How to Combat Ad Blindness (and Diminishing Returns) in Email Advertising

Email advertising is a great method for combating banner blindness and reaching the growing contingent of users who use ad blockers. But, over time, you might notice ad blindness and diminishing returns, even in your email sponsorships.

It’s a natural by-product of any advertising strategy: after prospects have heard from you enough, they get used to it and stop paying attention.

If ad blindness is starting to impact your email advertising ROI, though, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your returns bounce back and you see the engagement you’re used to from your carefully optimized ads.

Ad Blindness vs. Brand Awareness

You’ve probably heard the old marketing adage about the rule of seven. If not, it basically states that a prospect needs to see your marketing message seven times before they will take action.

While the number seven could be debated and certainly doesn’t apply in every situation, the idea is that most people who encounter your brand won’t convert the first time they encounter you.

That’s why it’s important to spread your messaging across different platforms and use tools like retargeting ads to ensure that users see your message multiple times, in multiple places.

Clearly, it’s important to repeat your advertising. At the same time, though, there comes a point of diminishing returns if you continue to run the same advertisement to the same audience.

Slowly, your audience goes blind to your message. After all, they’ve seen it before. So, how do you find the right balance of building brand awareness and avoiding ad blindness? It’s a tricky medium to find, but we’re here to help with some of the best techniques:

Combat Ad Blindness in Email Advertising

Track Your Metrics

If you want to combat ad blindness in your email advertising strategy, the most important thing you can do is track your metrics. After all, you can’t know if your ads are less effective if you don’t know how effective they once were.

Create a spreadsheet to keep track of your results from work with a given publisher. Track the send date, list size, the CPM you’re spending and the open rate, click rate, and cost per click (CPC) of each send.

Since CPM only takes into account the total amount spent, we’ve found that CPC is the best measure of the effectiveness of an email send. If you have a great CPM but low engagement, a campaign won’t prove very effective for you.

To calculate the CPC of a given campaign:

  • Multiply the number of subscribers by the publisher’s click rate (20,000 subscribers, with a 10 percent click rate = 2000 clicks expected for a campaign).
  • Figure out the total cost for a campaign (20,000 subscribers, with a $25 CPM = $500).
  • Divide the total cost of the campaign by the expected clicks ($500 / 2000 clicks = 25 cent CPC).

Track CPC over time and watch as it fluctuates for a given email list. Once it rises above a threshold you’re comfortable with, that’s the best indication that an audience is starting to go ad blind on you.

Maximize Impact with Retargeting

When you’re marketing to a given prospect to try to reach the seven touch points you need to convince them to work with you, it’s important to mix it up. If you keep reaching out to them in the same place with the same message, they will learn to ignore you very quickly.

That’s why advertisers who get the best ROI from email advertising combine their efforts with retargeting ads. When you send an email ad, for instance, you can create a custom audience based on the users that click on the link in the email.

Then, you can show ads to the users that are already familiar with your brand—and who were interested enough to click on your ad once.

Try mixing up the message you use on your retargeting ads, offering highlights of different features or showcasing a different lead magnet. By the time you send your next email ad to this audience, they’ll be much closer to converting.

Space Out Repeat Sponsorships

Whether or not you try retargeting ads for newsletter audiences, you can try spacing your sponsorships out to find the optimal time between ad sends.

While you obviously might find new relevance with readers who have seen your ads before, remember that email lists are growing all the time. If you send another ad after a few months, you’ll have a whole portion of the audience that is new to you and your brand.

It’s generally a good idea to run a few ads with a given newsletter closer together, and then take a breather for a couple months before running a couple more ads, always keeping track of your CPC.

Keep tabs on the email newsletters that have been the most successful for you to work with, and keep an eye on their list size and ongoing engagement metrics. (Sheer growth isn’t everything—keep in mind that many publishers run list pruning campaigns to keep their lists healthy and engaged.)

Then, you can send again when you feel like the list has grown enough and had a bit of a break from your brand.

Work with New Lists

Finally, you can of course combat ad blindness by finding new email newsletters to work with. Getting fresh eyes on your advertising is a great way to renew interest, boost opt-ins, and find new leads.

If you’re intimidated by the process of finding new publishing partners that may or may not work out, don’t be. At Paved, we make it easy to feel confident before you invest in a new newsletter list.

Start by finding newsletter lists related to your niche and the newsletter topics that have performed well for you in the past.

You can find related publishers by searching the Paved marketplace by niche. If you don’t use Paved, try searching “work with me” or “advertise” with keywords related to your niche.

When you find a list that seems like a good fit, ask for a media kit or browse the publisher’s Paved profile to find demographic information and engagement metrics for the email list. Check the demographics of the new list against a list that worked well for you in the past to see if the audiences are similar. Then, check open and click rates to ensure that readers are engaged with the newsletter content.

If you use Paved, there are always new publishers at your fingertips, making it easy to repeat the process and scale your email advertising strategy.

Avoid Diminishing Returns and Scale Your Email Ad Strategy

Now, you have the tools to scale your email ad strategy while ensuring the best ROI at the same time. By diversifying your publisher partnerships, retargeting interested readers, and spacing out repeat sponsorships, you can strike the all-important balance between brand awareness and ad blindness.

If you’re ready to scale your email advertising, sign up for Paved today. With a marketplace of publishers organized by niche and tailored recommendations for future partnerships, you’ll never run out of publishing partners.