It’s very common to encounter ads while you are browsing your Facebook, LinkedIn or any other social media feed. Business bet large amount of budgets on these advertisements that bring them followers, drive traffic and find leads. Social media advertising has been on the rise since 2012 making it one of the most crucial component of online marketing.

Social networks scaled ad market to potentially reach billions of people across the globe. Everyone today has an opinion on ads since their content consumption, and activities on social media are affected by these ads. They create disruptive and annoying experience for many users. According to a recent marketing survey it was reported that 40% of online browsers dislike video ads, mobile ads and pop ups the most. They have termed this as the most frustrating experience of their online browsing where they require to “close” the popup windows again and again when they visit a new website.

What’s Wrong with Today’s Sponsored Ads?

Sponsored ads don’t work for today’s audience who are tired of being targeted by companies whom they have no interest in. While all types of businesses, ranging from mom and pop stores to large enterprises across all industries, are investing enormous amount of budgets into ads, we need to analyze what it does to users in the long run.

Sponsored Ads don’t work for Audience

Reason 1: Ads are intrusive and annoying

Let’s admit it, most of us see up to 4,000 ads a day. Social networks are biased to show more ads than user generated content. However, they have been working hard to tweak algorithms to have a balance between sponsored and organic content on our feeds. After all, social networks were built to connect with our friends and family not to receive more ads. 

With over $120Billion invested by businesses in social media ads alone, every one of us who are on social media becomes targets of these ads everyday. No matter what you do, you are likely to encounter high percentage of ads on our feeds – isn’t it frustrating?

Reason 2: Ads disrupt browsing experience

Auto-playing audio or video ads are more disruptive than others. Imagine if you are in a meeting you need to browse something and a video ad starts playing without your consent. For those that do not know, there are settings in most of the social networks to control all these. Most users leave default settings on, so it gets even more annoying for them.

Reason 3: Ads create security concerns

Besides disrupting and annoying users, sponsored ads are also associated with security concerns. Social networks have general guidelines on how to create ads, and there is approval process for each ad. However, they lack deeper understanding of the motives behind these ads and sponsor companies. This causes users to fall prey for ad content that affect their buying patterns or trust in brands.

Sponsored Ads don’t Work for Businesses

Businesses spend a huge chunk of their budgets on sponsored ads. Though they reach wide audience, there are several drawbacks.

Reason 1: No personal touch

All social networks are obligated to show if the post on any feed is sponsored by a business or shared by friends and connections. When you are browsing your feed your brain, by now, is trained to skip reading sponsored ads and move on to those posts shared by your connections. This usually happens because there is no personalization or endorsements from known people. Then content naturally becomes unwanted.

Reason 2: Missed network-effect opportunity

Social networks are designed to have true network effect anytime a piece of content is shared. Content reach or network effect is mostly as good as the content itself. If there is value in any form like entertainment or educational, it attains higher network effect as opposed to the one with limited value. Sponsored ads completely miss this opportunity to exponentially reach audiences every time they are shared. For example, when was the last time you shared an ad from your feed?

Reason 3: Expensive bidding wars

Ads have always come with very high price tags. Ads on social networks are priced based on several criteria like keywords and target audience. When multiple businesses bid on same keywords, the one that pays higher will get shown. Bidding is not only bringing unnecessary cost competition but also contributes to unknown marketing spend against goals. For example, to achieve same number of leads every quarter, varied amount of money spending is required.

One Solution that works for both audience and businesses – Organic Reach!

Organic reach will solve sponsored ad issues on both sides. Audiences get to see content shared by their network and businesses can reach right audience. To increase organic reach, businesses should reach out to a set of kickstarters – in other words, brand advocates. Advocates can be employees, influencers, partners and investors. Basically, friends of business who have powerful and relevant networks. When these brand advocates share relevant content, it reaches high number of audiences with minimal or no expense at all.