6 Possible Reasons Your Advertising Doesn’t Work

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Updated July 13th, 2022

Reasons why your Ads Doesn’t Work

 Advertising is one of the best ways to sell your products and services by reaching out to existing and potential customers in a wide area.

However, you must use effective advertising platforms and strategies for that to work, which can be challenging, especially for startups and small businesses.

Advertising may look pretty straightforward on the surface, but the truth is that it’s complex with so much to be done for it to be effective.

You may have started your ad campaign with a winning spirit only to end up spending your hard-earned money without seeing results. You may have even started convincing yourself that advertising doesn’t work.

Or if it does, it’s not for everyone, including you. But that shouldn’t make you lose hope and give up on advertising entirely. Just like learning any new skill, mastering advertising will take some time.

Similar to the other parts of your business, advertising needs proactive planning. If you do it right, it’ll definitely work. Before you give up on advertising, have a look at these possible reasons it might not have worked for you in the past:

1. Lack Of Proper Planning Or Strategy

It’s difficult to get somewhere if you don’t know where you’re going. You need to have an idea of the outcome you want to get from advertising. Everyone knows advertising is meant to attract customers and drive sales, but what is your specific target? A proper advertising strategy has more specific details. Some of the things you could include in the advertising plan are the following:

  • What do you want your audience to do after seeing the ad? Do you want them to call, leave feedback, or visit your website or shop?
  • Are you looking to create a connection or achieve immediate sales?
  • Is your intention to create a large customer base? If so, how many customers are you targeting?

You need to plan for these things beforehand and specify what you expect to achieve from your ad campaign. Once you know the kind of outcome you want, you can now proceed to find the most appropriate platform for your advertisement.

You also have to consider whether you need to do all this with your in-house team or enlist the services of an advertising agency. A reputable agency can help you come up with an effective advertising strategy. For businesses in London and its environs, here’s a guide on the best London advertising agencies you can choose from. 

Basically, before you invest in any form of advertising, ensure you have a proper strategy in place with a clear objective for the advertising campaign.

2. Lack Of Proper Research

It’s possible that your marketing team didn’t conduct enough research before embarking on the advertising journey. This is among the most common reasons advertising doesn’t work for businesses.

The underlying problem here Is that business owners often operate reactively rather than proactively. This makes it very difficult for the marketing team to research well. 

Before starting an advertising campaign, you need to know the following:

  • Your target audience: If you don’t know who your advertising is meant for, you won’t know the correct advertising language to use. If your ideal audience is ‘everybody,’ there’s a possibility of creating ineffective adverts. This is because your language will be too general to appeal to the potential customers that you need to focus on. You need to know your target audience’s concerns and interests, then speak directly about the issues they’re invested in using a language they understand.
  • What your business is offering: After knowing and understanding your target audience and what they want, it’ll be easier to create a custom offer for them. Offers are meant to get the attention of your audience. They could be in the form of discounts or those that require the audience to respond.

When advertising for a small business, it’s crucial to ensure that your offer elicits some kind of action from your audience. Ask customers to call, visit a store, or give feedback in whatever form. Until your business is big enough to create branded campaigns, try sticking to advertising to generate sales and revenue.

  • Understand the concept of the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO): Proper advertising should capitalize on people’s FOMO. It’s an excellent way to get your audience acting immediately rather than later.
    It’s your way of instilling a little pressure on your audience to act now, or they’ll miss out on the offer and will feel bad about missing out on a good deal. You may put a deadline on your offer so that your audience knows that it’ll only last for a short while.

3. You Give Up Too Soon

If all advertisements worked each time, every business would’ve been successful from the beginning. On the other end of that spectrum, if every business owner quits after a failed attempt at anything, most businesses wouldn’t exist either.

Sometimes your advertisement doesn’t work simply because you gave up too soon. Have in mind that advertising results are often not immediate. It could even take a few months or a year before you see any results, so it’s best to be patient.

Of course, you need to set leading indicators to measure ad success, but it could be a while before actual results appear after you implement an advertising campaign. Give yourself a realistic timeline.
If you give up after only a month or two, you might be quitting before your audience has time to react. Some mediums of advertising also need several attempts before they get a response. 

An excellent example is direct mail advertising; you may need to send emails several times before the target takes notice and responds appropriately.

If you’re not ready to wait for the eventual results, maybe it’s a bad idea to spend money on advertising. You’ll end up spending money and not getting a positive result because you quit in the middle of the process.

4. You Make Buying Difficult

You may have everything else in place: a great business with quality products and an excellent ad. But people won’t patronize your products if the buying process is complicated. When your ad arouses your customers’ interest, they feel the need to make a purchase. However, if they find the buying process too complex, they might quit before they can complete the purchase. 

You’ll end up thinking that advertising doesn’t work for you even though your campaign might’ve been effective. The only problem was that it was difficult for customers to go through with their transactions.

The buying process can frustrate customers and send them away to your competitors with easier purchasing processes. With this in mind, you can design a simple buying process that complements the effort you put into creating an ad for your products.

5. You Failed To Test Or Adjust Your Ad

As much as an advertising plan is crucial, it also needs to be flexible. It’s only meant to guide you in the right direction towards your advertising objective. But you have to be willing to make appropriate adjustments as you move forward until your goal is achieved.

You’ll need to keep track of whether your strategy is working or not and tweak it accordingly.  If you keep doing the same thing, the result will remain the same.

That makes testing and adjusting your ad crucial to your marketing success. If you notice that your advertising doesn’t work, all you may need is a simple adjustment that could raise the response rates remarkably.

The best way around this would be to have several versions of the ad with slight tweaks here and there. You may never know which ones your customers will like unless it’s shown to them. You may need to test a few of them before you get it right.

6. You Don’t Track Your Ad Results

You need to actively track the ad campaign efforts if you want to know if it’s working or not. Here are some tracking strategies you could use:

  • Use promo codes for exclusive discounts for customers who take a specific action, such as buying online or calling your business. Ensure to have different codes for each ad so that you can distinguish which ad works better.
  • Have a phone number allocated to the ad responses to enable you to track how many calls you receive regarding the ad and from where. 
  • Create a unique page for your website to use on an ad with a dedicated URL to enable you to track how many visits the page received and the actions they take.
  • Give an offer that lasts for a short time, say a day or two, and see how many people claim the offer.

Make a Plan, Test Your Ad, And Track Results

Simply put, the possible reasons your advertising isn’t working can be summed up in these three key areas: planning, testing, and tracking. If you fail to research and have a proper strategy or plan, it can be challenging to get a positive result.

When you test and tweak your adverts, you can end up turning dull non-performing ads into winners. Finally, you need to know how well your ads are doing by tracking their reach and the reaction from your target audience. If you’re keen on these simple key areas, your advertising campaigns can start eliciting the results you desire.


Viren is having 6+ years of experience in Digital Marketing across different industries & verticles. He is in expert Paid Advertising & SEO.

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