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Commercial Wearout definition

Advertising billboard. (© Georgejmclitte -

Advertising billboard. (© Georgejmclitte -

If you are involved in marketing or advertising, then you may have heard the term commercial wearout. Even if you’re not familiar with the term itself, you are likely familiar with the phenomenon, because as a consumer you have experienced commercial wearout yourself.

In this article, we are going to cover commercial wearout completely, including what it is and how you can avoid it.

The Definition of Commercial Wearout

The first thing that we will cover is the actual definition of commercial wearout. Commercial wearout happens when consumers have seen an ad or marketing message too many times. What happens is that an ad that has been effective in the past becomes much less so down to the point where it has zero effectiveness or even has a negative impact on those that are viewing it or hearing it.

openPR tip: Advertisers have to walk a fine line between getting the most for an advertisement that was expensive to produce and preventing commercial wearout, especially the kind of commercial wearout that ends up having a negative impact on the company. They do this through a number of ways, including some tricky math; but the most common way that advertisers know when to pull their advertisements is through experience.

Types of Wearout

Let’s take a look at some of the various types of commercial wearout that are out there, categorized by the type of medium that the advertising companies using.

  • Television: television is a big one. If you have a television commercial that was expensive to produce, in your broadcasting across multiple networks, there is a good chance that someone is going to see it several times. You have to know how many times the average person is going to see it before you pull it, and what that time frame is, as well as how many times they can see it before it starts having a negative impact.
  • Radio: radio is another one. Although radio commercials are a lot less expensive to produce, local businesses can sometimes run the same ad over and over again on the same radio station. This becomes a problem for people to listen to that station all day because they hear the same ad over and over. This is bad for the advertiser, but is also bad for the station.
  • Web Advertising: when it comes to web advertising, there is probably an ad that you can think of that you saw over and over until you were so sick of it that you started avoiding the websites that was posted on. This happens a lot in web advertising because the number of times that the ad is shown is measured in thousands. This is known as CPM or cost per mille. Advertising companies charge by each one thousand views that an ad gets.
  • Social Media Posts: you also need to be careful when it comes to social media posts. Even if you’re not tweeting or posting the exact same content over and over again, if you are posting about particular product or service that you have in you are varying little in each form of tweet or post, people are going to get sick of it very fast and you’re going to start losing followers and having people remove your ads from their timeline.
  • Online Videos: online videos do not have a problem with this very often because usually a person controls whether or not they watch a video again. However, when this does happen online it is usually because of a pre-roll ad that is running before video. These pre-roll ads are bedded on, and if an advertiser has bid a low amount, they may only get featured on certain videos which can turn into déjà vu after a while.
  • Pop-Ups: another major contributor to commercial wearout is the pop up ad. Although many users use blocking software to prevent most pop-ups, including those that are already embedded in a browser, there are still pop-ups and other types of web advertising that is shown over and over again. The reason that these are so harmful to companies is that they are annoying on their own because of commercial wearout, but when combined with the annoyance of a pop up bad or new tab, they become even more annoying.