Sascha Bonomally, Head of Performance Atomic 212°, ran the rule over 6,500 creatives that ran on Facebook and Instagram over the last 12 months – and finds some interesting implications for those running social campaigns. The optimal campaign length is longer than a month. Which means a lot of brands are wasting money and missing out on growth by hitting eject too soon.

Creative fatigue is a term that gets thrown around a lot in meetings, generally being one of the first reasons suggested for a social campaign that may not be getting the required results in the desired time.

It’s not an unreasonable suggestion, based on the entirely logical notion that people scrolling through Instagram or Facebook have seen your ad so many times that it’s simply failing to achieve any cut-through.

Audiences get sick of seeing the same stuff over and over, no question, and eventually you need to change your creative up if you’re going to continue to see results.

But while the advice is to change out creatives regularly, surely we can be a bit more accurate with our timeline than ‘regularly’?

The question of how often we need to be changing creatives has also shifted as a result of changes to Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP). Meta’s platform no longer offers the same audience specificity of a few years ago, meaning creative is taking longer to really find its sweet spot with the desired audience.

So, in order to get a more accurate answer to the question of regularity, I looked at over 6,500 creatives that ran across the Meta platforms in the last 12 months. The creatives ran across multiple verticals and formats in the Australian market, all with a goal of on onsite conversion.

As a result, what follows is based on an average of all ads analysed and will vary based on type of campaign, campaign goal, creative strength, offer strength, formats and vertical.

But it does, nonetheless, give us an idea of the state of the Meta algorithm and the effectiveness of ad rotation.

To start, we often use click-through rate (CTR) as a metric for how engaged the audience is with our ads. The data here suggests that after 15 days, we see a plateau:

But CTR is not the main KPI of any campaign – or at least it shouldn’t be. There is a learning phase that creatives go through where clicks to site might be strong but Facebook hasn’t been able to identify converting users yet.

So, I plotted Cost and Cost Per Lead (CPL) from the campaign launch day to observe the decay:

I was slightly surprised to see how long it took (seven days) before CPLs reached their lowest point. Although, I have noticed Facebook prompting me to opt back into ads tracking lately, so it does make sense.

From the 6.5k ads I looked at, 13% of them had finished within seven days and were therefore missing out on efficiencies.

Obviously stopping before you reach the lowest cost per lead is a mistake, but don’t let the fact the optimum efficiency is reached after seven days confuse you into thinking you should simply trade out your creatives once a week either. It took seven days to get to that lowest point for CPL, but that efficiency is going to have a tail that’s worth sticking around for.

But how long will it be?

To try and answer the optimal campaign length, I had to use a Cost Per Cumulative Leads metric. This factors in the learning period as well as the efficiencies gained afterwards to identify the lowest total campaign CPL:

This analysis suggests that the optimal campaign length is between 35 and 40 days.

So we’re looking at a period of more than five weeks before we should start to change creative so as to avoid it going past its saturation point with your audience.

A large portion of the 6,500 creatives analysed ran for a shorter period of time, meaning these campaigns were hitting the ‘fatigue’ button before they needed to and thus ejecting creatives that were probably still doing a reasonable job – certainly a better job than a brand-new campaign that’s in its learning phase again.

It’s an exercise worth doing for your own campaigns, with obvious savings to be made by having fewer changes that need to be briefed, implemented and analysed, as well as implications for flash sales and key short-term events and offers.

Article originally published on Mi3