Why Most Advertising Fails

The reason why 85% of all advertising fails to reach the attention threshold is not because of the ad creative itself. It’s also not because of the ad platform So it doesn’t matter if the ads were promoted with Google Ads, YouTube Ads, Facebook (META) Ads, and so on. So what is responsible for so […]

Written By Godson

On May 30, 2024
___________ Updated May 31, 2024 @ 6:21 am

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The reason why 85% of all advertising fails to reach the attention threshold is not because of the ad creative itself.

It’s also not because of the ad platform

So it doesn’t matter if the ads were promoted with Google Ads, YouTube Ads, Facebook (META) Ads, and so on.

So what is responsible for so much failure in an industry housing some of the brightest minds on the planet?

Well, that’s what I want to discuss in this article. But first, let us define…

What Advertising Is

According to Wikipedia…

Advertising is the practice and techniques employed to bring attention to a product or service. Advertising aims to put a product or service in the spotlight in hopes of drawing it attention from consumers.

From this definition, we can see that advertising is an attention game

The success of an advertising campaign is largely dependent on its ability to capture attention; a scarce commodity, and turn that into action

If you are unable to get the readers, viewers, or listeners hooked, your ad will fall flat.


The Biggest Cause of Advertising Failure

I began by telling you that the reason why many adverts are lackluster in performance wasn’t because of the ad creative or the advertising platform.

That’s because the main reason is one step deeper. It is…


Advertising is about capturing people’s attention and getting them to take action.

I don’t know anyone in the whole world who can grab the attention of another person without first knowing anything about that person.

But in advertising, it’s more difficult.

You need to know several THINGS about, not one person, but a group of people.

This kind of understanding is what will allow you to:

  • Choose the right platform to show your ads
  • Use the right words in your copy
  • Determine the appropriate length of your copy

And so on.

Doing this is tedious work, so many advertisers make the mistake of pulling information out of thin air.

Typically, the majority of this assumed information is false.

Nothing beats spending time with your target before you attempt to sell them


How To Find Your Target’s Dirty Secrets

Here’s a post I made on X that read –

Think about that for a minute. If someone has information about something you’ve done in your past.

I’m pretty sure getting your attention and getting you to do something won’t be very difficult

That’s blackmail.

In marketing, it’s something similar.

Have you ever gotten a cold email or DM that contained something you recently did or said?

Maybe you spoke at a conference or wrote an article and a stranger picks up that detail and reaches out to you with it

I bet it got your attention, and if the rest of the copy did a good job, it may have gotten you to take action.

That’s what I am trying to describe.

Every group has its dirty secrets and with the techniques I am going to share, you can find them


Getting Into Their Flow

The first technique for finding the secrets about your audience is getting in their flow.

Groups like Pastors, Politicians, Doctors, Nurses, Gamblers, etc. all have things in common

They have unique slang and language patterns

They share similar core beliefs

It’s common sense to read blog posts, and books, listen to podcasts and watch videos targeted at those groups

This would get you thinking about the advert you want to create from their perspective, and more importantly, in their language.


Crafting A Buyer Persona

why advertising fails - customer avatar

Credits: Customer Avatar sheet – DigitalMarketer

Some people call this an avatar. Both names are fine.

An Avatar is the demographical and psychographical description of your ideal customer.

Forget the grammar, it’s a piece that describes who your target is, their challenges, goals, fears, and desires.

Take note, I said CUSTOMER not customers.

That’s because you need to understand one person, don’t try to understand the group

It’s a lot easier to focus on demystifying a member than the entire group.

Once you understand one person; there are millions of people with those same attributes.

Follow the guide for creating your customer avatar from DigitalMarketer HERE

As Gary Halbert once wrote:

When you’re trying to sell something there is no more powerful piece of ammunition you can have than to know someone’s real deep-down core desires.


Before And After States

As John Caples said;

In advertising, the customer comes first, the product comes second, and your copy comes last. 

In the first two points, I focused on the customer and helping you understand them and their dirty secrets.

That’s because it is that important.

In this third step, we want to understand the product but not isolation.

We are going to observe the product we intend to sell under the microscope of the customer.

One of the best ways to do this is by plotting the before and after states from Digital Marketer

why advertising fails - before and after state

Credits: Before and After states – DigitalMarketer

You see, people don’t buy products or services, they buy outcomes!

The before and after states help you visualize the outcomes your customers are going to experience after using your product

Instead of focusing on the features of your product or even the benefits

A properly mapped Before And After state, helps you keep the customer at the center of your advertising campaign even when describing your solution a.k.a. the product.



Advertising fails when it does not hit the hot buttons of the audience.

People are not interested in buying new products or services

They are seeking to solve problems. To achieve their secret desires.

Every buyer is looking for an outcome.

Creating ads that work requires a deliberate effort to uncover the audience’s dirty secrets

It’s hard work. But it’s important work.

You can discover these secrets by:

  1. Getting in their flow: Reading, watching and listening to resources created for or about them
  2. Creating a customer avatar: taking a deep dive into their lives
  3. Plotting their before and after state: Viewing your products from the lens of the ideal buyer

I hope you’ve enjoyed the read.

To learn more also read: How To Create Ads That Make Money

That would do it for this one.

Have fun!


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About Godson Okorodudu

Godson is a serial entrepreneur, public speaker, and author. He teaches about business, marketing, and self-development. His work has directly impacted over 26,000 people in 85 countries



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