5 Tips for Rethinking Digital Ad Creative

With today’s endless supply of data, targeting options, tracking metrics, and everything else that makes digital advertising so effective, there’s one component your strategy that might be getting overlooked: ad creative.

Marketing managers are often tasked with providing services for dozens of clients, and when time is limited, your creative strategy is often the victim of the shortened bandwidth. It’s necessary to point out that it doesn’t matter how great your campaign setup is if your audience doesn’t respond to the ad that’s shown to them.

In this article, I’ll provide some tips to help you upgrade your ad creative once and for all.


1. Shorten Video Content

Maybe you’ve heard, but attention spans have been shrinking dramatically over the past few years. Some experts say that the average web browser’s lasts just 8 seconds. In a timeline that’s filled with GIFS and memes, your detailed 45-second video is going to get passed up in favor of something that doesn’t take “all day.”

Nearly all digital advertising platforms recommend keeping video content to 30-seconds or less. For everything besides YouTube, this 30-second rule is probably still much too long. Facebook, for example, recommends brands utilize video content that is 15 seconds or less. This is also the suggestion of platforms like Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram. Though it’s hard to this length as being too long, the general rule of thumb is “don’t make it any longer than it has to be.” Obviously, if you need the full 15 seconds to get your message out, by all means, take your time. If you can get it all out in less time though, opt for the quick-hitting, attention-grabbing option instead.


2. Be Trendy

It seems like every week there’s another social media trend that’s taking over the internet. Quite frankly, keeping up with it all is a challenge, even if you’re active on several platforms on a daily basis. (If you need some help staying current, these are some great tools to use.)

Throwing your brand’s name into the conversation is an ideal way to generate audience engagement. It doesn’t matter how trivial the topic, if it’s trending, it’s important to seize the moment before it’s inevitably replaced by another subject within a matter of days. Not only will you benefit in terms of your audience’s responsiveness to your content, but social media algorithms will likely recognize your efforts as well. Playing to the algorithm is critical in 2021, and keeping content relevant to the conversations happening on social media platforms should be a top priority.


3. Get Real (Images)

One of the most underrated components of any business’s organic social media strategy is the importance of getting real, quality photos. In fact, even low-quality photos taken from a phone will outperform a beautiful stock image almost every single time. Here’s a real-life example: Two images were posted of the same product onto Facebook, one of a model wearing the product in a well-lit studio with professional photography, and one of an Instagram user wearing the same product in her bedroom, taken on a normal camera. Results showed that the user-generated content image led to a conversion rate of 0.90%, compared to 0.31% for the professional model’s image. (source)

Simply put, social media users are looking for a more personal, authentic experience when browsing through their timelines. If you want to dramatically increase both your overall number of impressions and also your audience engagement metrics, try using fewer stock images and more “real” photography. Even if you’re not exactly a pro with the camera, it will almost certainly improve your social stats.


4. Use Emojis

Stop rolling your eyes (🙄) at this one and listen up: like it or not, when used in ad copy, emojis increase the responsiveness of your audience! Don’t believe it? Check out Pizza Hut’s social media creation.

To reiterate the same point as the previous section, social media users want to feel that brands are being authentic. They don’t want some corporatized ad copy that sounds sterile and boring – they want the impression that there’s a real person (just like them) who is trying to form a connection by appealing to their human side, not just as a potential sale.

There are numerous experiments that have been conducted by brands across a range of industries and the verdict could not be more clear: even when nothing is changed except the addition of a couple carefully-chosen emojis, audiences look at the ad or post longer, engage with it more often, and click through to a landing page at a higher rate.


5. Show Off Your Team

Whether it’s a once-monthly #EmployeeSpotlight feature, a social media takeover, or simply posting pictures of your team having fun (or working hard) at the office, it’s always advantageous to put some faces to your business’s name!

Social media is intended to be, well, social. At the end of the day, your audience is going to have a much easier time forming a “relationship” with your brand if they’re able to see the people who are part of the company. In addition, there’s a potential benefit in terms of recruiting should you need to expand down the road in the sense that prospective employees will recognize that you’re a company who values its team members.

Cultivating a positive impression of your brand means putting people first – both your customers as well as your employees. Your customers are undoubtedly going to appreciate the faces behind a brand that they love.


Wrapping Up

Digital ad creative is crucial to getting your audience to act on your messaging. Neglecting to put the same amount of time into your creative process as you do into your targeting and data collection efforts means sacrificing potential conversions and positive brand association.

Not all businesses have an expert in creative development…that’s where we come in. If you could benefit from working with an agency that has experience in developing the creative assets behind the successful campaigns of several local businesses, get in touch today to schedule your free consultation and we’ll find a plan that works for your business.