Advertising is one of the chief cornerstones that buttress the realization of sales for any business. Nowadays digital marketing is the mainstay of business marketing leveraging on the wider reach borne out of vast online communities. The dominance of digital marketing has also given rise to fierce competition in the marketplace. Advertising on the internet or social media platforms is relatively easier and cheaper so it’s now a jungle out there. It now takes one’s creativity and uniqueness when putting together ad campaigns in order to stand out. If you fail to do that then you’ll be ruthlessly eclipsed by other businesses whose ad campaigns are more alluring. All these aspects form a strong basis for why you must carefully consider how you formulate your ad content. One area that I shall be discussing today is words or phrases you mustn’t use in your ad content. There are numerous words or phrases to avoid but I’ll just touch on some of them.


In business, there are many abbreviations that we get so accustomed to that we forget to consider that not many people (particularly customers) are familiar with them. Some examples are ROIs (return on investment) or KPIs (key performance indicators). It’s always wise to avoid abbreviations for phrases that aren’t names of entities (even in the case of names it’s wise to write out in full). In principle, abbreviations can either confuse the customers or they can be misinterpreted by them.


By redundancies, I’m referring to unnecessary repetitions often done in pursuit of laying down emphases. For instance, saying our latest product is ‘new and improved’ is an unnecessary phrase. If the product is new then the principal expectation is that it’s an improved one. Whenever a business issues an ad it is standard practice that their approach in everything they do is ‘forward-thinking’ – including that in ad content becomes a redundancy. It must be apparent to the customer that you’re forward-thinking without any mention. Another example is ‘result-oriented’ it’s an unnecessary inclusion in advertising content. It’s a foregone expectation that every business is result-oriented in their approach – customers expect nothing less.


This word is often used as click-bait or bait in ad campaigns. As much as people tend to be predisposed to free stuff it’s not really wise to use it – it tends to be cliché. Most businesses use ‘free’ when they know there are subsequent hidden costs – this is not good. Rather find other words or phrases to use instead of free in order to stand out; remember many businesses are using it. You could replace it with, for instance, ‘complimentary’, ‘for a reduced cost’ or ‘for a small cost’. Another thing to note is that most people set their email spam filters to get rid of emails with the term ‘free’. So just avoid the word ‘free’ as much as possible.

‘Guarantee’ Or ‘Ensure’

Most businesses use these terms to instil customer confidence in their products or services. However, this sets you up for possible fall-outs when things go south. Things don’t always go as planned so be more realistic in the words you use. You could use ‘we provide’, we strive for’ or ‘we promote’ as examples. They show that you prioritize doing and bringing out the best (but at the same time appreciating things might not go as planned).

Passive Tones

An ad must be compelling and for that to be achieved active tones must be used not passive ones. Here’s an example, ‘buying our products will cause you to have peace of mind’ – that’s passive. Rather say ‘buying our products will give you peace of mind’.


By all means, avoid jargon i.e. complex technical terms or big words. Let me just cite some examples; synergy, optimized, leverage or scalable are really nice words but not many people might be familiar with such jargon. In principle, be simple as possible; if someone has to consult a dictionary or stumbles upon an unfamiliar word in your advert content chances are you won’t rein them in.

Vague Words Or Phrases

There’s a tendency by businesses to use vague words or phrases. This can usually be an indication that you’re lying about what you’re saying. Examples are ‘a lot’, ‘wide range’, ‘something for everyone’ or ‘going the extra mile’. Rather than being this vague specify the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. For instance, ‘our product range comprises of over 100 types of hairpieces’ is better than ‘we have a wide range of pieces’.

Empty Or Unnecessary Filler Words

Often happens when people want to add emphasis but in essence, the words aren’t necessary. That can pass off as a desperate attempt to feign something in an effort to lure customers. For example, ‘low prices’ is enough rather than ‘unbelievably low prices’. You usually end up blending emptiness and redundancy altogether and that weakens the strength of your ad content. Another example is the word ‘really’, ‘actually’ or ‘that’. Ads have to be as short and precise as possible so don’t make ads longer by using unnecessary filler words.