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New Year, New Advertising Strategy: Do a Health Check on Existing Ads

By: Jennifer Carey

Everything has an expiration date.

  • A typical laptop will last approximately 3-4 years.
  • The average dating relationship lasts just under 3 years.
  • Mascara will usually dry up after 4 months.
  • A standard incandescent light bulb lasts 42 days.
  • Your car’s oil should be changed every 3 months.
  • The average banana will go bad after 7 days.

Nothing lasts forever; this includes your creative business materials, specifically the ads you’re running in magazines, journals, newspapers and online. How long should you keep running a single ad or campaign? At what point do people stop noticing it?

The effectiveness of an ad is measured by frequency. To attain an effective frequency rate, you should expose your audience to at least four ad viewings and no more than eight in a 12 month time period.

The point at which an ad loses its effectiveness is called “wear-out.” If a reader consistently sees an ad in the same outlet week after week or month after month, they will stop noticing it and tune it out. The ad will no longer have the ability to capture the reader’s attention; it will lose its ability to generate a response, causing you to spend ad dollars with diminishing returns.

The best way to fend off wear-out is to rotate ads with different designs and layouts that share the same message strategy. For this reason, we recommend an ad campaign rather than a single ad running over and over again.

The Identity creative team recommends campaigns be refreshed or re-done at least once a year to avoid wear-out – and the start of a new year is a perfect time to revisit your current ad program. Running campaigns will stretch your ad budget further, increase ROI and create more effective campaigns.