This is Why Consumers Hate Ads – And What You Can Do About It

By Alison Pfaff Jan 13, 2020

At some point, an advertisement will have led you to a new service or product that you end up purchasing. That advertisement was undoubtedly placed in the right place (online or offline), noticed by you at the right time, and may even have positively contributed to your experience with the brand. 

Advertisements aren’t all bad, but there’s no hiding the major negative perception hanging around them. Ask any of today’s consumers, and many will tell you advertising is obnoxious, pervasive, a breach of privacy, and wildly intrusive. Consumers believe ads interrupt the online user experience and that escaping them is nearly impossible. Just check out these statistics from recent consumer surveys: 

  • 33 percent of Internet users find display ads completely intolerable. (Adobe)
  • Only 14% of consumers reported that banners display ads relevant to them. (The Drum)
  • 39% of people dislike ads that target them by demographic, and 24 of those people think targeted ads are 'creepy.' (Blue Fountain Media)
  • 79% of people say, “I feel like I'm being tracked because I've seen ads for items I've bought in the past.” (VIEO Design)
  • 75% of people believe that ads have taken over their social media feeds. (Blue Fountain Media)
But not every consumer believes every ad is terrible all the time. In reality, ads still perform well for many companies and businesses; 83% of people believe “Not all ads are bad, but [they] want to filter out the really obnoxious ones.” (VIEO Design)

There’s still hope for advertising. Consumers do not dislike ads entirely; they just dislike the bad ones!

If you don’t want your target market to turn off, keep your advertisements and digital content genuine. Don’t focus your time and effort on luring consumers in with false or misleading information. Consumers do not want to feel misled or bamboozled — even 15% of people surveyed believe ads trick them into clicking! (VIEO Design). This kind of disingenuous advertising will leave a bad taste in your target audiences mouth and give them a negative impression of your brand. Keep your content real and valuable, and you will earn your target audience's trust.

Another way to annoy your target audience is to attempt to 'dumb down' your work to reach a lower common denominator audience. Remember that your product isn't for everyone and you should focus your ad dollars on people who will be the most likely purchasers or users. Revisit your target market research and your buyer personas to help guide yourself into new, smarter communication strategies. More than half (56%) of consumers already say that most online ads these days are insulting to their intelligence.

And, of course, keep all visual content looking professional. Make sure you preview and sign off on all ad placements, and only work with advertising partners who are transparent and give you creative control. An alarming 63% of survey participants say most ads they see online don't look polished. This means consumers have high standards, and value coherent, well-organized, and sharp aesthetics.

Don't let your potential customer's first interaction with your brand be a negative one!

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