remembering that the engagement campaign might increase your CPA since you’re paying once for the audience to see your video or Canvas, and again to get them to convert. But I’d be inclined to treat it as an effective remarketing strategy, accepting that CPA might be higher. But the ROI is also likely to be higher, since the audience is more engaged and arguably more conditioned to see and react to your ad.

We are just starting to test this on a small Canvas campaign, and we will definitely share our results with you once we are certain we have something significant to say.

If you are suffering with Facebook Audience Fatigue and you’ve tried the measures above, or need a little help along the way, get in touch. I’d be happy to walk you through these strategies and any others.

Natalie - Signature

Account Manager, AIM