5 Mistakes in Your Ads That Keep Customers Away

October 23, 2020

Mistakes in Your Ads That Keep Customers Away

It’s not hard to find a place for your advertisements—websites, social media and mailers (to name a few) are all great places for reaching your customers. But is your ad itself ready to be shown to the world?

An advertisement is like a cake: it needs to be carefully constructed because one wrong ingredient can ruin the whole experience. Take a look at these 5 common advertising mistakes to make sure your ads are good enough to make sales.

Mistake #1: Having too many goals

Each ad you put in a mailbox or on a webpage should have only one goal. Are you trying to introduce your brand for the first time? Want to entice your viewer into your store or onto your website? Or are you simply reminding your audience that you exist?

Having one goal can help steer how you make your ad while stuffing in too many objectives can confuse the reader so much that they move onto the next ad and ignore yours altogether.

Example of Carpet cleaning display ad

Too many goals get lost in the noise. This ad has two calls-to-action plus coupon offers.

Example of boxers brand display ad

This ad has one simple goal that you can’t miss.

Keep your goal as simple as possible. Try one of these objectives:

  • I want them to fill out a form
  • I want them to know my company exists
  • I want them to call my number
  • I want them to change their mind
  • I want them to make a purchase
  • I want them to avoid a competitor
  • I want them to know where my store is
  • I want them to ask for a quote


Mistake #2: Using random colors, fonts and voices

Think of your ad as if you’re calling your customer on the phone or showing up at their door—they should be able to recognize you within a few seconds.

Using your branded colors, fonts, voice and marketing styles will make you identifiable (and can make your company appear strong and grounded).

Screenshot of Zerorez display ad

Zerorez uses its branded colors and styles for a clean, recognizable look.

If you use randomly chosen colors and typefaces, you run the risk of not only poor design but also not standing out among the thousands of ads people see each month.

Screenshot of QuickenLoans display ad

Aside from the logo, QuickenLoans uses so little branding that this ad barely stands out.

If you don’t have defined branding, use colors that stand out but don’t over-stimulate, typefaces that are legible for the media (don’t use thin, small lettering on a billboard), and a brand voice that your target audience wants to hear.

Mistake #3: Stuffing in too many elements

Aside from having too many goals, using too many on-page elements within the ad is an easy way to become background noise.

Screenshot of Air Mechanical display ad

This ad has so much going on, it’s hard to tell who the company is.

Don’t get caught up in the unnecessary details:

  • Too many images
  • The word “phone” before your phone number
  • The word “email” before your email address
  • Design just to fill white space
  • The “www.” before your web address
  • Multiple calls-to-action
  • Social media icons

Screenshot of Sam's Club display ad

This ad has a logo, a simple message and attractive art. Even the revere leaves out unnecessary clutter.

Mistake #4: Making your logo too large

You understandably want your logo to be seen, but customers care more about what they can get from you, not necessarily who you are.

Making your logo too large takes away valuable space in other parts of your ad.

It can also attract too much attention—instead of guiding your readers’ eyes to the main purpose of the ad (headline, call-to-action, button), they may spend their few viewing seconds on your logo and move onto the next ad.

Screenshot of Waste Management display ad

There’s little reason for Waste Management’s logo to take up most of the ad.

Well-designed logos are also recognizable even if they are placed smaller in an ad. Unless you’re introducing your brand for the first time, it’s okay to leave your logo readable, but smaller in size.

Screenshot of Irwin Tools display ad

Irwin’s logo stands out even at 2% the size of the ad.

Mistake #5: Not knowing your audience

Having a defined target audience will make all other aspects of an ad fall into place. Certain demographics view more billboards. Some are more enticed by bright, flashy colors. Others prefer to read several paragraphs of copy.

If you haven’t yet, figure out exactly who your target audience is and use their habits and interests while marketing to them. This can be done via market research, checking out your Google analytics or creating a profile of the majority of your current customers.

Screenshot of audience analytics breakdown

Google Analytics gives you an in-depth look at your audience.

About Us

CG Marketing Group is a talented team of creatives and strategists who can make your business awesome. We like to have fun, but we’re very serious about digital marketing.

To sum us up in a single word — Scrappy. We’re always eager to branch out and apply new tactics to create successful campaigns. Our crew works hard to bring value, get results, and keep our clients happy.

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