What Are the Disadvantages of Online Advertising?

Alex Newth

Having an online presence is a necessity for many businesses, but marketing that online presence has certain disadvantages and downfalls that may persuade the business to use its advertising budget on other marketing methods. One of the disadvantages of online advertising is that many advertisements are seen as spam, and there are blockers to protect against the ads. In addition, many websites have ads, so customers experience advertising fatigue or blindness and may not see the ad. Websites lack the first-hand experience that a store offers, which can lead to high returns on sales stemming from online advertising. Disadvantages of online advertising also spring up from the expense, and often low return, of online ads.

In some cases, keywords can have more than one meaning.
In some cases, keywords can have more than one meaning.

Most users consider many of the online advertising vehicles, especially pop-up and pop-under ads, to be spam. This causes several problems for the business. With the ads being seen as spam, many users refuse to connect with them and, instead, just think of them as irritating. Another problem is that there are programs, often built into the Internet browser, that block these ads, so the business may be paying for ads that customers never even see. These disadvantages of online advertising may spill over into the business’s physical presence because, if the ads are irritating enough, customers may associate that irritation with the business.

Most users consider online advertising to be spam.
Most users consider online advertising to be spam.

Website owners want to make money and, if they are not selling a product, they are most likely displaying ads. This widespread ad placement has led to advertisement fatigue or blindness. With this condition, though ads are on the website, the customer does not consciously see or acknowledge them; this is especially true of seasoned Internet users and customers who are only interested in reading specific information on the website. This again results in businesses paying for ads that may never be seen.

Find out how you can save up to $257/month with these easy tools.

With TV, radio and print advertising, advertisements lead the customer into a store so he or she can try on clothes or look more closely at a product. When someone clicks on an online advertisement, they are brought to a website where images of products are displayed, but the customer cannot get the same first-hand experience. The website may lead customers to make a purchase, but it also can lead to high return rates, because clothes may not fit properly or the product may not be as good as it seemed, among other reasons.

Expense and low visibility despite widespread deployment are disadvantages of online advertising. Businesses often pay for ads that customers do not see, and the click-through rate — the rate at which users click an ad for more information &dmash; is only around 1 percent or 2 percent. Even if the business is only using cost-per-click (CPC) ads that allow the business to pay only when someone clicks the ad, there is no guarantee that the customer will buy from the website after clicking.

Online video advertising has become big business for companies trying to sell products and services online.
Online video advertising has become big business for companies trying to sell products and services online.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


The main problem with online advertising, I think, is that people have gotten used to ignoring ads over the years. There have been a lot of attempts to correct that over the past few years but those are largely viewed as annoying.

For example, if I go to a music site to research a band, the last thing I want to see is a full-page ad pop up for the latest One Direction album if my mouse wanders over to the wrong place. And then there are those ads that play video and audio as soon as one visits to a site.

Advertising is an important source of revenue for sites, but I do wonder how effective ads really are.

Post your comments
Forgot password?