May 15, 2024
Design

Overcoming Tiktok Creative Fatigue: Strategies for Maintaining Spend and Performance High

11
minutes read

Context: We own 22 apps (subscription based + ad revenue) on the App Store and spend aggressively on TikTok, Applovin & more. We produced more than 100k videos in the last 12 months and here’s what we’ve learned.

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About the author

Nikki is the Chief of Staff at Poolday where she spent her academic and professional career in the world of biotech and diagnostics. Notably, she released the world's first glycroproteomic test, and now brings her expertise in operations and strategy to Poolday!

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What is Tiktok Creative Fatigue?

Creative fatigue is one the primary pain points for every UA (User Acquisition) partner. However, we've mastered strategies to scale ads and remain profitable for multiple months (read below for more).

First, let's clarify the basics: What is creative fatigue?

In the same way that fatigue in the human body refers to exhaustion or burnout, creative fatigue on TikTok occurs when an ad has run its course. TikTok incentivizes keeping content fresh on its platform to prevent users from becoming annoyed and leaving the platform. Therefore, when advertisers run the same ad for an extended period, TikTok "punishes" the ad by increasing CPM (Cost Per Mille) and CPI (Cost Per Install) over time (unless you use the strategies we outline below). This rise in costs compels campaign managers to replace the ad, ensuring a constant stream of fresh content on TikTok.

In an ideal world, the ad you've spent countless hours and money producing would last 3-5 months on TikTok without needing changes, and result in a profitable campaign. However, more often than not, before customers work with us, their number one question is, "Why was my campaign successful for only a week before it died?"



Causes of TikTok creative fatigue

TikTok frequently updates its algorithm, meaning the exact causes of creative fatigue can vary. However, across platforms like TikTok and Facebook, creative fatigue occurs when the entire audience pool has seen your ad multiple times. The initial excitement and buzz fade, and even TikTok calls it a "death sentence" for dynamic ad content.

To combat this, TikTok offers several in-app solutions to identify creative fatigue, such as the "Smart Creative" feature, which helps users get ahead of audience fatigue. We'll share our expert insights from testing over 22 of our own apps below, but before diving into advanced strategies, start by optimising your campaigns with TikTok's Creative Checklist and built-in tools. These tools help diagnose creative fatigue, rotate assets automatically, extend the lifespan of your creative, and enable cost-effective results over extended campaign periods.

Strategies for Overcoming TikTok Creative Fatigue

We've spent around two years perfecting strategies for overcoming creative fatigue and have injected all these learnings into our platform, Poolday.ai. With Poolday.ai, app marketers can instantly produce new creatives to replace those dying ads in as little as 10 seconds. Here's what we've discovered and deployed into our own platform:



A. Small Changes Move the Needle

When an ad fatigues, the instinct is to 1) panic and 2) replace the creative immediately. Instead, try these five foolproof ways to update your existing ad in under five minutes without changing the main content:


1. Hooks

  • Visual Hooks:
    The first three seconds of an ad are critical, so update only the first three seconds by adding a popular GIF, trending video, outrageous meme, or striking image to iterate your ad without altering the core content.
tiktok-visual-hooks-difference
  • Verbal Hooks:
    Instead of starting your ad with "I just found this useful app," try something more captivating like "Stop scrolling!" There are always top-performing hooks that captivate TikTok's audience (these change monthly, so stay updated). Refresh your ad by incorporating them.


Pro Tip: You don't have to re-create the entire video. Simply:

  • Stitch another hook from the same actor from another creative onto your high-performing one.
  • Use a voiceover platform to generate the audio of the hook quickly.

2. Read the Caption

  • Captions:
    Don't just read the TikTok caption next time; observe everything that makes up a successful caption. Change the font of your captions, background color behind your text, or the color of your captions to quickly refresh your creative.
  • Use tools like Poolday.ai or CapCut to quickly change your captions in seconds and keep your ad from decaying.
tiktok-caption-differences

3. Music Isn't Just Entertaining

  • We've tested thousands of sounds, from country to EDM to hip-hop, on our own apps and found that each app has a background sound that works for its audience. Find yours and keep updating it!
  • Try a trending song from TikTok for a month, then switch it up by adding a generic background sound from Artlist.

Learn More: How to Effectively Iterate with Content Creators for UA

4. Voiceovers

  • AI Voices:
    Hearing Obama's voice on a 30-year-old woman would make anyone do a double take. Similarly, use any text-to-speech software to dub your script in a different language, person, pitch, or accent.

5. Animations and Tricks

  • Add an Instagram comment (you can easily make one on PowerPoint or actually screenshot a comment from your ad) to your existing creative. This not only refreshes your ad but also shows existing engagement to a new audience.
tiktok-animation-instagram-comment
  • Similarly, add animations, transitions, or sounds to spruce up your content and engage your audience. TikTok rewards high-stimulus videos, so adding a moving emoji across your screen at the beginning of your video can only amplify your existing creative.
tiktok-animation-animation-emojis-sounds

If you want to keep using the same creative and are determined to squeeze everything out of an existing ad, we recommend that experienced campaign managers duplicate a winning ad into a new ad set. This strategy allows the ad to land in a different pocket of the algorithm. Although tricky, it can yield positive results, which is why you sometimes see identical ads in different ad sets performing differently.

But be careful with this approach because duplicating doesn't always mean you'll get the same results. Your "winning" campaign has been optimised within a hot pocket of your target audience.

That's why we suggest making the small tweaks outlined above to ensure your creative maintains its momentum and stays fresh—all in under five minutes. This approach will help you save time and prolong your ad's longevity.


Tools and Resources for Sustaining Creativity and Innovation

If you've read the strategies above for overcoming creative fatigue, you might be wondering, "Do I have to do all this manually?" or "Will I have to message my video editor every time an ad starts fatiguing in a campaign?" The good news is that we're sharing the same tools we use to make quick iterations with our ad.

  1. Poolday.ai
    Not to toot our own horn, but we've taken the learnings from the past two years and injected them into Poolday. Through this self-serve platform, you can change anything about a creative in under 10 seconds. Whether it's the music, hook, captions, actor, or just one word of the script—you name it, the platform can change it.

  2. ElevenLabs
    ElevenLabs has improved dramatically over the past six months. They offer voices from different age groups, countries, moods, and styles. Don't like one of their voices (unlikely)? You can create your own custom voice that you can use for every ad that is fatiguing. You can even take it a step further and tweak the pitch, stability, or similarity of your existing voice used in your ad.

  3. TikTok's Built-in Tools
    TikTok has a myriad of underrated in-app tools. Their video editor TikTok Video Editor provides hundreds of video templates with pre-made visual hooks that can be easily added to the first three seconds of your video. Their creative assistant Creative Assistant brainstorms ideas with you, and their script generator Script Generator can write hundreds of hooks for you.

tiktok-built-in-tools
  1. Envato / Artlist
    Finding non-copyrighted music can be a hassle, so we typically use tools like Envato to find royalty free music, or the Artlist Podcast Collection to quickly refresh creatives with new background music or sounds. We recommend testing 10 completely different sounds from different genres on one creative to see which sound works best for your ad!

  2. Giphy
    Adding a GIF to the first three seconds of your video is an easy way to keep audiences interested. Use GIFs that follow movie trends, or get weird and try completely out-of-the-box GIFs to boost performance.

Learn More: Popular TikTok Trends UA: Horror story of our video blowing up through a trend

Conclusion

Having managed 22 apps on the App Store and produced over 100,000 videos in the last 12 months, we've learned valuable lessons about creative fatigue. Small changes can make a significant impact, especially when you have easy-to-use tools like Poolday.ai and TikTok's built-in features. By combining strategic tweaks with innovative resources, you can maintain your creative momentum and keep your campaigns profitable. Remember, it's not about reinventing the wheel but making thoughtful adjustments that refresh and sustain your ads.

About us:

Poolday.ai is a self-serve platform enabling performance marketers to generate videos in any language and style instantly using our AI actors. Rapidly A/B test anything alongside existing gameplay recordings to produce a wide range of video styles — from green screen to floating heads, to organic looks—comparable to what real content creators make.

Increase ROI on user acquisition and boost operational efficiency by cutting out the need to coordinate with content creators, giving marketers complete control over the script and style of the video.

About the author

Nikki is the Chief of Staff at Poolday where she spent her academic and professional career in the world of biotech and diagnostics. Notably, she released the world's first glycroproteomic test, and now brings her expertise in operations and strategy to Poolday!

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