5 Advertising Mistakes that Could Cost You Millions

August 11, 2023
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When it comes to running successful paid advertising campaigns, it makes sense that you want your marketing team to avoid making critical mistakes that could cost your growing company millions of dollars in lost revenue.

These mistakes may seem basic, yet at Tier 11 we’ve seen brands of all sizes, niches, and industries make them time and time again. So even if you think your advertising campaigns are rock-solid, it pays to take a look at this list and evaluate your marketing funnels objectively.

With that, let’s dive in!

Ad Mistake #1: Unspecified Audiences

The first costly mistake we see businesses make is in using unspecified audiences. What we mean by this is that they either don’t know who their avatar and target market actually is, or they aren’t segmenting their copy, creative, and audiences in a way that most effectively reaches each audience.

This results in massive ad waste and loss of revenue, as we discussed in our blog on retargeting.

To fix this mistake, take a step back and work with your team to determine:

Are we separating our ad campaigns by audience?

When we work with clients, ad campaigns are segmented into a number of different audiences including touchpoint, buyer versus non-buyer, and avatar, awareness level. That’s because targeted, specific ads are easier for the algorithms to understand than ads which try to reach everyone.

Are we differentiating our copy and creatives by audience?

On that note, is your team meaningfully differentiating the copy and creative by audience? Retargeting ads are fundamentally different from cold ads, and this should be reflected in the type of copy and creative used.

Are we addressing pain points and benefits unique to each audience?

Different buyers have different reasons for purchasing your product or taking a conversion action, and by addressing different audiences across your campaigns, you’re more likely to capture more buyers.

Ad Mistake #2: Uncompetitive Offers

The second mistake we see brands make is by launching uncompetitive, undifferentiated, and unattractive offers.

Tier 11 team member Courtney Livesay says of why ads don’t work, “First thing that comes to my mind is not having a compelling enough offer, especially in the case of social media (interruption-based) marketing. No matter how good your copy/creative is, or how much money you throw at the platform, if the offer isn’t competitive, the ads won’t work.”

Uncompetitive Offers

What makes an offer uncompetitive? An offer is not competitive when, compared to other offers in the marketplace, the offer is seen as less attractive and less valuable by potential buyers.  

Uncompetitive Offers…

  • Are too similar in name, design, features or benefits to other products or services out there
  • Do not contain unique mechanisms appropriate for the awareness level of the target avatar
  • Do not contain differentiation appropriate for the sophistication of the overall marketplace
  • Are not in line with what the target market wants

Your offer can be made more competitive by:

  • Improving the name of the product to be more unique or fun
  • Improving the brand design or packaging
  • Improving the included features
  • Improving your differentiation (especially with unique mechanisms)
  • Improving the bonuses included (if applicable)
  • Improving the pricing (introductory pricing, free trials, shipping and handling, bundles)

Ad Mistake #3: Incongruent Customer Experiences

The first costly mistake we see businesses make is having an incongruent buying experience from ad through checkout.

What buyers expect to see:

Each element should have the same messaging, branding, and overall tone so that the entire experience is seamless.

Yet many businesses, in their haste to upgrade some parts of their marketing and not others, forget to double-check that the buying experience is frictionless.

“Incongruence is a big ad mistake I see,” says Olha Olashyn, a Media Buyer at Tier 11. “I’ve seen many times where an ad is promoting one thing and the landing page is promoting a different offer, an offer that’s too vague, or something that doesn’t look like a logical next step from the ad.”

Ad Mistake #4: Insufficient Creative Testing

Another ad mistake we see is insufficient creative testing. As we’ve discussed in the past, strategic creative testing is absolutely critical to your team’s ad success.

Too often marketing teams think their “ads don’t work,” when the reality is that they simply haven’t tested enough hooks, creatives, or copy.

Ad Mistake #5: Unreliable Data

A final ad mistake we see at Tier 11–and probably the most impactful-is having unreliable data. When your data is unreliable, you could be scaling your ads and seeing return on investment, yet never know that you’re wasting thousands of dollars in ad spend or losing out on millions of dollars in potential revenue!

Unreliable data and reporting can be due to:

  • No use of third party tracking tools (such as Wicked Reports)
  • Incorrect installation of ad pixels and tracking codes
  • Double-firing of cookies
  • Missing offline conversion tracking
  • Incorrect attribution windows in reporting
  • Relying on the wrong north star metrics

Why it Pays to Get an Expert Eye on Your Ad Campaigns

Even if you think the ad campaigns being run by your team are rock-solid, it pays to get an outside evaluation of your campaigns just in case. Our expert team is up-to-date on the latest best practices, ad platform settings, and ad trends which your team might not be aware of – things which could make or break your results in the short AND long-term.

Once you know what’s really going on with your ad campaigns, you can then make strategic decisions about what pivots to make and what tests to launch.

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