How to Create Stand-out Ad Creative (Part 1)

Consulted with Kim Walker, the senior manager of client services here at Randall-Reilly, for extensive information on the following topic.

In this day and age where the web browsing experience is so heavily saturated with ads, it can be difficult to grab your audience’s attention with your marketing. In other words, your ads have to stand out from thousands of other ads to catch your audience’s eye. This should tell you how competitive ad space is. You are competing not only with other companies like yours, but with companies in other industries whose ads just happen to be on the same webpage as yours.

So how do you distinguish yourself in such a competitive space? Your ad creative.

The Importance of Ad Creative

 
Ad creative can be defined as the elements of your ad used to convey your message to your audience. These are the parts of your ad your audience experiences i.e. visual (design and written content), audio (spoken content, music), etc. The thing about ad creative is that it can be challenging to make it compelling. Take advertising on Google for instance. Google changes its ad algorithm 500-600 times a year. Many of those changes are minor tweaks, while others force you to re-examine what you’re doing from day-to-day in the platform. When you couple that with the necessity to match the attribution models to how your organization functions; the general chaos between integrations; and finding the balance between manual optimization and machine learning; you’re left with a very challenging process. And this is only referring to Google platforms.

Life would be so much easier if you didn’t have to think about ad creative at all, right? But the reality is that you cannot ignore its importance. Creative plays a big part in driving the success of your campaigns.

Across various industries, creative quality was the largest factor in sales lift from advertising. That number jumps up to 70% in display campaigns. So as you can see, ad creative is key to your marketing.

So how do you go about creating stand-out ad creative? We took a deep dive into data to identify the most important elements of ad creative.

We started by collecting data from 2,500+ Search Ads and 7,800 Facebook Ads. We pulled reports, sorted by click-through-rate, and cross-referenced with conversion rates. We found that 50% of the time, a high CTR correlated with a higher conversion rate. So we reviewed the ads and were able to extract some commonalities between them.

  1. Visual
  2. Verbal
  3. Relevancy

Visual

 
Visual Ad CreativeWhen people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information 3 days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information 3 days later. Our brains are wired to see patterns and symmetry, and, when we see this, our eyes stay on it and we remember it. This makes visuals a powerful element in your ad creative. Leverage that power by taking your visuals up a notch.

If you are only working with sub-par images, make sure your images are high-resolution. If you have high-res images, use more and look for where you can add in animations i.e. slideshows, giphys, cinemagraphs, etc.

One of the strongest visual formats is video. With 100% growth in consumption year over year, YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine. Our highest CTRs are on ads with animations or videos. Consider your own online activity. How many of you have found yourselves on YouTube for hours, going down the rabbit hole of whatever obscure thing holds your interest? With the high likelihood of finding your audience on YouTube, this presents a need to incorporate video into your advertising if you are not already. Another fact to take into consideration is that video works at every part of the marketing funnel: awareness, consideration, and decision phases.

Verbal

 
Verbal Ad CreativeWhile a picture is worth a thousand words, you have to fit that into 30 characters on your ads. In other words, you only have a few lines to convey your message. So where do you start? Begin by looking at it from your audience’s point of view. What value does your message provide for them? Whatever the answer to that question is, you have to communicate that with just a few words. This makes the language you use very crucial. So stick to language that presents the value you’re offering to your audience. For instance, “How to”, “Top 10 Lists”, “The Best Of”. Language like this tells your audience they are about to learn something valuable and it gives them insight into the quality of the content.

Layering on a sense of urgency (e.g. one-time offer, today only, etc.) and exclusivity around your offer makes your audience feel like they are receiving something specifically for them.

Relevancy

 
Relevant Ad CreativeYou can have amazing ad creative, but that will not matter if your ads are reaching the wrong people. The first step to making your ads relevant is to make sure you’re reaching the right people. Are they in your targeted locations? Are they ready to buy? Targeting the right people in the right place at the right time ensures you’re reaching people who will find your ads relevant.

You can use automation to increase the relevancy of your ads. For example, you can set up rules that allow your ads to run at certain times. Perhaps you are trying to reach a certain type of professional or certain businesses. You can set up rules to have your ads run during work hours. You can also set up scripts across platforms e.g. negative placement lists, pausing keywords, etc.

Knowing the key elements of ad creative that grab the attention of your audience is a great start. Still, it’s only the beginning of creating great ad creative. In Part 2 of How to Create Stand-Out ad creative, we’ll go behind the scenes and find out what it takes to get your stand-out ad creative up and running.
 

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