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5 Marketing Mistakes That Make Your Customers Go, “#*%^!”

Angie Tran

Content Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

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Mistakes happen — we’re human, after all. However, while many marketing mistakes are fixable, some unforgivable sins can make your customers go, “#*%^!” And unless your whole brand is about annoying shoppers, nobody wants that.

Don’t want your customers to go off in rage-induced rants at your poor customer service agents? Keep these marketing mistakes in mind. And if you’re reading this and thinking, “Uh oh, this sounds familiar,” don’t fret — it’s not too late to turn those frowns upside down.

1. Neglecting Mobile Shoppers

Imagine this: You’re on an ecommerce site and — wow! — a product has piqued your interest. You’ve clicked “add to cart” and are trying desperately to check out, but the buttons are so dang tiny that you have to keep pinching and scrolling. The only thing to do is give up.

Don’t commit this marketing mistake. 48% of shoppers say a site that isn’t optimized for mobile devices means companies don’t care about their business. 


2. Not Capping Ad Frequencies

Imagine this: You clicked on an intriguing ad but didn’t fall in love with anything on the site. Moments later, you’re on Facebook, and you see a related ad. Fine. Now, you’re surfing the web, and everywhere you look are ads upon ads for the brand. It’s the same the next day, and the next day, and by the end of the week, you’ve gotten so irritated you’ve decided to never, ever shop with them.

Retargeting Ad Example

“Please leave me alone,” you say. Instead of 😜, you’re feeling more like 🤬.

Don’t commit this marketing mistake. Ad fatigue is real, and it’s not just ads — you don’t want to spam shoppers’ inboxes or social media feeds either. 


  • Ask yourself if your content is relevant, informative, entertaining, and genuinely valuable.
  • Segment your ads and emails.
  • A/B test your ideal ad frequency.
  • Make it easy for people to unsubscribe from your emails.
  • Allow them to choose how often they want to receive emails when they sign up (e.g., monthly or weekly).

3. Using One Ad Creative Everywhere

Imagine this: Think of the previous example, but exacerbate it by only seeing one ad creative — the same visual, headline, and CTA, over and over again.

Don’t commit this marketing mistake. Don’t be boring too predictable. 


  • Always develop a sequence of creatives for every campaign.
  • Use a brand guide to keep all your creative elements aligned.

4. Showering Shoppers With Discounts

Imagine this: You love this brand — it consistently offers you 35% off coupons and promotes “limited-time sales;”; in fact, you’ve never purchased anything full price. Even better, you’ve discovered a trick where, if you add an item to your cart and don’t check out, an email will immediately land in your inbox that reminds you to check out (with yet another coupon). Woohoo!

Sales Discount Ad Example

When you know it’s not really a “last chance.” 😉

Plot twist: While this example will make shoppers go, “Yay!” it’s you, the marketer/business owner, who will go, “#*%^!” as your profit margins evaporate.

Don’t commit this marketing mistake. While discounts and deals are a great way to capture more sales, leveraging them nonstop not only primes shoppers to never buy items full-price but also cheapens your brand image. 


  • Consider offering value that’s not just slashed prices. Here are some ideas.
  • Use discounts sparingly. Tie them to a specific event, such as a holiday or a seasonal shift.

5. Ignoring Customer Help Requests on Social Media

Imagine this: You need help — your order hasn’t arrived, or maybe you have a question about a product. You hop onto the brand’s Facebook page, where they post every day. You comment, “Hi! I need help please” in today’s post (or maybe you send it as a DM). Hours pass. No response. The brand then posts some marketing image—clearly, the person running the page is online. Still no response. Your irritation increases. Days pass, and your question or comment remains unanswered.

Don’t commit this marketing mistake. Social media is a communication tool, not a place to simply broadcast marketing messages. If your customers are looking for help, social media is one of the first places they’ll turn—and lousy customer service can kill your brand.


  • Use a social media customer service tool, such as Zendesk or Sprinklr.
  • Encourage followers to engage with you on social media platforms by asking questions, launching polls, and posting user-generated content (UGC).
  • Hire a social media manager to monitor all your platforms.

Armed with this list of marketing mistakes, it’s time to turn “#*%^!” into a thumbs up (or, even better, a five-star review). For more tips on how to keep your customers happy, check out the AdRoll Marketing Resource Library today.

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