Overdoing is the undoing of Digital Advertising

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Did Digital Advertising industry murder itself?

At the start of this year, you made a resolution to start running.

You searched the online marketplace for running shoes that fit your needs and found the pair you’d like to buy. As you are browsing your social media feed the next day, you are shown an ad offering you a discount on that exact pair of shoes. You are excited and thus incentivized to complete the purchase.

Such is the brilliance of Digital Advertising.

It can spread joy, shave off some costs, and offer further incentivized discounts for possible future purchases. For businesses, it increases brand awareness, offers lower acquisition costs, and improves conversions.

On the other hand, imagine this- you are looking to get a gift for your friend whose birthday is a month away. Are the incessant ads necessary?

The ever-expanding ad space has stabbed the advertising industry in the foot. Today, our digital self is an extension of us. Our offline selves gain value from ads- because they work as an extension of our current setup.

Think about it for a second- when watching a game of cricket, you would get ads between overs, or when watching a movie/show over cable, you would see an ad after a period of run-time- this would not only act as an ad space, but also as a curiosity builder for the upcoming scene in the movie/show. Since you would not want to miss even a second of your experience, you stay glued to the television and watched the ads, anticipating what lies beyond the close of the advertisement.

As you wait, should the advertisement be creative, informative, and engaging, it would inspire the right actions on your end. For eg: A creative ad from Dominos as you watch your favorite sport could inspire you to place an order with the pizza giants.

However, imagine, instead of running an ad, Dominos opts to bang at your door after every 10 minutes as you are watching the game-How ANNOYING! Ridiculous and Ruinous.

Or imagine driving across the highway and you see a billboard for Halloween discounts- these billboards are the extension of our environment and could register further action in the immediate future.

But socialization took a page from the book of trade and embraced globalization. In a globally connected world, where our digital self connects with not only like-minded individuals but also our favorite brands, bands, corporates, and celebrities, social media became a central hub for all things that leverage network effects.

This meteoric increase in social media usage paved the way for personalization.

As a result, advertisers lapped up at this propellor to boost conversions and achieve record-breaking ROI liftoffs.

But with great power, comes great responsibility.

Door to door-esque old sales tactics is not the best match here. Every time an ad is placed on socials such as Facebook or Instagram, it interrupts the users’ doom scroll. The dopamine release caused due to infinite scrolling breaks the reward circuits of the brain, and in this state where users are looking for quick-fix dopamine, adverts come off as an uninvited eclipse and feeds irritability.

Limited advertising space is a good thing- it allows for brands and consumers to connect, but overdoing compounds the pre-fed irritability of the user. Hence, the death of banner ads.

Similarly, when Youtube and other video streaming platforms provide ad space that runs non-skippable ads, these platforms go from using rocket fuel to using hellfire, which is sure to engulf their own platform and cause havoc in its path.

Ethical Advertising never goes out of style

In this rapidly shifting digital paradigm, and with the rising importance of digital privacy; brands should understand that ethical advertising is still valued by consumers. Ethical advertising is nested in the answer to only one question:

If I were to be on the receiving end of incessant ads, would I punch the advertiser?

If yes, you are overdoing it.

When reviewing your ad campaign, platforms often point you towards a metric called frequency.

Expert tip: For brand awareness campaigns, since the goal is to be remembered, higher frequencies with varying creatives and copy is acceptable.


When you take the social out of social media, the remnants of the platform do not resemble the original mission and the reason why users signed up in the first place. When you take media out of social media, the platform does not spark conversations.

That is the new frontier where social media platforms are headed towards. Sometimes old ways are the best, and social platforms need to creatively find the solution that brings balance across social, media, and advertising aspects of their platforms.



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