The psychology behind why people don't like ads (and how to make better ads) (2023)

global ad spendingreached more than 330 billion dollarsin 2019. And as companies continue to pour money into their ad campaigns, there's still one big hurdle blocking the path to success: people's aversion to advertising that's irrelevant to them and their interests.

According to HubSpot research, 91% of people believe that ads are more intrusive now than two to three years ago, and 79% believe that retargeting ads haunt them. So it's not hard to imagine why people are pretty ad-shy these days. No one likes to feel like a part of a secret algorithm, another cog in the advertising wheel.

However, here at Wistia, we really arenoI think the advertising itself is the problem. It's not that all ads smell bad, it's just that the kind of ads that many companies run make people, well, cringe. We're not suggesting that you ditch ads entirely, but we do suggest that companies rethink the types of ads they create and ultimately what they're trying to achieve with their delivery.

Let's consider it from above:  Why don't people like advertising?

Think about the last time you were researching a product you wanted to buy online. Maybe you were searching for the perfect pair of wellies and ended up spending some time finding a nice and stylish pair at the L.L. to look. You will then be distracted by a notification on your phone. You open the Instagram app, scroll through the feed a bit, and then see an ad from who else? Bean LL. The boots you were looking at a few minutes ago are now hanging between photos of your friends and cute puppies.

Chances are, you'll be surprised and upset by the ad, or happy to be reminded to come back and buy these beautiful boots. If we had to guess, we'd say that most people fall for that first bucket.

(Video) The Psychology Behind Good Advertising

Being hounded by a pair of shoes on the internet for a few days is just one of the annoyances people have with advertising these days, but it turns out that our aversion to advertising has much more to do with the psychology and brain chemistry of what one thinks . As a marketer, when you understand what turns people off, you can create better ads that actually engage and engage your audience in new ways. Let's dive into the psychology of why people hate ads so we can understand each other a little better as humans!

"As a marketer, when you understand what people dislike, you can create better ads that actually engage and engage your audience in new ways."

Ads feel like an invasion of privacy

As we just mentioned, retargeting can be downright scary and can easily lead people in the wrong direction if not done carefully. The truth is, we humans don't like to feel like our behavior is being tracked and analyzed, even though it's common these days thanks to digital marketing. In essence, advertising can sometimes feel like an invasion of privacy, or in other words, an invasion of our personal space.

In fact, two neuroscientists at Caltech University discovered that there is actually a structure in our brains responsible for telling us wherethe limits of our personal freedom lie, and that's the amygdala. The more time we spend online, the more the concept of personal space translates from the physical to the digital. People want to be in control of their own personal boundaries in their everyday lives, and today that includes their online presence.

What you can do instead:

Sometimes when ads feel too personal, they can turn people away from your overall product or service. Skip retargeting ads promoting your best and most valuable assets instead of waiting to get your name out there with generic display ads. Once people tell you they want to hear more from you, whether it's signing up for a newsletter or watching some videos on your site, you can feel more confident about reaching out to them again in the form of an ad, which appeals to them it may be. interested in learning more (which are not necessarily specific to your product or features).

(Video) How Commercials Get Us To Buy Crap We Don't Need

Ads disrupt otherwise positive online experiences

Fast-loading websites and apps have conditioned us to do this.crave instant gratification. We expect to get what we want, when we want it (which is usually right now!). However, when browsing the web, digital ads get in the way of that goal and create feelings of frustration.

Can you remember a time when you were watching a video on YouTube or Facebook when an ad appeared in the middle of the video and completely interrupted your experience? Yes, we've all been there. There's nothing worse than an ad ruining an emotional moment between you and a video of a dog being reunited with its owner.

What you can do instead:

Don't put your audience in a state of disgust for your brand with a random ad that adds nothing to (and actually takes away from) the life of your viewers. Instead of criticizing people with ads about their product, we encourage companies to build trust and goodwill with engaging and creative content. How can you do that with advertising? Well, here at Wistia, we believe that implementing a brand affinity marketing strategy is the best way to not only educate people about your business, but also to make them like your brand.


(Video) 11 Secrets Advertisers Don’t Want You to Know

what isBrand Affinity Marketing?
In short, this is a marketing approach where companies create and distribute binge-worthy content with the goal of positively influencing the overall sentiment, perception, and value of their brand. By creating and promoting fun and truly valuable content for specific audiences, companies can build lasting relationships with consumers. But there's a lot more to brand affinity marketing, so be sure to check it out.our four step manualfor the complete process.

Ads that aren't engaging, entertaining, or informative won't resonate with modern shoppers

Many brands have recognized the fact that people today make purchasing decisions based on the connections they have with the companies themselves, through the stories they tell and the values ​​they represent. What do companies like?Rothys,Avocado,warby parker,Patagonia, YEverlanedo they all have in common? They are dedicated to their social missions, whether as a core tenet of their business or simply because it's the right thing to do, and they showcase those values ​​through compelling online storytelling.

“Many brands have recognized the fact that people today make purchasing decisions based on the connections they have with the companies themselves, through the stories they tell and the values ​​they represent.”

Targeting a niche audience and creating a positive emotional connection with them through storytelling is a much better use of that valuable advertising money.Research shows that" ... positive emotions toward a brand have a much greater impact on customer loyalty than trust and other judgments based on a brand's attributes." Let people feel the warmth and fluff. In fact, worthless ads, whether in the form of entertainment or education, are a major deterrent to people who genuinely care about the moral or ethical compass of the companies they support.

What you can do instead:

We believe that companies should rely on creative methods of storytelling through content and ads that truly create a strong emotional connection with viewers. And luckily for us marketers, we create a powerful connection with your target audience (rememberthose pigeon adswhat has made people cry?) can lead to tangible business benefits.

(Video) 15 Psychological Marketing Triggers to MAKE PEOPLE BUY From YOU!

We saw it first hand here at Wistia with our original series,one, ten, hundred. This was a docu-series that we created that showed the impact of limitations on creativity, and while we received a lot of qualitative love for the series, we also saw some quantitative indicators of success. while the averageCTR for display adsis only 0.05%, 1.7% of the people who are not yet in our database andwatched our video seriescreated a free Wistia account. It just goes to show that with the right creative, you can connect with your audience and even convert them into customers (without annoying them).

Ads have started to look and feel the same.

Every day more and more people learnbanner blindness, a psychological phenomenon that renders certain digital advertisements essentially "invisible" to web users. This is by no means a new finding, it is well documented.more than 30 years— and it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

Ads these days tend to look and feel the same. Remember how long the Tasty-style overhead shot was a novel concept? Not very long. The ads themselves are dated and uninspired, and thanks to a host of best practices, they all look eerily similar. These ads are pretty boring, and it turns out we'renovelty seekersWe are not fans of more of the same. New things make us happy, and brain research has shown that a dopamine rush comes with new experiences of any kind. So imagine what happens in your audience's brains when they see a competitor's ad that looks exactly like yours. That's right... not much.

“Ads these days tend to look and feel the same. The ads themselves are old and uninspired, and thanks to the myriad of best practices out there, they all look eerily similar."

What you can do instead:

According to a HubSpot study, "Most of our respondents agree that most online ads these days look unprofessional and insult their intelligence." Pretty intense, right? Respondents in this survey not only feel that most ads don't look professional these days, but they also feel that offensive ads give people a bad opinion of the brands behind the ads and the websites that serve them. endorsements in the first place make it possible to be there. The moral of the story is that when you run a number of ad campaigns, you want to make sure that you're making a real effort to make them look and feel high-quality.

(Video) How Ads (and People) Persuade You

Open a new page for the ad.

As marketers, the way we market our products and services through digital advertising must change if we are to be successful. Furthermore, the way we think about what our audience really wants from us must also evolve over time. When you combine the negative perception of most ads with a cluttered web, the demise of digital advertising becomes all too clear. Hopefully, now that you understand the psychology behind why people don't like ads, you can embark on a new path that's more win-win, one that aims to add value to viewers and treat audiences as people. , who are they.


Why people don't like advertisement? ›

Ads feel like an invasion of privacy

The truth is, as humans, we don't like to feel like our behavior is being tracked and analyzed, even if it is common practice these days thanks to digital marketing.

What is the psychology behind good advertising? ›

The psychology of advertising focuses on building empathy towards a product or service to help you become more inclined to buy or use it. Research from 2021 suggests that the physical aspects of the ads we see — including people, images, and even colors — can influence how we relate to the ad itself.

Why do you think that some people become annoyed with advertising? ›

Some of the top reasons that ads can come across as annoying are: frequency of ads, placement on the webpage, lack of relevancy and bad targeting, and size of the ads. The steady increase of online adverts appearing across our favourite websites and social networks is certainly a grievance for online consumers.

Why good advertising works even when you think it doesn t? ›

Successful advertising rarely succeeds through argument or calls to action. Instead, it creates positive memories and feelings that influence our behavior over time to encourage us to buy something at a later date.

Why people don t pay attention to ads? ›

Ad fatigue

But volume isn't the only problem, as ads are becoming ever more intrusive, inescapable and noisy due to advances in technology and data science. People are constantly bombarded with digital junk, triggering ad fatigue and banner blindness.

Why do people no longer pay attention to advertisements? ›

We have become accustomed to tuning out advertising and marketing messages because we don't like interruptions in our habit-formed lives. And we're skeptical of the messages ads bring us. In fact, most of us feel ads don't bring much value to our lives, just more distraction. There's another reason we tune out ads.

What psychological tactics are used in advertising? ›

Consumer Behavior Basics
  • Tactic #1: Understand the Buyer Decision Process. ...
  • Tactic #2: Take Advantage of Impulse Purchases. ...
  • Tactic #3: Utilize the Foot-in-The-Door Technique. ...
  • Tactic #4: Choose Provocative and Powerful Imagery. ...
  • Tactic #5: Know the Relationship Between Colors and Human Behavior.

What emotion is most effective in advertising? ›

What emotions are used in advertising? The most commonly-used emotion present in advertising is happiness. Positive advertisements are more likely to be shared than negative ones, due to people's desire to share content that makes them feel positive.

What makes good advertising successful? ›

A good advertisement will: Grab the attention of viewers. Encourage them to take action. Outline the benefit of doing so.

Why does fear work in advertising? ›

Ads that tap into our emotional reaction to an issue, rather than just our rational or informational needs, are called “fear appeals.” They are named this way because they try to leverage our fear of an issue as a way to jump-start us into action.

What makes an ads so annoying? ›

#Reason 1: Interruption is disturbing

The ads that disrupt the flow of information a user gets are considered to be the most annoying ones by consumers. Actionable tips: When people are in a hurry to find something out, don't have time or patience to deal with your ads. Especially with the ones difficult to close.

Why is advertising toxic? ›

What adverts often try to do, is make you feel bad about yourself by lowering your self-esteem in order to persuade you to buy that specific product which claims it will make you happier and a better person. The most common way they do this is by making you feel bad about your body image or how you look in general.

How do ads make people feel? ›

Ads that trigger sentiments do so using different themes. However, pride, love, achievement, man's empathy, friendships, loneliness or memories perform best. Emotional response to an advertisement, rather than the ad's actual content, produces great influence on the intent of a consumer to buy a product.

How does advertising affect consumer behavior? ›

Advertising works by creating a pattern of associations that elicit an emotional connection or response in the intended audience, ultimately influencing the consumer's purchasing decisions, often in an unconscious way.

Can ads make people buy things they don't want or need? ›

Even when good advertising makes us buy things that we don't need, they don't make us buy things we don't want. The concept of “good advertising makes us believe that something is better than actually is” doesn't have to do with buying things that we don't like just because we saw it on the internet.

Do ads with people perform better? ›

Whatever the emotional connection, our data analysis has shown that ads with faces outperform ads without faces. However, throwing in a face or two is not the answer - it's the face on its own that makes the difference. Why? Once again, it's the influence of entropy at work.

Is anyone immune to advertising? ›

Immunity to marketing is a myth.

Does anyone actually pay attention to ads? ›

Attention is a finite resource. On average, people are exposed to between 6,000 and 10,000 advertisements a day. The average human brain is simply incapable of processing such a bombardment of content, which means the vast majority of ads seen are only ignored or forgotten about within seconds.

What catches people's attention in advertising? ›

Headline. If you want to generate a measurable response to your Web page or ad, you MUST have a headline. An ad with just photos, words, videos, or illustrations may impress people and it may get their attention, but it will not generate actual measurable response without a headline.

How do you grab attention in advertising? ›

He has five tips to help marketers capture attention:
  1. Avoid overly prominent branding. ...
  2. Immediately create a positive emotional feeling, such as joy. ...
  3. Build an emotional roller coaster. ...
  4. Surprise consumers, but don't shock them. ...
  5. Target viewers who will share the message.
Jan 13, 2016

Is advertising a waste of money do you agree? ›

Advertising, like all marketing initiatives can be extremely effective, but can also potentially be a waste of money. In order to determine if advertising is right for you, you need to ask yourself if you have a brand strong enough to compensate for the lack of public messaging.

What are the 5 commonly used marketing psychology principles? ›

Here are five marketing psychology principles — social proof, scarcity, loss aversion, anchoring bias, and reciprocity — and how they can work for you.

What are the 7 marketing tactics? ›

The 7 Ps of Marketing

These seven are: product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people. As products, markets, customers and needs change rapidly, you must continually revisit these seven Ps to make sure you're on track and achieving the maximum results possible for you in today's marketplace.

What are the 4 marketing tactics? ›

(Marketing mix explained) The four Ps are product, price, place, and promotion. They are an example of a “marketing mix,” or the combined tools and methodologies used by marketers to achieve their marketing objectives.

What emotion sells the most? ›

6 Emotions That Make Customers Buy
  • Greed. "If I make a decision now, I will be rewarded."
  • Fear. "If I don't make a decision now, I'm toast."
  • Altruism. "If I make a decision now, I will help others."
  • Envy. "If I don't make a decision now, my competition will win."
  • Pride. ...
  • Shame.

What is the most powerful element in advertising? ›

Bill Bernbach said: "The most powerful Element in advertising is the truth.” The more truthful an advertisement is the more consumers respond and the high the sales. Any advertisement based on lies can never survive for long. Telling lies to your consumers about a product will break their trust and confidence.

Is advertising emotional manipulation? ›

Emotional advertising isn't merely images and slogans that try to educate and persuade viewers. They strategically manipulate consumers' feelings and stimulate the emotional triggers that influence how we make decisions.

What are the 4 factors of successful advertisements? ›

4 'Must-Measures' To Gauge Advertising Effectiveness
  • Campaign Impact. Most importantly, an ad needs to get noticed. ...
  • Campaign Resonance. It is vital that an ad resonates with the target audience on the three Cs: It needs to be clear, credible, and compelling. ...
  • Brand Fit. ...
  • Brand Favorability.
Apr 10, 2016

What makes an ad attractive? ›

The best ad campaigns are often the ones that clearly articulate the brand value to their audience, either intrinsically or extrinsically. People don't want to work hard to figure out what you're trying to tell them. So, ensure that you clearly communicate your message and that it doesn't lead to confusion.

What are the 4 elements of a successful advertisement? ›

5 Elements Of A Successful Ad
  • A Clearly Defined Target Audience. In order to create a successful ad, you need to know who you are speaking to, and ultimately, who you are selling to. ...
  • Value Proposition - Whats In It For Them. ...
  • Quality Content and Design. ...
  • The Call-to-Action (CTA) ...
  • The Follow Up.
Mar 7, 2023

What is the psychology of fear in ads? ›

Fear appeal in advertising is a strategy used that provides the audience with a persuasive message that emphasizes a serious threat or harm that might come to them if they do not do what is asked of them in the advertisement.

Do scare tactics work in advertising? ›

"Fear appeals strike a nerve with people who have doubts about things or do not know about things," he explains. "They play on our inherent fears of the unknown or that something is going to kill us. This is why scare tactics are stunningly effective."

What is fear-based marketing strategies? ›

Fear-based marketing leverages Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Instead of using positive statements to make customers feel like they're going to fill a need with their purchase, the fear statements motivate by making the customers feel like they're missing something.

What are the most annoying ads? ›

Most annoying types of digital ads according to internet users in the United States as of July 2019
CharacteristicShare of respondents
Audio ads (on music streaming services or podcasts)47.4%
Ads that show up based on my online searches42.4%
Static images on websites (banner ads) for products I've already purchased36.7%
5 more rows
Jan 6, 2023

Are ads deliberately annoying? ›

Commercials are annoying and very few of them are even interesting. However, despite what you may think, they are very effective. With an understanding of how the brain and memory works, commercials are able to make you remember their products, services, and ideologies without you even doing much conscious work.

Why advertising is manipulative? ›

The manipulative advertising intends to do that by using facts, arguments and plying with consumers emotions in a misleading and deceptive manner. The most claims used in manipulation through advertising are the exaggeration of the quality of product, fallacious arguments and emotional appeals. Exaggeration of quality.

Does advertising help or hurt society? ›

The advertiser's intentions are to try to get into your mind and influence your thoughts and decisions. Advertisements like the car, insurance, medicine, beverage, and political commercials often try to influence the consumer. Advertising is harmful to society because of its strong influence.

What should you not do in advertising? ›

Dumb Advertising Moves to Avoid
  • Borrowed interest. Avoid trying to associate yourself with things that have no relevance to what you do. ...
  • Event sales. Refrain from jumping on this bandwagon. ...
  • Ego trips. Don't put yourself in the advertising. ...
  • Different media, different ads. ...
  • Advertise everywhere. ...
  • Overdoing the ads.
Dec 5, 2006

How do ads convince people? ›

Advertisers use persuasive techniques such as appeals to emotion, peer pressure, social proof, and repetition to convince customers to buy products or services.

How do ads encourage people to buy? ›

Using images and sounds to appeal to your senses: sight, touch, taste, etc. Promoting a special ingredient may make you think the product works better than others. Featuring someone, like a celebrity, saying how the product worked for them can be convincing.

What emotions do advertisements appeal to? ›

25 Types of emotional appeal advertising
  • Happiness. Customers who experience happiness while viewing an advertisement may make a purchase to continue feeling positive. ...
  • Sadness. ...
  • Humor. ...
  • Anger. ...
  • Compassion. ...
  • Fear. ...
  • Adventure. ...
  • Music.
Jun 24, 2022

What tricks do advertisers use to influence behavior? ›

7 Psychological Tricks Advertisers Use To Manipulate Us
  • They Make You Feel Exclusive. ...
  • They Use Anthropomorphism. ...
  • They Use Sex Appeal. ...
  • They Create Catchy Jingles. ...
  • They Strategize Color. ...
  • They Want You To Fear Missing Out. ...
  • They Doctor Visuals. ...
  • 7 Signs of Self-Sabotage.

How do ads target you? ›

Targeted advertisements rely on data already collected about customers, using demographics, interest, and behavior trends to approach consumers the way they prefer to be engaged. Leveraging customer data takes the guesswork out of customer acquisition and reduces spending on users who are unlikely to convert.

Why advertising is a mind game? ›

Advertising uses a variety of techniques to influence audience behavior. It may have a celebrity endorse a product or make fun of a competitor. It could evoke a sense of urgency to make you buy a product before it runs out. It could also play on your emotions by showing you a sad story with a happy ending.

Why are people clicking my ad but not buying? ›

If people are clicking on your ads and not converting, there could be problems with your website or landing page that run deeper than your ad copy. Issues could arise from: Inconsistent messaging. Poor UX and loading times.

Why do people avoid ads? ›

According to HubSpot Research, 91% of people believe ads are more intrusive now compared to two or three years ago, and 79% believe they're being tracked by retargeted ads. So, it's not hard to imagine why people are pretty ad-averse these days.

How do advertisers use psychology to convince consumers to buy their products? ›

People are more likely to buy from businesses when there is demonstrated proof that other individuals have made purchases and put trust in the company. By simply providing target audiences with reviews or testimonials, advertisers are taking advantage of this psychological principle.

What is bad about advertisements? ›

Advertising frequently uses psychological pressure (for example, appealing to feelings of inadequacy) on the intended consumer, which may be harmful. As a result of these criticisms, the advertising industry has seen low approval rates in surveys and negative cultural portrayals.

What are the problems of advertising? ›

Advertising Challenges
  • Reaching the right targeted audience.
  • Allocating enough budget.
  • Scalability.
  • Competition.
  • Relying on one marketing channel.
  • Downplaying the power of emotions.
Nov 16, 2021

Why do people avoid advertising on the Internet? ›

Previous studies found that perceived goal impediment, perceived ad clutter, and prior negative experience are positively associated with advertising avoidance on the Internet [31].

What are 3 disadvantages of advertising? ›

Disadvantages of Advertising
  • Cost - One of the major disadvantages of advertising is the cost involved in the entire process. ...
  • False claims - some ads make false promises and keep customers in the dark. ...
  • Price Impact - When a company uses various advertising channels, it adds costs to the product.
Mar 6, 2023

What form of advertising is most effective? ›

Word-of-mouth advertising is considered the most effective form. It has the desired qualities of strong credibility, high audience attention levels, and friendly audience reception.

Is advertising good or evil? ›

Advertising is evil when it leads to a deal that is biased towards one party. But if done for a good cause, advertising is really helpful. In the end, here is what you have to remember: Most people are looking for the right products or services.

Is advertising more harmful than helpful? ›

Yes, it can be harmful. But it can also be extremely beneficial to society. Advertising is an incredibly effective and powerful way to spread the word about important issues and products, such as AIDS awareness, diabetes monitors, tobacco and alcohol risks, and other health-related concerns.

What are the six key issues in advertising ethics? ›

Marketing is about attracting customers and making sales. However, there are some unethical advertising and promotion tactics that may cause people to mistrust your brand.
  • False advertising. ...
  • Portraying hurtful stereotypes. ...
  • Misusing customer data. ...
  • Negative advertising. ...
  • Advertising misleading pricing.
Dec 21, 2022

Why are ads disturbing? ›

The ads that disrupt the flow of information a user gets are considered to be the most annoying ones by consumers. Actionable tips: When people are in a hurry to find something out, don't have time or patience to deal with your ads. Especially with the ones difficult to close.

Does advertising make us unhappy? ›

Our analysis shows that if you doubled advertising spending, it would result in a 3% drop in life satisfaction. That's about half the drop in life satisfaction you'd see in a person who had gotten divorced or about one-third the drop you'd see in someone who'd become unemployed.

What is the biggest problem in online advertising? ›

The Top 5 Online Marketing Challenges — and How to Overcome Them
  1. Resource shortage. Unlike huge companies, SMBs often lack the funds to attract marketing professionals. ...
  2. Generating quality leads. ...
  3. Gauging your return on investment (ROI) ...
  4. Competition. ...
  5. Being on trend.
Mar 10, 2022


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