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8 Brutal Truths About Advertising


With the impact of social media and the constant stream of information consumers deal with, the advertising industry continues having to swerve and adjust to everything thrown its way. Gone are the days of only making the content flashy and for one specific consumer. Many more ways now exist to make sure you’re getting your product out there, but this also comes with barriers. Here, we lay out eight brutal truths about advertising in today’s market.

Gaining Visibility Is Only Getting Harder

As it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish and separate reality from the Internet and the “metaverse,” advertisers are having more and more trouble making an impact on consumers. With our daily lives cluttered with a constant influx of information online, the amount of traffic and crowding with advertisers is only getting worse.

The hard truth is that the technology to create compelling campaigns is getting easier and better. Since everyone’s accessibility to see advertisements is greater, it’s only getting harder for advertisers to be seen. Or, even make as much as an impact online.

Consumers Do Not Care

It’s hard to hear it, but it’s the hard truth, sadly. Consumers do not care who you are, what you are selling, or how good your business model is. The only way for advertisers to have a chance in attracting consumers is by showing how what they’re offering will affect the consumer. If your advertisement cannot do that, you may as well abandon it completely.

Online Reviews Still Matter

It’s brutal to face, but one bad online review can tarnish your business. It almost seems outdated, the idea of reviews on Yelp or Amazon still matters to businesses. However, even though a majority of consumers know or have the preconceived idea that the reviews they’re reading are probably fabricated (i.e., written entirely by a company’s own employees, or written by bots trying to affect the algorithm), they still look to see whether the reviews are good or bad before purchasing.

The bottom line is that advertisers must use strong, good advertising to make consumers have a positive perception of the brand initially. That way they are not inclined to leave bad reviews.

Interesting Ads Are HARD to Make

With so much advertising traffic online and in the world today, standing out with an interesting advertisement that actually gains traction is harder than ever (see truth #1). One would think that making an interesting advertisement would be easier today. Especially with all of the incredible technology we have at our fingertips for content creation. However, this overflow of amazing technology almost makes it harder. Because the competitors have it too. So, creating one thing bigger than the next is the hard goal. This is what every advertiser is trying to chase.

Your Advertisement Must Be Relevant

Not only does your advertisement need to be interesting, it also needs to be relevant. Of course, interesting things many times are only interesting if they are relevant to what is currently going on in the world. So, they both go hand in hand. That doesn’t make it easy, however.

Producing advertisements that are relevant to consumers is immensely hard, particularly because of the timing. In a world of twenty-second TikTok clips and Instagram reels, people’s attention spans are decreasing each day. So, by the time a trend emerges, and advertisers included that trend within campaigns and produced content, the trend is old news, meaning it’s irrelevant. And if there’s one thing advertisers don’t want to be called, it’s irrelevant.

Customers Are Only Loyal If…

Even if your advertising is incredibly interesting and relevant, there’s still no guarantee the consumer will want to pursue whatever you’re offering. The truth is, they want to know what’s in it for them. They want to know what they’ll get in return for subscribing to what you are selling.

That’s why enticing discounts or rewards in advertising actually work, especially when executed well. Pasting FREE within advertising or tacky, ostentatious claims can make your brand come off as desperate or low-budget.  The secret to executing those discounts the right way, and getting consumers to come back, is by advertising the rewards in a discreet, classy way.

You Must Be Credible

Going along with those rewards that lead to customer loyalty comes the importance of credibility. Simply pasting big claims about your product will never work if you cannot back those claims up. They may motivate people to click on your site at first glance. However, if the claims are not readily apparent upon reaching your website, consumers will be immensely irritated. Plus they are likely to make truth 3 come true by leaving you a negative review online.

You’re Going to Offend Someone

It is crucial to any advertising success in 2022: making certain your work is tasteful, culturally responsible, and socially appropriate. In a world of cancel culture and Twitter and online scrutiny, the temptation to avoid risks and take the careful route in content creation is understandable. It is also a strong one. However, advertisers must be prudent that they do not become too careful. If advertisers never take risks or new ventures in their creative freedoms, there will be no new content and no new innovations.

You can’t please everyone. And if you try to, then your work will be dull and mundane to consumers. The key is to maintain a good balance between sensitivity and appreciation for real-world issues and consideration for your creative works.

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