Creating an effective advertisement is no easy task. It takes careful planning, strategic thinking, creativity, and a little luck. By slowing down the planning process and ensuring your message resonates with your target demographic, you can create an advertisement that works.

Here are some simple ideas to use when creating an effective ad.

Clarify the Message and Goals

Have you ever seen an advertisement that left you feeling confused and unsure of what happened? This experience often happens when a business fails to dig into what resonates with their target demographic. Ads can also get convoluted when a business gets too caught up in the imagery and doesn’t clarify the message.

Learn from others’ mistakes and take the time to ensure your message is easy to understand by the people you’re trying to attract. Be sure to get an outside perspective before going live with your ad. While the nuances of your artistic endeavors may be readily apparent to you, they may be lost on your audience.  

Develop a Hook

The first few seconds of a video ad are the most integral. You have as few as two seconds to grab someone’s attention and convince them to keep watching, so make it count.

The first few seconds of your ad should start with compelling imagery or a thumbnail that catches someone’s attention. Then, use a question or highlight a relatable problem right away. If you get someone through the first few seconds of an ad, they’re more likely to watch through until the end.

Use the same logic when creating an image-focused advertisement rather than a video. Use the image as your hook, and pair it with a few lines of compelling text to grab the viewer’s attention.

Create a Draft

Before you dive into ad development, draw a few drafts of what you envision. According to the Boosted website, this exercise will help you plot out the path forward. While this process is essential for video ad planning, it can also be beneficial for static ads.

Creating a draft of your ad lets you make changes without investing significant resources in the finished product. This strategy can also help you streamline the production process and minimize your costs.

People discussing advertising around table

Edit and Simplify

Once you think you have the right message and flow, edit it down. The key to successful ads in a world with a short attention span is to make it as short and impactful as possible.

You may need to make three cuts before you’re finally ready to start production. Give yourself time between reviews to let the message settle before going back to it for a final revision.

Mind the Quality

Modern businesses are fortunate enough to live in a technologically advanced world. Securing high-quality audio and visual equipment isn’t as arduous as it once was. Many entrepreneurs create the majority of their content from a smartphone. However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Invest in making a high-quality advertisement that doesn’t look as though someone could easily replicate it. This ad will subtly set expectations for what customers can expect from your product or service.

Consider Your Formatting

Camera filming an advertisement

When creating effective ads, it’s essential to understand the formatting requirements of the various platforms. For example, Facebook allows for horizontal full-screen, whereas Instagram is vertically oriented. Be sure to review the latest measurements and formatting considerations when creating an ad for social media. You may need to create multiple versions for a cross-platform approach.

It’s also important to consider the next step in the sales process when creating an ad. Ensure that your landing page is properly optimized for both desktop and mobile before publishing your advertisement.

Clarify the Next Steps

Be sure to end your ad by clarifying what your audience should do next. You can accomplish this with a clear CTA that tells people to buy now, click through, subscribe, or complete the goal you hope to achieve.

Advertisement a-b testing plan

Sponsored posts and ads are costly. The best way to ensure that your message is effective is to conduct A/B testing before the full launch. Consider launching similar ads with subtle tweaks to a small audience. Determine which advertisement does better. Then, use your larger budget to support the more effective ad.

Using a testing strategy provides not only insights into your ad effectiveness, but also the entire campaign. If people are clicking through an ad but not completing the transaction, it indicates a deeper issue on the landing page or the offering. Focus on fixing those issues before doing a full launch.

With these simple ideas, you can create an effective ad that works.