Ads: Why People Hate Them and What You Should Do About It?

October 20, 2022

Written by Jhasmin Vidal

Ads: Why People Hate Them and What You Should Do About It?

Brands spend millions of dollars on ads every year and yet consumers spend their days trying to avoid them.

“People hate advertising. They f@&*ing truly and actually, hate it …”

Joanna Coles, the chief creative officer of Boudica and a former executive in charge of content at Hearst, made those remarks during a discussion about the future of creativity at Advertising Week. Coles stated that consumers would take any opportunity to avoid ads.

Ironically, the largest advertiser in the world and her fellow panelist Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer of Procter & Gamble, have strongly agreed with that statement.

However, at New Digital Noise, we don’t actually believe that advertising is the problem. Not all ads are bad; rather, people cringe at the kinds that many companies are running. 

We’re not suggesting that you stop running ads entirely, but we do suggest that businesses reconsider the types of ads they’re running and, ultimately, what they hope to achieve by doing so.

Why Do People Hate Ads?

You can create better ads that engage and delight your audience by understanding what turns them off. Let’s explore the reasons why people hate ads so we can learn more about who we are as people and make better ads.

1. Ads feel like an invasion of privacy

Retargeting Ads or those ads that follow you everywhere can feel downright creepy and can easily rub people the wrong way when not done with care. The more time we spend online, the more the concept of personal space is translated from the physical to the digital.

As humans, we don’t like to feel that our behavior is being tracked and analyzed, even if it is common practice these days thanks to digital marketing. 

What you can do instead?

Ads that feel overly personal can turn people off from your product or service as a whole. Instead of attempting to simply get your name out there with generic display ads, save retargeting for advertisements that promote your best, most valuable resources. 

When someone indicates that they want to hear more from you, whether by signing up for your newsletter or watching a few videos on your website, you can feel more comfortable reaching out to them again through an advertisement that speaks to a topic (that isn’t necessarily specific to your product or features) that they may be interested in learning more about.

2. Ads interrupt otherwise positive online experiences

Our desire for instant gratification has been conditioned by quick-loading websites and apps. We anticipate getting what we want when we want it—which is typically now. However, digital ads disturb that goal when browsing the internet, which frustrates users.

Can you think of a time when a mid-roll ad on YouTube or Facebook completely ruined your experience while you were halfway through watching a video? We’ve all been there. Nothing is worse than watching a video of a dog being reunited with its owner and having an advertisement ruin the moment for you.

What you can do instead?

Don’t immediately turn off your audience with a random advertisement that adds nothing to their lives (and actually takes away from them). We advise businesses to try to foster goodwill and trust instead of bombarding people with ads for their products by producing interesting and creative content.

How can you use ads to accomplish that? Well, at New Digital Noise, we believe that connecting with your audience emotionally is the best way to not only spread awareness of your company but also to make people like your brand.

3. Ads that are not engaging, entertaining, or informative do not resonate with today’s buyers.

Many brands have realized that these days, people make purchasing decisions based on their connections with the businesses themselves, as expressed through the stories they tell and the values they uphold.

Using storytelling to connect with a specific audience and appeal to their emotions is a much better use of those limited advertising resources. Old-school display ads that encourage people to “Hurry up and buy now before it’s too late!” don’t make people feel the warm-and-fuzzies.

According to research, which shows that”… positive emotions toward a brand have a far greater influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgments, which are based on a brand’s attributes.” In fact, people who genuinely care about the moral or ethical compass of the businesses they support are put off by advertisements that offer no value at all, whether that value comes in the form of entertainment or education.

What you can do instead?

We believe that businesses should embrace creative methods of storytelling through content and ads that convey a strong emotional response from viewers. And fortunately for us marketers, connecting deeply with your target market can have measurable positive effects on your business (remember those Dove ads that made people cry?)

4. Ads have started to look and feel the same.

Banner blindness, a psychological phenomenon that essentially renders some digital ads “invisible” to web users, is something that more and more people are experiencing every day. By no means is this a recent discovery; it has been well-documented for more than 30 years, and it isn’t going away any time soon.

Nowadays, most ads share the same look and feel. The ads themselves are outdated and uninspired, and because there are so many best practices available, they all eerily look the same.

Novelty makes us happy, and brain research has shown that a rush of dopamine follows any new experience, so imagine what’s going on in the brains of your audience when they see a banner ad from your competitor that looks exactly like yours. Yes, that’s correct—not much.

What you can do instead?

According to HubSpot research, “the majority of our respondents agree that most online ads today don’t look professional and are insulting to their intelligence.” The majority of respondents in this survey believe that today’s advertisements lack professionalism and that people’s perceptions of the companies behind the ads, as well as the websites that permit them to appear, are negatively impacted by intrusive ads.

The moral of the story is that if you’re going to run a lot of advertising campaigns, you might want to make sure to invest a lot of time and effort into making them look and feel high quality.

Transform Your Advertising Strategies

Now that you understand some of the reasons why people hate ads, you can hopefully embark on a new course that will be better for everyone—one that aims to offer viewers value and treats viewers like the people they are.

If you want to be successful as a brand or a marketer, you need to change how you interact with your audience. Prioritize them first and make them winners instead of click-baiting them to your site. If you’re still not sure how to do that, feel free to contact us anytime!

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