When it comes to the modern days of promotion, competing with noise is just part of the game. In the endless sea of blogs, pop-ups, banner ads, search ads, side-scrolling and carousel ads, and branded videos ads, it’s easy for a brand to be overlooked or flat-out ignored when their digital content and advertising doesn’t grab prospective customers’ attention.
That’s why at Ignite Visibility, we work so hard to optimize our clients’ copy to grab the intended audience. With the right keywords and phrasing, your company will no longer simply be a visual footnote on a web page.
Many of the tricks we’ve garnered along the way for promotional web content translate just as well to digital advertising. Read on to learn some of the best practices for creating brief but memorable digital ads in a modern, mobile, and distracting time on the web.
Best Practices for Digital Ads
Some things never change. Even when writing digital ads in 2022, the basic rules of advertising for B2B and B2C (or anything, really) still apply. But the more nuanced requirements of a good ad campaign can sometimes be difficult to nail down.
So what’s rule #1? We bet you $10 that says you already know it!
Yes, you’re exactly right—know your audience! Before you even begin an ad campaign, you need to know some things about the intended prospect.
1. Know Your Customer (or Prospect):
Outside of knowing your goals and KPIs (another precursor to a campaign), to begin drafting copy for any advertising campaign, first, you’ll need to jot the following information down to create a customer profile (company type, industry, revenue, relevant needs, etc.).
- Who is the customer?
- What do they do (think job title personas) and what do they want?
- What words do they use in their respective industry?
- What are their pain points?
- What are their current solution’s weaknesses?
Knowing who the customer is, how they talk, and what they need is key to creating any form of copy targeting a group. Once you lock down your target demographics and map out these personas (i.e. business founders or CEOs who desperately need cloud management services since moving to remote offices) for your client’s intended audience, you’ll be well on your way to drafting a superb, targeted ad campaign!
2. Be Brief
You’ve probably heard people say, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” And if it’s good enough for Shakespeare, it’s good enough for you!
This next best practice in digital advertising is another age-old trick: Keep it simple.
With the advent of mobile technology (fast scrolling) and only the from a user, brevity in copy is the way to a potential customer’s heart (or click, wallet, etc.), no matter the industry.
This is especially true when it comes to smaller digital ads. This translates to a maximum of about 30 characters or 5-10 words for a square sidebar ad (200 x 200 or 250×250).
That’s an impressively small postage stamp to grab someone’s attention with, and it’s no easy feat! This is where punchy, clever language comes in handy. You need to cut straight to the heart of what a client’s service offers (and how it benefits potential customers), so don’t forget to use the persona and pain points we mentioned above!
3. Choose the Right Font
A picture is worth 1,000 words, but sometimes so is the actual font you’re using for your digital ad copy.
Helvetica, for example, is one of the world’s most popular fonts used in advertising due to its bold, clean, and standout lettering. With many of the largest brands in the world (and even entire Metro transit systems) using the typeface for ads and signage, it’s something familiar and visible, no matter the context. It doesn’t have any of those stuffy serifs either, so it’s timeless and easy to read, yet remains plain enough to not be jarring or irritating.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of other options to choose from! As suggested in our first tip, tailoring ads to your audience is always best.
For instance, if your customers have an academic or scientific background, you may want a font with those classic serifs involved (think The New York Times’ Georgia font or Times New Roman). For a younger demographic, more modern, colorful, and loud lettering (i.e. sans serifs like Century Gothic, OpenSans, or Montserrat) could make the difference between scrolling through or making a click-through conversion.
Whatever font you choose (and you can’t always choose when using built-in digital ad tools), don’t be afraid to play around and get third-party feedback on their impact.
4. Follow the Optimal Structure of a Small Digital Ad
Drafting the perfect digital ad requires knowing how to structure and use each piece of copy correctly. The general order of content should be 2-3 lines, depending on whether your ad is strictly mobile or on desktop.
With a strictly mobile ad, you can even skip line three and shoot for a quick one-liner description/headline and a CTA. Overall, when drafting ad content, you’ll want to include the basics of the following:
- Promise (what your product can do for someone).
- Value (what you offer others do not).
- A good, strong CTA (Buy, order, sign up, do something) for prospects.
Here’s a quick rundown of how to format each piece of your ads to write the most compelling copy around. (Our examples will highlight a plumbing company.):
- Line 1: Headline/tag line/hook: Catch people’s attention quickly
- “Your neighbor’s favorite plumber”
Also, consider using the brand name icon front and center.
- Line 2: Brief, solid description of the service. Highlight benefits, pain points, or authoritativeness of your service
- “ Fix your water leak already!”
- “Local experts to fix your pipes”
- Line 3: Strong Call to Action (CTA) Appeal to the emotions
- “Call a pipe expert today!”
- “Call 1-800-xxx-xxxx Today!”
- “Stop the drip Today!”
Other considerations to have when designing your ads include:
- Path URLs: Google text ads, for example, offers two URL “path” fields (15 characters apiece).
- The pointed landing page
- The branding and language of the landing page should match the ad/logo/graphic pointing to it either visually or contextually.
- Branding: Include your logo/brand name in your copy (if not simply the imagery).
- Keywords: Most importantly, don’t forget to incorporate a major keyword for proper SEO. Headlines are a good place to start.
5. A/B Test Multiple Ads
A good magician needs more than one trick of their sleeve, and the same goes for ad campaigns. Unfortunately, not every advertisement will grab everyone’s attention.
That’s why when planning out your digital ad placements, it’s smart to have multiple options or variations of the same advertisement. Variety is the spice of life, after all! Perhaps these platitudes don’t grab you either? That’s why it’s important to swap them out!
Having several options of digital ads on hand allows you to A/B test their success throughout a campaign. Better yet, you can add this variable during A/B testing of ad placement, demographic targets, and strategies to increase your client’s odds of success. The worst-case scenario is you obtain better data to improve your results for the next time around!
So swap out the boring headlines and CTAs for more aggressive ones, cut the cheesy puns for more brass tacks lingo, or simply blow up the imagery and limit the word count. Whatever you do, don’t expect to obtain perfect results without some trial, error and creativity!
Wrapping Up on Writing Memorable Digital Ads
They cover every technical aspect of building high-converting digital ad campaigns (on YouTube, Facebook, Bing, LinkedIn, Amazon, and nearly any other platform in existence) that funnel customers to your clients’ doorsteps.