By 2020, Ad Fatigue (ad lassitudinem) is expected to cost digital publishers $27 billion. Although the in-app environment has been largely immune to Ad Fatigue, this will change as mobile ad budgets continue their migration to apps. Additionally, app users are active on other platforms.
Therefore, they are either symptomatic or already susceptible to Ad Fatigue. Only by taking measures to ensure a good user experience can publishers prevent Ad Fatigue from developing within their 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. Clinically, it is is characterized by affect instability, increased ad disturbance and decreased ad engagement.
Unfortunately, every internet user appears to possess a genetic predisposition to Ad Fatigue and culture can mediate its development. Additionally, changes in the macro digital environment have contributed to its prevalence since the release of the first digital banner in 1994.
Acutely, the micro digital environments that users visit, i.e. apps and websites, cause Ad Fatigue. For instance, properties that overexpose their users to ads either in number or frequency are particularly toxic.
Progression and prognosis
AF’s progression has three sequential phases: ad irritability, banner blindness and ad hostility. Left untreated, Acute Ad Fatigue progresses into Chronic Ad Fatigue Syndrome (CAFS).
Once a user develops CAFS, they typically employ ad blocking technology. Desktop and mobile web publishers are provided a glimmer of hope: users can be convinced to stop using the technology.
But app developers have no such hope: users will abandon the app altogether. Coupled with an abandonment rate of 25% from healthy users, Ad Fatigue presents app publishers with an existential threat.
An existential problem for app publishers
The bad news? AF has evolved to pandemic proportions. All users are exhibiting the symptoms of one of its three stages. The good news? You can take steps today that will prevent the majority of your users from developing its chronic form.
While most of the onus has been put on advertisers to prevent Ad Fatigue, ad networks need to provide publishers the tools to effectively combat it. After all, their app/s are on the chopping block once users develop AF.
To combat Ad Fatigue, publishers need an ad network that works with premium advertisers and provides an SDK equipped with engaging formats and tools to control for ad exposure.
Your ad network’s SDK is your primary tool
Relevant, non-intrusive ads ensure engagement and engagement is inversely related to Ad Fatigue. Reward Video and Native Ads are the latest research-supported ad formats that demonstrate high rates of engagement.
However, no matter how engaging the ad, users will quickly develop Ad Fatigue if they are exposed to ads too many times. Thus, publishers need to specifically control for redundancy and frequency.
With adaptive targeting, publishers can control for redundancy by preventing their users from seeing additional ads for products they’ve converted on. For frequency, day and lifetime capping allow publishers to decide how often and long users will see the same ad.
Prevent in-app Ad Fatigue today or pay for it tomorrow
Like one’s physical health, the actions that publishers take today will determine their app’s health tomorrow. Only through consistent monitoring and application of knowledge will they be able to maintain their app’s health over time.
The decisions publishers make over how they arrange their formats and control for exposure will be unique to their individual user base. Nonetheless, one thing is certain in this cross-device world: less is more and the ad network publishers partner with should allow them 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.