Why Aren’t My Ads Working?

Are you running digital ads, spending money, and not seeing the results you want?  You’re not alone.  It is all too common for companies to spend money inefficiently on digital advertising. 

Digital ads on sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook can be very useful and bring in a great return on your investment.  But not if you’re making any of these common mistakes. If your digital ads aren’t working for you, read on to see where you might be going wrong.

1. Too creative 

This may sound like a weird one.  Marketing is all about being creative and standing out from your competitors, right?  Yes, to a certain extent.  However, especially with digital advertising when people may be scrolling quickly and not devoting much time or attention, you also want to make sure your ads are clear and easy to understand.  If you try to get “too creative” so to speak, viewers may not understand what you’re advertising right away, and are unlikely to devote the time to figure it out.  Be creative, catch your viewers’ attention, but don’t take it too far to the point where you’re confusing people instead of roping them in.

2. Too much text 

Another piece of advice for your ad creative itself. You want your ads to be image-first, not text-first.  A small amount of text can be a great addition to your photos or videos, helping to explain or clarify your offerings for viewers.  However, study after study has found that the imagery of an ad or post is what catches peoples’ attention first. You want to focus in the visual appeal of your ads first and foremost.  If you’re running ads that are too text-heavy, they’re likely getting skipped over by potential customers. Cut back on the text, let the photos and videos do the talking, and you should see interest in your ads rise right away.

3. Focused on product attributes instead of problem solving 

People can read all about the specifications of your product and service for themselves, and these facts are certainly relevant.  But what really grabs consumers’ attention and influences their purchase decisions is not the facts about a product, but how it can improve their life.  

Too many advertisers focus on the attributes of their product or service: The type of materials, the quality of the ingredients, the cool tricks it can do. What people really want to know is not what a product is, but why they should want to buy it.  Don’t talk about how your pillowcase is 100% satin, talk about how soft it will feel when a customer lays their head on it at night.  Don’t talk about the fresh ingredients in your soup, talk about the health benefits of eating it.  

Reframe your ads to focus on the benefits your product or service can provide.  Show people why they can’t live without it and your digital ad conversions should be increasing in no time.

4. Targeting is too narrow 

The three points above all focused on the creation of your ads themselves.  Now let’s turn to what you do with them once they’re created.  

Deciding who sees your ads is an important piece of the digital marketing puzzle. Targeting tools that help you reach the audience you want can be great.  You don’t want to use up ad spend on people that are unlikely to ever be interested in your offerings. If you’re selling hearing aids, you probably want to concentrate most of your budget and efforts on the 65+ population, not those aged 18-25. 

But be careful not to narrow down your audience too much.  You may have a very specific target consumer in mind, but that doesn’t mean some others won’t be interested as well.  If you try to be too specific with your targeting, your audience could narrow to the point where it is too small and you’re not reaching enough people.  Then, no matter how good your ads are, they’re not going to bring in much revenue. So make sure your focus is not too broad, but not too narrow either.

5. Placements are all wrong 

So you’ve put together an ad that is creative without being confusing, that focused on images instead of text, that tells people the “why”, and you’re advertising to an appropriate-sized audience. One more area many digital marketers go wrong is in deciding where to advertise. Take the hearing aid example again.  If you’re trying to reach primarily an audience over the age of 65, you probably don’t want to spend your budget advertising on TikTok or Instagram Reels, which have a much younger user base.  

The most popular digital placements may not be the ones that work best for your brand. Do your research before deciding which digital ad platforms will work best for your small business. If you’re trying to reach your audience where they’re not, your ad dollars are going to go to waste.

The 5 tips above should give you a great start to improve your digital ads in 2023.  If you don’t have the time, resources, or ability to execute these changes yourself, let us help!  We are a digital marketing Swiss army knife, and can help with all your small business’ digital needs. We stay up-to-date on industry best practices to help our clients put their best foot forward when it comes to paid advertising and so much more!  Reach out today for a free consultation.

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