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Your Beginner Guide to the World of Advertising
Advertising has become an inherent part of our life. An average person may be exposed to around 4 000 ads daily, oftentimes not even realizing that they have just seen is an ad.
Advertising has its uses. It can provide us with the information we need and let us know what our options are.
Sadly, there are many forms of misleading advertising out there which many of us will fall victim to at some point in our lives. We have to be cautious and be able to distinguish promoted qualities from a real quality product.
Types of Advertising
Direct promotion involves an explicit call to make a purchase or use a service. You can watch, hear or read such ads on television, radio, internet, and in magazines, newspapers, flyers etc.
Indirect marketing does not sell or promote a product straight away. It is more about growing brand awareness, building relationships with their consumers. Examples of indirect marketing are: social media accounts, newsletters, blogs, sponsorship and product placements.
Such type of advertising is intended to create and retain consumers’ interest and brand loyalty. It can also offer a potential customer more insights into the company’s product or service quality and provide with valuable information on topics related to the product. For example, a makeup brand may offer make up tutorials and expert advice on their blog, while using their own products as samples.
Benefits of Advertising
Not only can advertising help businesses to sell their products, but it can also be useful to consumers in many ways. Advertising helps us to:
Know What New Products Are Out There
Sometimes we may discover a great new product on our own, without ever seeing it advertised. We could stumble across it in a store and decide to try it. However, these are the rare occasions. The rest of the time, we do rely on official advertising to know more about the products available to us.
Know What Our Options Are
All products and services are produced with the aim of solving a problem or meeting a need . And without advertising, we may not even know that there are potential solutions to them.
Compare Products on the Market
There may be many different products in the market to choose from. Adverts can provide us with enough information to compare and decide which goods are the best fit for us.
What to Look For in an Ad
We are exposed to many persuasive adverts throughout the day. It can be too easy to forget about our own needs. When you come across an advert, there are several key questions you need to ask yourself before allowing yourself to be drawn in by it.
What the Product Is
Some adverts may be very entertaining, but still leave you unclear as to what the advertised product or service actually is.
Do I really Need It?
A good advert could lead you to prompt purchase decisions that you might regret later. Think of how you can really benefit from this product or service.
Can I Afford it?
Adverts may not always disclose pricing, but discovering the cost of advertised product or service is an obvious step before committing to a purchase.
Even if a product or service looks amazing, you may want to investigate the company behind it. There will be brands that have garnered a solid reputation for quality and reliability, and those whose track record will make you want to proceed with extra caution.
What Is False Advertising
Many of us may fall prey to false advertising . It is not always our fault as there are, unfortunately, many dishonest advertisers looking to exploit potential customers. There are some signs of false advertising we should watch out for.
Signs of False Advertising
- The Infamous “Fine Print”: When an offer seems too good to be true, read the fine print to find out terms of service, which may prove the large print ambiguous and deceptive.
- Visual Design Which Obscures Information: Design elements that seem to make certain information less visible. If font size is unreasonably small (it should be no smaller than a 10point size), the text is obscured by pictures, or if the background is in a very similar color to the text, then the advertisers may be deliberately trying to prevent you from accessing all relevant information.
- Bold statements: Examples of such ads are: “lowest prices guaranteed” “best (product) ever”, “guaranteed results”. Look instead for actual prices, facts and reviews that offer substantial proof to their claims.
- Vague wording: Beware of such pricing phrasing as “up to…”, “as low as…”, “your share of…”. These adverts can be misleading.
- Claims of Sales or Discounts: When an advert claims a discounted price, check the original price of the product. Sometimes advertisers claim to have a sale in order to lure customers in, while offering the regular price instead.
- Prices That Seem Too Good To Be True: Look for the possible hidden costs, such as shipping, handling and even taxes.
- Vague Product Descriptions and Names: Check out the name of the manufacturer, supplier and model number of a product that should be specified in the ad copy.
- Irrelevant Images: Beware of adverts with images that have nothing to do with the product or service described.
How to Avoid Falling Victim to False Advertising
Anyone can become a victim of false advertising. The safest way to prevent this is by using your discernment and learning as much you can about a new product or a service before you go for it.
Consider User Reviews
Since adverts are produced with the goal of closing sales, you can expect them to paint a product or service in the brightest colors. This is where user reviews come in handy. Who can offer you more honest opinion than a person who has already invested in advertised goods?
Using Reviews to Avoid False Advertising
Many reviews confirm an ability of a product or a service to deliver on its promoted qualities. Reviewers may discuss a product’s quality and efficacy in great detail, while sharing their personal experiences with the product or service.
If an advertiser has employed false advertising, past customers may have already discovered this and written negative reviews. Some review platforms offer you an opportunity to ask questions about certain products. Reviews are a great way to bypass the claims of manufacturers and advertisers, and get honest and complete feedback from real customers.
Where to Find Great Reviews
Reviewers voice their opinion on a product at various platforms. There are many review websites where you can research reviews of products. Websites that sell the product may also have a feedback section. Social media platforms and product fan pages may also provide desired reviews.
Using Reviews to Look for What You Want
Reviews may also be biased or even unfair. It all depends on personal preference, needs and viewpoint. Before you make a judgment based on someone’s review, think about their reasons for the conclusion about the product.
Sometimes, you will have to use your own judgement to determine whether their expectations were reasonable or their needs were in line with yours. Take some time to decide what you are expecting from the product, and look for honest reviews about that product.
Advertising should make our lives simpler by providing us with the information we need to make informed decisions. Sadly, the copious amounts of advertising we encounter and the deceitful advertising practices out there can overwhelm and confuse us. The trick is to be mindful of this at all times. Once you know what you want once you are aware of what to look out for in an advert as well as where to go for a second opinion, you should be OK.