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the importance of ad creatives

Recent research shows that the creative element of an ad is in fact the most important of all.

The creative is what your audience sees. In an online market that’s only becoming more crowded, the most compelling ad is the one that grabs and keeps the attention of your audience.

No matter how great your targeting is, how clever your audience strategy, how well set up your campaigns are, what bidding strategy you use or how well optimised your account, your ad creatives can make or break your campaign.

Your user ultimately only cares about the story your ad is conveying. This is what will make them click and this is why it’s so important to get it spot on.

what makes a good ad creative?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach. The make-up of a good creative very much depends on your brand, your audience and your objectives.

Some of the best ad performance we’ve seen has been from a simple creative. But, as a general rule, a good ad:

  • Is clear and concise

  • Places key messaging front and centre to keep the user engaged

  • Uses branding as a focal point, so users know who you are

  • Is created with the media in mind

  • Avoids overcomplicated text or design elements

tips to ensure a successful ad creative

think about your audience

Your audience should be at the core of everything you do and the same can be said when it comes to crafting your ad creatives.

Consider who your audience is, what you know about them, what matters to them and what, ultimately, will resonate. Taking this insight and translating it into your ad design will give you a better chance of engaging those who are most important to your brand.

consider the ad format

There are numerous advertising platform choices. Which you choose is very much driven by your audience, objectives and strategy.

You’ll find each platform will likely offer multiple ad types from video to sponsored posts, single image ads to carousel ads. Again, which ad type is most appropriate for your campaign is a decision that needs to be based on your objectives and what action you want your audience to take. The creative assets you will therefore need will be led by this.

It’s important to be clear on specific guidelines covering dimensions, file size and accepted file types before you get to work on your creatives as this will impact what you create. For smaller display banners, you may even need to reduce the number of elements included in your design to ensure the ad is legible once live.

messaging impact

Your message matters. When designing your ad creatives, it’s important to ensure your key points are front-loaded as early as possible in the campaign in an engaging, memorable and on-brand way. The volume of text is a critical element to consider within this. We advise keeping text short and snappy so you can get your message across fast. People will soon lose interest when greeted by too much copy. Also, think about your text to image ratio as some platforms will have restrictions in place for this as well. If you’re running a video campaign, you want your key messaging to be delivered within the first five seconds of that video starting too. Whether your ad is running on YouTube, YouTube partner networks or Facebook, it’s important to grab your audiences’ attention before they have the option to skip the ad.

highlight your call-to-action

What action do you want your users to take after seeing your ad? Your CTA needs to be strong, compelling and spark action. For example, if you’re selling a product, your CTA should be ‘Shop Now’ or ‘Buy Now’ rather than a softer CTA such as ‘Learn More’.

Users will click on your CTA because it matches an action they want to take. As such, your CTA needs to reflect what you want your users to do otherwise you will end up paying for clicks that don’t convert.

watch your language

The aim of your ads is to get people to engage which means your copy needs to be just as effective as your designs. Consider the language you use - will it trigger a response? Is it right for your audience? Does it match your brand’s tone of voice? Your language needs to be delivered in a way that’s fitting to your brand, appropriate for your readers and includes effective CTAs.

Many brands choose humour because it resonates, engages, entertains and, ultimately, it sells. Unless of course your brand is a more serious one in which case comedy would not be appropriate.

Take a look at the example from KFC below which quickly got consumers laughing. In 2018, KFC’s change of supplier led to nationwide chicken shortages and subsequent store closures. Facing backlash from customers, a sticky situation was soon turned into a funny one with the release of a reactive ad that played cleverly their brand name. A novel way to apologise for the mishap, the ad went viral, winning over their audience with their witty response.

choice of imagery

Choose your imagery carefully to ensure it's impactful and will resonate. Particularly when words are limited, your choice of imagery needs to do the talking.

Similar to copy restrictions, Google also has guidelines in place around the file size of your graphic. Striking the balance between high-quality imagery and meeting these guidelines can be tricky and is something to keep in mind when choosing your imagery.

use of colour

Colour acts as an emotional cue. The psychology behind your colour choices can play a big role in getting your audience to feel what you want them to and to do what you want them to.

You also need to consider how your choice of colours fits your brand. Text colour, background colour and button colour are all particularly important as you don’t want any of these elements to get lost within your ad or within the page.

did you hear that?

Similar to colour, sound is another opportunity to play on the senses. It can be extremely effective for building a sense of joy, excitement, pace, adrenaline, or even calm - whatever you desire - and essentially evokes an emotional response from your audience.

Namely used on video ads, it’s important to ensure your ad is effective and engaging both with and without sound. On some platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, sounds aren’t always automatically played and as such, you don’t want your message to get lost in the audio. You may even want to consider subtitles depending on your ad type to ensure it’s accessible for all.

the power of animation

Movement is a great way to draw the eye, capture attention and lead users towards conversion. Animation can be used in a clever and subtle way to achieve this, allowing brands to create an interactive experience without the need for video footage.

When it comes to animation, less is usually more. While you want your ads to be engaging, adding too much animation can be distracting and cause your ad to lose impact.

You also need to be aware that animation will add to your file size. As a general tip, animating text, colours and shapes will add less to your file size than animating imagery so carefully consider what elements need to be animated.

asset availability

Take stock of what assets you have to work with. As standard, you’ll need your logo and some form of imagery or brand elements to support your messaging.

You may initially think that video is impossible without existing footage to work with or the resource to produce it. But you’ll be surprised to know that just a few animated images and impactful copy can go a long way in telling your story effectively and engaging your audience.

test and learn from creative performance

Results and insight fuels action. Taking a test and learn approach is crucial to driving maximum performance. Finding learnings in each and every test, you’re able to tweak, refine and optimise your ads, continuously measuring results against your objectives.

To properly test the success of your ad creatives, make sure you have multiple versions available, experiment with different CTAs, try different ad formats as well as testing the use of imagery and video. Over time, you will begin to build an insightful picture of what your users best engage with so you can simply rinse and repeat.

our studio capabilities

Creativity is paramount if you want to break through the digital noise and engage your audience. The creative has the power to breathe life into every campaign. We’re firm believers in mastering the creative as much as the placement. Our in-house studio team are skilled in translating your message into visually engaging ad graphics through animations, image and video media.

If you need a hand with your ad creatives, our team are here to help guide you. Contact us to talk more.