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7 Reasons Your Ads Are Failing

1. Miscommunication

Chances are, unless everyone contributing to your marketing efforts are on the same page, your ads will fail. There is a lot of seemingly little yet specific and important information that can get lost in translation when jobs are passed from person to person during the development process.

A rowboat only moves through the water swiftly if all of the rowers are moving in sync. The same applies to digital advertising. Make sure your marketing manager, creative director, copywriter, art director, and sales rep are on the same page regarding the scope and target of a spot before placing an ad.

2. Broken Links

This can be detrimental. Broken links or a glitch-ridden website will dissuade customers from visiting the site again as your company will lose credibility and they will become frustrated. Before dumping money into an expensive website, make sure everything is working (on all platforms and browsers) before going live.

3. Distraction or Cannibalization

No I’m not talking about eating your customers (though please don’t do that either). Cannibalization in the marketing world is essentially when one aspect or product on your ad pulls attention and subsequently money away from the primary product of feature that you are trying to advertise.

For example, if Ford introduces a new vehicle this year, said vehicle would be bad for the company if sales from the other vehicles go down to support the new one. Instead they want a vehicle that drives sales away from other car companies. (This is why every car company usually only has one car of each type). Make sure you aren’t driving customers away via your efforts to attract them in the first place.


Never and we mean never leave a pre-existing watermark on a stolen (or borrowed) stock image. This shows both that you don’t own the rights to the content and that you lack either the ability or ambition to polish your content before posting. Please remove watermarks. We beg you.

5. Don’t be Clingy

“Are you sure you want to leave this page?”
Yes I’m sure. That’s why I clicked the red “X”. If a customer accidentally exits the page, they are almost certainly going to reopen the window and return to the page. Web browser histories are easy to access now a days. There is no reason to incorporate these messages, as they can be confusing with double negatives. Additionally they seem desperate and cheap. You will never see “are you sure you want to leave?” on

6. Hidden Messages

Your call to action is supposed to be as obvious as possible (if you don’t know what a call to action is, you should). The harder it is for the average reader to find and understand the call to action message on your website or ad, the less likely they are to give you their money. Simply put, we can’t buy what we don’t see. Make sure that the call to action, or ultimate request of the customer is obvious. (Change color or font of text, make it the last sentence in a short paragraph). Whatever you do make sure it sticks out like a not just sore, but broken thumb.

7. Less Is Always More

If there is one absolute we can share with you about Internet users, it is that they are almost always lazy. This has nothing to do with their treadmill usage. We simply mean that the larger the uninviting block of text, the more likely the viewer is to continue scrolling or worse yet…close the window.

Keep your copy short and sweet. If you absolutely have to say more, break it up into digestible bite-size paragraphs.

Also published on Medium.

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