Avoid Making These 5 Advertising Blunders

Kimberly Tan

Advertising is tricky. Trying to stand out in a sea of sameness is easier said than done. From budget and ad creatives to selecting the right target audience and ad spaces, all that chaos can cause slip-ups. Take heed of these costly advertising mistakes so you don’t repeat them.

Advertising is important in pushing your brand out there, and it’s not all fun and creativity. A well-executed ad stems from comprehensive planning, which includes carefully-researched information and taking these factors into account: the brand, the product, budget, ad campaign duration, target audience, and the end goal(s). Startups and SMEs simply can’t afford to make big mistakes in their ad campaigns, as it can be a pricey affair. You wouldn’t want to pour your efforts, money, and resources down the drain. Here is our list of common advertising blunders you should be aware of.

1. Poor Research

Before mapping out your ad campaign plan, ask yourself this: What is the purpose of this campaign? Boost brand awareness, generate leads, increase sales – get a firm handle on your advertising objectives before moving on from plan to action. Doing so will provide clarity for your team, as the execution plan will depend on the goals you aim to meet. In the age of social media, it’s easy to fall into the hype of recreating a viral ad concept just because other brands are jumping on the bandwagon. Bear in mind, the companies behind these attention-grabbing ads have done their own research before churning out their ad campaigns. What worked for them may not necessarily work for your business.

2. Not Establishing Trackable Key Metrics

So, your video hit 1 million views. Your recent post racked up over 1,000 social shares. These figures are indeed impressive. You may be getting the clicks or visits, but the traffic is not converting as you envisioned (or worse, none). Here’s the truth about advertising in this digital era: an ad’s success is not determined by its virality. Comments and responses can only do so much to influence your target audience to take the desired actions.

Therefore, setting performance metrics for your ad campaigns is vital. Of course, these metrics must be measurable, for example achieve XX sales within XX months. By tracking your results, you’ll be able to optimise your ads to boost conversions.

3. Lack Of Effective Call-to-Action (CTA)

A call-to-action is quite plainly, a “call” for your customers to take “action”. Customers can be complacent, so CTAs are deployed to persuade them to make a decision. How to make your CTAs stronger?

  •       Create a sense of urgency. Use phrases like “Today only”, “Less than 24 hours left”, or “Buy now” to drive customers to act ASAP.
  •       Go straight to the point. Don’t add unnecessary fluff. Tell customers what you want them to do after viewing your ads: “visit website”, “follow on social media”, “subscribe newsletters for more deals”, etc.   
  •       Make it pop. Depending on the media you choose to advertise on, make sure your CTA stands out visually and verbally.

Sometimes, advertisers get too engrossed in producing stunning and engaging content that they overlook the importance of CTAs, aka forgetting to sell. Sure, your advertisements may go viral, but without a clear direction on the next course of action, will your customers be compelled to check out what you have to offer? Probably not.

4. Not Defining Your Target Audience

As much as you want your new product or service to be universally appealing, the fact remains that not everyone is going to be sold on your innovations. Casting a wide net to multiple customer segments seems like a viable idea, but it could backfire. You may capture a large number of new customers from broad advertising. However, the numbers are more likely to dwindle as they go through the sales funnel, and you’ll end up with only a fraction of customers converting. Knowing your target audience is all about understanding their demographics and buying patterns. This invaluable data enables you to craft effective ad campaigns for successful audience targeting and messaging, thus raising your conversion rate.

5. Using Unsupported Claims

One of the reasons why businesses splurge on advertisements is to make their product or service desirable in the eyes of potential customers. Common advertising tactics include the usage of puffery and superlative subjective terms like “smartest”, “organic”, “best”, and “fastest”. Then again, there is a fine line between overhyping your products and making unsubstantiated claims without sufficient facts and figures to support them. Deceptive advertising is a big no-no. Not only could it land you in hot water with the law, you’re also putting your brand’s reputation at risk of losing public trust.

No doubt, you’ll have some missteps along the way as you navigate the world of advertising. The whole “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” maxim? It’s not true. Have you been paying attention to social media over the last decade? All it takes is one poorly executed advertisement to cause a reputational backlash. In a nutshell, it all comes down to planning and execution. Do them well, and you won’t find yourself committing any advertising mistakes.