Raise your hand if you want to put time and effort into creating digital marketing ads that do next to nothing.
Current consumers are saturated by advertisements and the likelihood of creating ads that don’t sell is pretty high. The question is, how do you avoid creating ads that waste your budget?
For those curious about how to craft ads that actually sell, you are in the right place. In fact, if you end up here because of a digital ad for our blog, then you’re already learning about the answer to your question.
With expert input from Performance Marketer To-Van (TV) Hoang and Paid Social Media Marketing Expert Paige Nicolopulos, we’ll walk you through what you need to know to create ads for both search and social media that accomplish what you actually need them to: making a sale.
The reality of digital advertising right now
According to a 2023 Zippia advertising research summary, the average American encounters between 4,000 and 10,000 ads per day, a number that doubled since 2007 and quintupled (increased by 5 times) since the ‘70s.
However, your audience may not always see this as the same kind of “golden goose egg” that an advertiser does. In fact, Zippia’s survey also uncovers the fact that consumers may not be big fans of the current advertising environment. Up to 90% of surveyed Americans said they felt targeted ads were intrusive and annoying, and 71% of surveyed consumers felt ads were more intrusive now than in 2020.
While the reality of digital advertising may not feel great, it is good to keep it in mind. Knowing what you, as an advertiser, deals with can help you strategize your marketing more effectively. Add in the expert advice below and you’ll be able to craft ads that 1) your audience doesn’t view as invasive, 2) helps you stand out from the competition so your audience can actually see you, and 3) are effective at selling your services or products.
Choose your platform(s)!
Unless you have a pretty extensive team, you just can’t advertise everywhere. Even if you have the team for it, advertising on every platform isn’t the most effective use of your budget.
Take these pros and cons into account to help you narrow down your ad platform options. Remember, you want to select the platforms that will help you effectively reach your audience and hold their attention.
The pros and cons of social media advertising
Social media advertising is something of a multi-headed beast. With careful planning and continued analysis, the social media platforms you choose can be a great source of revenue for your business.
Pro #1. Access to a large audience. With a whopping 4.72 billion people using social media now, advertising on even one or two platforms can give you access to a fairly large audience. With a well-planned strategy and proper targeting, you can amplify your return-on-ad-spend with access to that larger number of people.
Pro #2. Reach customers throughout the buyer’s journey.“Paid social media can cover all stages of the funnel, top to bottom,” Paige tells us. “You’re able to show ads to users that have never heard of your brand before and create that first touch point and you can continue to target them as they progress further down the funnel via different remarketing tactics too.”
“I love sending witty, smart, and fun ads into the world. And when the audience loves it and engages back, you’ve hit the jackpot. When a client gives you the green light to really speak to people on a fun, human level, that’s usually when we see the best results.
Paige Nicolopulos, Social Media Marketing Expert
Con #1. Social media advertising isn’t easy. Contrary to popular belief, advertising on social media isn’t as easy (or fun) as using social media. As Paige points out, “Most people engage in social media personally, so they assume it’s always fun and easy to do professionally too. But both paid and organic social media management are real trade skills! There’s so much that goes into strategy, planning, execution, and analysis than the average person doesn’t realize.”
Con #2. You’re interrupting your audience. Users of social media (usually) aren’t coming on YouTube or Instagram to check out the ads. Those ads are known as “disruptive engagement,” meaning that they produce added weight to really earn the end-user’s attention. “You have to think about what your target persona needs and wants to see, catching their attention, holding it, and convincing them to drop what they were doing to go to your site,” To-Van explains. “For some areas of social media, such as Reels and Tiktok, you have to strive to be memorable, because people are even less likely to drop what they’re doing on the spot to give an advertiser the time of day.”
You can learn more about putting social media ads to work for you by checking out our blog Using Paid Social Media Ads to Get More From Your Marketing Budget.
The pros and cons of search engine advertising
Search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo, offer advertisers ample opportunities to reach their customers. While search engine advertising can be challenging, it comes with its own benefits, too.
Pro #1. Ads relate to what searchers are already looking for. Search ads should meet the end-user halfway. “Search is mainly intent-based,” To-Van says. “So you need to make sure your brand is in the right place at the right time when people are searching for your solution. The search itself tells you what the user is looking for, so through a little bit of keyword insertion, you’re already halfway there.” Get more helpful tips on building an effective keyword strategy from The Magic Spell to Start Understanding and Using SEO.
Pro #2. You are more likely to be viewed as helpful. As To-Van points out, “Social is disruptive engagement, so the ads need to be worthwhile to the end user in a multitude of ways.” While we don’t want that to dissuade you, it may be a reason to consider search ads instead of social. Rather than interrupting your customer, search ads actually offer answers that they are already searching for, which means they are less likely to be viewed as intrusive.
“Marketing isn’t rocket science. It’s just a slurry mix of a pinch of creativity, some common sense, and a dash of data literacy. Don’t over complicate things and don’t be afraid to ask your customers for feedback along the way.”
To-Van Hoang, Performance Marketer
Con #1. There’s a high chance of not being seen. While Google doing away with pagination actually does help the visibility of more search results, it doesn’t change the fact that searchers have a lot of sites and resources to choose from. The site internet live stats states that Google processes an average of over 40,000 search queries a second or 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. You will have access to a large audience but, due to the sheer volume of results that show up for each search, even the best keyword match may not save you from being drowned in the crowd.
Con #2. You are at the mercy of the search itself. This is a bane and a boon. If your product or service matches what your audience is looking for, you are in luck! However, if no one is looking for what you are selling, you won’t get many clicks. Interests and needs change regularly, so you may discover keywords and audiences that worked last week may not work the next. “You’re at the mercy of user-initiated search queries,” Paige explains. “Your ads will only show up once a user has taken an active action to search on Google or Bing, etc.”
5 key tips for creating ads that actually sell
Once you have a good idea of where you want to focus on advertising, it is time to get into the nitty gritty of building, launching, and analyzing those ads. We can’t tell you how to shoot every reel or design every banner, but we can give you some helpful tips that can inform your advertising choices across the board.
- Have an end-goal to focus on: We’ll let Paige speak on this one: “Before even creating an ad, it’s paramount to be clear on what the ultimate goal is. Sometimes we get so caught up in ‘what will the ad look like?’ that we forget to do the important groundwork first. If you aren’t clear on what the goal is, you won’t create successful campaigns or tests that will yield meaningful results.”
- Be clear on what you want to happen. A confused customer is not a customer who is going to take action. Eye-catching ads can only go so far if they leave the end-user without a defined choice to make. Be clear and concise in your ads, “Paige emphasizes. “Be clear in what it is you’re offering and what action you want someone to take and concise enough to not lose their attention either—it’s a real balancing act!”
- Get used to analyzing the data. If you get the ick from going over the numbers, you’re going to have to learn to move past that. “Learning how to read and interpret data will always be an essential skill throughout your career,” To-Van emphasizes “Learn which KPIs are important at different parts of the user journey, what they mean in terms of actions that need to be taken from the user’s perspective, and what respective levers you can pull to improve those KPIs on the advertiser side.”
- Remember to always keep it relevant to your audience. We are approaching the end of the year, which means the holiday themes have arrived. While it is great to “ride the wave,” you shouldn’t let yourself get carried away. “Make sure your product and promo messaging are still relevant to your audience while still tapping into the holiday spirit and that general sense of generosity. The Problem-Agitate-Solve framework is always relevant, but can grate a little with the mood of the season, so leaning a little more into benefits-oriented messaging doesn’t hurt this time of year.”
- Choose your words wisely. We’ve talked about deciding on your voice and tone before but it is important to reiterate! The words you use in an ad can make or break a sale. “Write your copy in a conversational tone using the same language that would come up in everyday conversation,” To-Van advises. “Don’t overcomplicate things or use too much lingo. Use enough to draw the attention of your target demo but not so much that no one can understand you.”
No one wants to waste their time on ads that don’t help them make a sale. So don’t! Use the tips above to help you improve your advertising strategy and, if you need help, reach out to an expert for some assistance.
You can rely on the RM Creative Services template for help with every step of the process when creating ads for social media marketing.
Contact RM Creative Services by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting our Contact page.