4 ways advertising still goes wrong in 2022 (Updated)

We live in a day and age where, realistically, anyone could get on their laptop and begin creating and running ads.

It’s easier than ever to get into advertising, and this also allows many small businesses to create their own ads instead of needing to hire someone.This low barrier of entry allowing so many people to live their dreams is fantastic, but because it is so low it can be easy to get started before one is truly ready. Below, I’ve outlined 4 ways that advertising goes wrong on a regular basis, as well as how to avoid making these same errors.

1. Research

The most time-consuming part of any successful advertising campaign is the research that goes into it. However, this step is often skipped since the other steps are so much more exciting. An example of when this step has gone wrong is if you’ve ever seen an ad on social media that you felt did not apply to you. Due to how narrow one can make the targeting on social media advertising, if an ad isn’t showing to the right audience then that advertiser probably rushed through the research phase of figuring out who the best audience for this ad would be.

Avoiding this mistake can be difficult as there is always more to know, but the ads do need to be made eventually. As a rule of thumb, you at least need to keep researching until you can reliably answer these questions about the campaign:

  • Who stands to benefit the most from my product or service?
  • Where/When am I reliably able to find these people?
  • What type of message is best suited to the medium and audience I have chosen? (For example, sometimes a carousel ad is needed, while others a purely text ad is best.)
  • What copywriting will resonate best with my chosen audience?

design working on UI concept sketches
Photo by Amélie Mourichon

2. Creativity

Too much Creativity - Everyone has heard that you need to be creative to succeed in advertising, and this is mostly true. However,just because there is something that no one else is doing does not always mean that it’s the correct creative move. Sometimes the reason no one else is doing something is because that thing is just bad.

For this reason, it is almost as important to be able to evaluate your own creations.Sometimes taking a step back and deciding whether this highly creative idea can help you meet your goals can be the difference between a failed and successful campaign.

Too little creativity – This one is easy to point out but harder to rectify. Using similar messaging as everyone else is a really good way to make sure that no one ever remembers your ad but finding the best way to stand out isn’t always easy.

Ideally, you find information during your research stage that helps with this. If you manage to find a hole in the market to position yourself in it is a lot easier to have ads that make you stand out. If you don’t have that option but are still struggling with creativity, incorporating your brand’s history can make it a lot easier to be unique.

3. Empathy

A lot of advertising that fails to resonate does so because the author of the ad stopped seeing their audience as real people. If you’re not careful, it can be a slippery slope from writing an ad tailored to the target audience to writing an ad so dense that no one would want to read it.

Now that advertising can be so personalized, it’s best to treat it as a conversation between two people. A good method of doing so is to create customer personas. Essentially, you create a false identity that is the amalgamation of your audience’s traits and interests. You take note of where this person would be most likely to see your ads as well as other things such as their hobbies and demographics. Imagining your audience as “Jamie, the craft beer enthusiast”makes it much easier to empathize with who you are talking to.

Digital billboard advertisements cycling in an urban scene
Photo by Eleni Afiontzi

4. Implementation

The part where the ad gets built is the most technical part of the entire process, but on the bright side that makes it the easiest part to teach as well. Since so much of the digital ad building process can be handled by programs, a simple box left unchecked could lead to disaster.

Mistakes like this can be mitigated with careful study and organization. If you’re new to advertising, many websites offer free courses on how to properly build ads for their site.There’s also a myriad of YouTube tutorials that could help as well. Once you’ve learned the basics, it can be useful to build a checklist that can be used when building your future campaigns. Having this accountability helps ensure that no small step is overlooked.

Advertising certainly isn’t easy, but if you keep these mistakes in mind when you’re building out your next campaign, you’ll probably end up a lot happier with your results.

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Header Photo by Sarah Kilian

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