Quick Tips to Help Digital Marketer Clients Avoid Being Cancelled

BY Rachel Cagle
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Cancel culture has got brands on high alert. But it doesn’t have to be as terrifying as your digital marketer clients think. Here are a few tips to avoid public backlash.

Quick Tips to Help Digital Marketer Clients Avoid Being Cancelled

What is Cancel Culture/​Being Cancelled?

Cancel culture is so prevalent nowadays that even Merriam-​Webster has a definition for it. “The practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure.” Basically: It’s when a group of people put pressure on consumers as a whole not to engage with a brand or person because of something that person/​brand said or did.

One of the most famous examples of cancel culture happened to a popular children’s author after they made a transphobic post on Twitter (now X). Their popularity took a huge hit, and instead of trying to rectify the situation, they doubled down on their views publicly, which made things worse.

Let’s discuss how to help your digital marketer clients avoid a similar situation.

It Starts with Where Your Client’s Ads are Placed

What to Avoid

Before you dismiss cancel culture as something only certain demographics participate in, there’s something you should know. According to a study by IAS, 82% of consumers agree that it’s important for content surrounding online ads to be appropriate. What does that mean?

Your client’s ads shouldn’t be anywhere near content such as:

  • Hate speech and acts of aggression: 68% of consumers agree
  • Adult and explicit sexual content: 65%
  • Terrorism: 64%
  • Violence and human rights violations: 59%
  • Misinformation: 58%
  • Spam or malware: 57%
  • Obscenity and profanity: 54%
  • Illegal drugs, tobacco, e‑cigarettes, vaping or alcohol: 53%

If your digital marketer client’s ads appear anywhere near this type of content, a slew of negative consequences will follow, including:

  • Feelings of ill favor toward the brand: 71% of consumers agree
  • A decline in trust: 70%
  • Less brand engagement: 56%
  • Fewer brand recommendations: 52%
  • A full stop of product or service usage: 51%

Why? 71% of consumers believe that the content surrounding a brand’s ads reflects its values.

How to Succeed

Placing your digital marketer client’s ads near appropriate online content not only helps them avoid being cancelled, it boosts consumers opinions of their brand. 50% of consumers will recommend a brand that advertises next to appropriate content. Another 45% say that they’re likely to engage with brands that post ads near appropriate content.

And, arguably most important, 50% of consumers say that they’re likely to make purchases from brands with ads near appropriate content.

Consumers are the most receptive to ads on the following sites:

  • Shopping: 36% of consumers agree
  • News: 35%
  • Social Media: 35%
  • Entertainment: 34%
  • Travel: 22%
  • Music: 21%
  • Sports Media: 18%
  • Gaming: 17%
  • Fitness: 13%
  • Financial: 12%

To find out which social platforms and other sites your client’s target audience is the most active on/​visit the most, check out their profile on AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel.

Creating Quality Ads

Placing your digital marketer client’s ads on quality sites is just step one of ensuring their brand is portrayed in the best light. Step two is avoiding any of the problematic content listed above in their ads themselves.

Quality ads stick to promoting a product or service appropriately. Try to avoid problematic content, even if your client may think it’s funny, such as promoting stereotypes.

If Things Go Wrong

Inappropriate content can still sometimes make its way into public spaces. If that happens with your client, don’t get defensive. They should apologize sincerely and commit to combatting that kind of inappropriate behavior going forward, both within their brand and from others.

Follow these tips to make sure your digital marketer clients avoid getting cancelled.

Photo by: LARAM