5 Steps to Developing Ad Creatives that Grab Attention

Modern-day attention span has evolved, according to Prezi’s 2018 report. People are becoming more selective in the content they consume. In the online advertising domain, Facebook and Instagram are undoubtedly some of the most competitive platforms when it comes to capturing attention. As users go through their personalized News Feeds and Stories, your ad is placed amongst friends’ vacation photos, family’s updates, cute babies pictures and adorable pet videos. How can you create an ad that stands out from the noise? The answer is: exemplary ad creatives.


#1 Choose the Right Thumbnail

This may sound like a no-brainer, but trust me, you would be surprised by the number of poorly chosen thumbnails I see every day. Think about it: if a user has never heard of you before, the thumbnail is their first impression of your brand. And first impression lasts. Netflix uses dynamic, customized thumbnails for all its onsite content – this is how powerful thumbnails are. STC Pay have absolutely smashed it with these color-coordinated thumbnails for their video ads:

facebook-ad-creative-thumnail-stcpay   facebook-ad-creatives-thumnail-stc-pay


#2 Think Mobile-First, Always

80% web traffic is happening on a mobile phone, reports Quartz. While you are still trying to create the traditional, TVC-like online ads, your competitors are already dishing out incredible vertical video creatives that users can interact with on smartphones. As the generation of digital natives spend more time on their devices, they expect brands to catch up with their consumption habits. This means making use of vertical content that takes up maximum screen space, enabling sound-off consumption and limiting the length of your video to 10 seconds.


#3 Sell a Story, Not a Product

A strong, compelling narrative is key to driving engagement among the audience. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to tell you not to sell your products in an ad. The users know that you are trying to sell them something. There is absolutely no hiding of your true intention. But in exchange of the users’ time and attention, what is the additional value they gain by watching your ad? Simply put, what is in it for THEM? This is where storytelling comes into play. The concept behind this Bud Light x HBO ad “Joust” is a perfect combination of drama and surprise, with a lot of product placement from both brands.


#4 One Creative Does Not Fit All

It beats me every time when I see a stretched image on ads. Poor ad experience will never drive great performance. Depending on the placement selected, find out aspect ratios per placement and produce creatives that display well under those restrictions. Once you have gotten the basics, develop high-impact ad creatives by understanding the differences across placements. For instance, experiment with the tap and swipe functions of Instagram Stories with your ads. Check out how Sanlam South Africa (SSA) tailored the same creative for 3 platforms.


#5 Don’t Forget the Logo

In the end of the day, you are not only selling a product or service. You want to sell your brand. Make sure the brand logo is shown in the beginning of the video or in a prominent position on your ad image. Better yet, keep the logo in the corner throughout the entire video. Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity to build brand awareness while driving performance.