Ad Blindness – Why You Need to Refresh Your Facebook and Instagram Ads Regularly

Ad Blindness – Why You Need to Refresh Your Facebook and Instagram Ads Regularly

Stale dental ads on social media can seriously impact campaign performance – here’s why….

Here at Dental Media we manage a lot of Facebook and Instagram advertising for dentists with excellent results. Part of the investment dentists make when working with us is directed towards a key part of managed campaigns known as “ad refresh”. But what is this and why is ad refresh necessary to ensure social media advertising campaigns like this remain effective? Let’s take a closer look.

Stale ads and the concept of ad blindness

Advertising on Facebook and Instagram is very visual and relies on great images and/or video to engage new dental patients. Highly tuned ads like these can be targeted to reach appropriate demographics across social channels and when done well, the returns can be exceptional.

However, the performance of the campaigns is very reliant on the ads remaining fresh and engaging. Where an ad is shown a number of times to the same person, a phenomenon known as “ad blindness” occurs. This basically means that even though the person is still “seeing” the ad in their feed, they essentially disregard it because it no longer stimulates interest. Effectively the ad is now stale and its ability to perform is significantly reduced.

How do we know when ad blindness is likely to start occurring?

Fortunately Facebook provides a set of monitoring tools which allow us to evaluate various aspects of how your social ads perform. One of these metrics tells us how often an ad has been viewed on average and we can use this information to predict when ads need to be “refreshed” i.e. changed.

If ads are not refreshed when the viewing thresholds are exceeded, what we typically see is that performance starts to fall away quite significantly – this is not really surprising as the ads are now effectively being dismissed by those who have seen them several times before.

How can ads be updated to avoid ad blindness?

Firstly, this does need to be a scheduled process and part of a consistent review of the ad performance. As soon as measurements indicate performance is falling away, a refresh will likely be necessary. Remembering that ad campaigns on social media are very visual, it follows that one of the main elements to consider is the visuals which support the ads.

So typically we will change out images for different versions and also edit key elements of the text headlines – effectively building a new ad. Additionally we will review the offers and incentives which accompany the ads and see how these can be adjusted to encourage new engagement.

What do we see after a campaign has been refreshed?

As you’d expect, a refreshed campaign can be a real boost to performance and we typically see resurgence in enquiries after a stale campaign has been upgraded. The value of the new enquiries easily off-sets the additional cost needed to re-work the campaigns making the investment well-worthwhile. We illustrate the effects of this as well as discussing the ad strategy in our regular client reporting.

What does it cost to refresh an ad set?

Given that a typical ad set may incorporate 4 or 5 different ad versions, it can take several hours for a complete refresh. So you should expect fees commensurate with this. In some cases, the cost of upgrades such as this will be covered in the monthly management fees.

It is also possible to hold old ads unpublished in your account, effectively forming a library for possible use in the future. After a period of time, older ads can be re-introduced where the possibility of ad blindness associated with them has receded.

A word on landing pages

When your ads are refreshed, you should also check to make sure that your landing pages are still relevant, particularly where an offer or pricing has been changed. You don’t want a potential new patient being directed to a landing page and finding different information to what they saw on your ad.


A crucial part of running successful social media advertising for dentists is to recognise the need for and carry out ad refreshes at the appropriate time. Without this, campaigns can become stale and ineffective quite quickly as user “ad blindness” builds up.

If you need help with dental social media ads and are struggling to get started, please get in touch with our team on 01332 672548 for guidance and support.