GFA Opinion

Misleading Ads And Their Effects On Customer Trust

Have you ever seen an impressive ad, either on social media, a billboard, or television, and you get thrilled to download the app or buy the wig, only to discover that it doesn’t even include or feature half of what it claims in the ad? Disappointing yeah?  

Most businesses invest all their resources and effort in digital marketing strategies while failing to provide quality products or services. As the Zuckerbergs of the world rake in such huge revenue, what does this new ad culture mean for digital marketers and consumers alike?  

One can argue that businesses may be too focused on marketing and advertising, maybe to the detriment of the development and refinement of the solutions they provide. This is especially true for new startups who intend to get funding for series A and B, respectively. Fantasies of large-scale expansion and globalization abound. Lofty goals, but without solidifying the product and making sure the first crop of users are optimized, it may lead to what I will term “marketing wars” for the purpose of this discourse.  

This is a state of heavy competition for eyeballs on social media, heavy focus on awareness and “putting your brand out there” where customers end up having plenty to complain about the service or product when they eventually buy into the product or service. 

 “In fact, the pursuit of brand awareness alone has ended up stunting growth for many businesses. Here are some common problems marketers face when they’re on the hunt for brand awareness, and brand awareness alone.”

Jenny Coppola, 

This article was written to explain the effects of deceptive advertisements on your customers’ trust, however before we get there, let us define advertising. 


Wikipedia describes “Advertising” as “a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea.”   

Advertising is the marketing process through which businesses promote their products or services to prospective clients. This includes projecting the value of whatever you are offering to the public and convincing them to want to try it out, stick with it, and even refer it to anyone out there who might want any of your solutions.  


Marketing is an integral part of building a business, or any brand for that matter. Advertising is at the forefront of most marketing strategies, and in this social media age, sponsored social media advertisements have become the rage of the moment. As of 2019, marketers report that a mind-blowing one in four posts are ads. That number must have definitely gone up in 2022. Reports say that the average today is one ad for every post. 

Without the need for a question, of course, advertising is critical to businesses; how would you attract more customers if you do not advertise? However, you should ensure that your product or service is essentially what you say it is. “Marketing isn’t simply an important part of business success – it is the business. Everything else in the business depends upon marketing.” Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks as well as other media and entertainment companies, puts it succinctly: “No sales. No company.” 

It’s quite pointless to create an epic advertising campaign if you’re promoting a substandard product or a poor customer experience. Nowadays, a vast majority of customers will opt to read reviews before making a purchase decision. 


1. Lack of trust. 

People, in general, hardly believe what brands claim. This is maybe the most difficult challenge facing the advertising industry today. After all, trust is the foundation of any successful, long-term relationship, and this is required between brands and clients. 

Brands are now expected to work hard to earn the attention and trust of clients, and what happens if you do that and on the first experience of using your products or services, it turns out horrible? Be transparent and reliable as a business first, and then transcend that into your messaging and advertisements. 

2. Poor customer experience. 

Marketing has evolved, and an advertisement is now more than simply a slick promotional storyline. It is the entirety of all customer engagements. 

In a digital world where services represent approximately 69 percent of global GDP, having a seamless customer experience can be a powerful point of distinction. Therefore, creating a satisfying customer experience should be seen as a marketing investment and not a business cost to be minimized. 

3. Bad brand name. 

We are witnessing a major shift in power dynamics between brands and consumers. Before, people had little choice but to listen to what marketers had to say on a few radio or television channels, but now, every Instagram profile and Twitter account is a media source in its own right. 

People are no longer passive customers because of social media’s democratization of the share of voice. Consumers are now in control of when, where, and how they interact with brands, and they are using this newfound power to voice their concerns and boycott brands that do not share their values or provide quality services.  

This could appear to be yet another day on Twitter, but it will undoubtedly leave smears on your brand name, maybe resulting in a loss of sales. Businesses should place a greater emphasis on constantly working to improve product quality and create customer satisfaction that will lead to a lot of patronage and referrals. 

4. Lack of added value. 

Most advertisements emphasize the interests of the business over the needs of the consumer, which is understandable to a point because marketers must reach strict metric goals. The simplest method to achieve these targets is to spend the marketing money on a call to action related to the goals at hand, but this may also be short-sighted.  

Before launching any future campaigns, consider placing yourself in the position of the client and asking, “What do I get from this?” 

Advertisers may provide value in several ways. First, notify individuals of a need that the brand can meet or a problem that the brand can solve. Second, by providing a form of entertainment. Remember that advertisements can be witty and entertaining. Third, by taking action to address the social and environmental concerns that people and the earth face. 

5. Loss of money and resources. 

As a business, especially a start-up, you need all the money and resources you can get to help you establish and expand your firm, so investing a lot of money in an ad that ends up being a massive flop may not be the best thing for you. 

Brands need to figure out how to focus on developing their products rather than creating deceptive advertisements with a great deal of money that will result in zero consumers and further tarnish their brand identity. 

RELATED POST: How To Constantly Evolve As An Entrepreneur

6. Ad fatigue. 

One recent study concluded that the average African, for example, is exposed to anywhere between 2000 and 5000 ads per day, but volume is far from being the only problem. A surplus of brand advertising is overpopulating people’s screens and feeds, and when people try these products and find them misleading in any way, they begin to gravitate towards ad-blocking software and premium, ad-free services. 

Constant bombardment of deceptive digital junk will cause ad fatigue and popup blindness, and if this becomes a long-term trend, what will businesses do to get their product to market? 

7. Stunted brand growth. 

Nowadays, a growing number of companies are using the opportunity to highlight their environmental and societal credentials, including conducting ad campaigns that claim to improve the world but afterwards fail to deliver on their promises. 

This will progressively make customers skeptical of brand promises, and in an era where people can Google what your brand stands for in seconds, making misleading promises is not acceptable. The market is not as gullible as many believe. People are becoming aware of what works and what does not. Views and impressions that one might call “awareness” would not convert many customers, which would lead to brand growth if the products are not solid. 

Every business that wants to succeed should aim for brand affinity rather than simply dispersing misleading ads over the internet. Consumer behavior is shifting and dancing to a different tune. Therefore, entrepreneurs can analyze these points and begin to work continuously on improving their products as well as creating advertisements in a very clear manner to convey the accurate information. 

Silas Ugochi

Silas Ugochi is a Staff Writer and Content Creator at GetFundedAfrica. Ugochi is an educated content writer who relishes using her skills to help GetFundedAfrica's Media Team achieve the goal of sharing the success stories of African entrepreneurs. When she isn't writing articles, she can be found listening to music, reading, or DJing.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button