The Rise of Bad Digital Ads (and How To Avoid Creating Them)

From Wish ads for chicken helmets to the newest Amazon carousel ads for entirely irrelevant items, we’ve all seen those digital ads that make us stop for just a second…but not in a good way. 

While it’s not the most appealing topic, it’s time to talk about the rise of bad digital ads and how you can avoid creating them. 


The State of Digital Advertising 

There’s a ton going on in the digital advertising world right now—and even that is a massive understatement. 

Between data privacy regulations and the slow but steady decline of third-party cookies, many marketers are trying to find new ways to reach their audience. 

In addition, many teams are testing how artificial intelligence can benefit their marketing initiatives. While certain automated optimization programs can be great for reducing the amount of time spent optimizing campaigns, there’s still a long way to go with the creative side of ads. 

Marketers are also making significant shifts in their advertising spending strategies. Many are steering away from some platforms to make room for new ones, like TikTok and CTV, with more cost-effective CPMs

On the other side of the same situation, advertisers are now trying to do their best to increase ad revenue in an unstable economic environment. While the platforms are introducing new-to-them features, increasing ad revenue is still a top priority, which means they are providing incentives for advertisers and, in some cases, potentially cutting back on quality control processes. 

With all of this (and more) happening in the industry, everyone’s feeling a bit overwhelmed. But as these changes take place, ad creative isn’t the area where you’ll want to cut back. Often, the first impression of our brands, effective and high-quality advertisements are critical for customer acquisition, brand marketing, and product spotlights. 

The Impact of Advertisements 

Say you’re watching your favorite streaming service, enjoying the newest release when all of the sudden—bam!—a late-night infomercial (which was definitely filmed in the 90s) begins playing. 

Or, imagine you’re scrolling through social media and you get an ad for some odd products you can’t quite identify and are certain you don’t want. Sure, it’s funny the first time. But, then, two posts later, you get another…and then another. 

Ads can affect the entire platform experience—positively or negatively. With the rise of low-quality ads, many users and marketers alike are concerned about the future of some social platforms. 

Why Are Advertisers Concerned About Bad Social Ads? 

“Well-regarded businesses are now finding their messaging served next to lower quality, poorly targeted ads,” Cat Hausler wrote in this MNTN article. “This has created an inconsistent and, at times, confusing experience for consumers—which isn’t a positive for brands who are nailing their targeting and relying on social for performance, but sit alongside content that drags down the overall ad experience.” 

Additionally, in a New York Times article, Tiffany Hsu interviewed Corey Richardson, vice president at the multicultural ad agency Fluent360 in Chicago, about the declining aesthetic of digital advertising. 

“Major social media platforms are now ‘like the mall in your hometown that used to be the good mall,’ Mr. Richardson said: ‘But now there’s no longer a Macy’s there — it’s just a calendar store and a place selling beepers.’” This, of course, isn’t what you want someone to think while they’re looking at your ad. 

You might be thinking: great, so let’s just get rid of the bad ads and move on with our lives…

The Subjectivity of Creative Content 

While we’d love a clear-cut answer, too, we’re dealing with creativity here, which means there’s another element playing into this: subjectivity. 

Two people can watch the exact same ad and have two vastly different reactions to it. Plus, sometimes the weird, off-the-wall ads are the ones that stick. (And, who am I to say you don’t need a chicken helmet?) 

How To Create High-Quality Digital Ads 

As you’ve likely gathered from this, the quality of digital content is a tricky subject, and as we mentioned earlier, “good” is subjective. One person might love animated explainers, while another might rather have live actors explaining the product to them. 

But, in general, there are some ways you can ensure your business creates and shares high-quality, relevant content:

Understand Why You’re Creating an Ad 

Each month, we highlight some of the incredible video content that’s been made through QuickFrame’s creator network. During this roundup, one of the key elements we discuss is the goal of the video marketing campaign, which is vital to the success of the content. 

Whether it’s customer acquisition or product marketing, your goals and objectives serve as the throughline for your entire video production and can ensure your viewers know why they’re watching the video. 

Work With Professional Content Creators 

Right now, for many businesses, adding a content creator to the in-house team isn’t feasible, especially not while marketing budgets are being closely watched and, in some cases, decreased. 

Plus, there’s a ton going on and you’re not trying to add another item to your plate—but, you also know video creation is critical for a successful online presence. So, what should you do? 

It sounds like it’s time to start working on your video marketing strategy with a content creator. With the right video professionals, you can create high-quality content without sacrificing the bandwidths of your marketing team. 

Create Native Advertisements 

When you’re creating content for your audience, make sure you know which platforms you want to use. Each platform has different guidelines, including ad specs, content types, and branding elements. 

Plus, you’ll want to include any native features, such as on-screen text or audio, to help your content stand out. On some platforms, especially TikTok, these elements are vital to getting users’ attention. 

Understand Your Target Audience 

Regardless of the quality of the video, people don’t want to see irrelevant content. According to a 2021 study, 51% of US adults are either very or somewhat bothered by irrelevant ads. 

Even though audience targeting is becoming more difficult, it’s still critical to know everything you can about your current and potential customers. 

Take advantage of audience insights from anywhere you can. You’ll be able to find information based on which social media platforms they use, what their hobbies and interests are, and how they spend their time online. You can also improve your targeting by using advanced audience segmentation, like performance TV

Consistently Create Fresh Video Content

If you’re noticing fewer website visits, stagnant or decreased conversions, and reduced engagement across your platforms, your customers might be tired of seeing the same ads from your brand. 

While you can fix ad fatigue, it’s best to avoid it in the first place with a consistent stream of fresh video creative. From CTV ads to Instagram Reels, animated ads to live-action educational videos, there’s an unlimited amount of video content you can create! 

Ready to see what QuickFrame can help you create? Explore Made with QuickFrame today

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