What Makes an Ad Effective?

What Makes an Ad Effective?

Advertising is everywhere. We see advertising so often that we’re often conditioned to tune it out. Which is a shame, because businesses spend billions of dollars a year trying to get us to buy their products.

And yet, there are a few ads that manage to break through our cynicism. Modern parlance declares these ads as having “gone viral”, but in reality they’re just good ads that translate to a large audience. You don’t need a viral hit with millions of YouTube hits to prove your worth as an advertiser. You simply need to strike a chord with your audience in a way that prompts them to take action – something that’s far easier said than done.

Know Your Audience

Advertising isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. It’s okay to have a specific target for your advertising, and it’s okay if every single member of your audience doesn’t fit into that segment. Your advertising should be concerned solely with pushing the buttons of the people you’re trying to appeal to. There’s no need to deviate from the task at hand in order to reach out to smaller segments of people – you can always target those groups in your next ad.

Choose Your Medium Wisely

The most important part of any ad is its visibility. Creating a great ad isn’t nearly as important as actually getting eyeballs on your marketing materials. Pick the marketing platform that resonates most closely with the ad’s target market and what you want that group of people to do. An email might reach your customers faster than direct mail, but if your audience responds more favorably to direct mail, that’s the medium you should use. Similarly, if your customer base would rather watch a video than read a blog, then it’s time to get your cameras ready.

Tell Two Stories

You don’t need fancy video equipment or a zany script to make an effective ad. But you do need to have the ability to convey two stories. The first is your brand story – in other words, what makes your business unique and why you’re a more appealing company than the competition. But more importantly, you have to tell a customer story. Specifically, show that you understand the pain points of your customers, and how your product is able to solve those problems. Now, this might be a slickly produced video, or it might be a basic postcard with a promo code. It all depends on what works for your audience and what you hope to get out of that ad.

Don’t Overthink It

Have you ever watched the Super Bowl ads and wondered why companies spend $3 million to air commercials that are more concerned with being funny than actually attracting legitimate interest? These are the things that can happen when marketers feel pressure to produce. You don’t need to appease YouTube commenters. Instead, keep things simple and focus solely on what your audience wants and how you can solve their pain points. The rest will take care of itself.

Track Everything

If you don’t know if your ad worked, then it didn’t work. Advertising is only as good as your ability to track the results of your work. You should know exactly how many people viewed your ads, how many people reacted to them and how many people responded to your call to action. Even if your metrics don’t match your expectations, having these numbers will show you what you can do differently in the future. But without this knowledge, you’ll never know how effective your ads are.

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