If your ad creative is broken, you’re not alone. In fact, this is such a common issue that I made a whole YouTube video about the topic. Many business owners try to get photos and videos, either themselves or through an agency owner, so that they can create effective advertisements and market their products and services.
Why do we do this? To make better returns, of course.
Whether you’re running your paid ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, or somewhere else, I’d be willing to bet that there were times when you were struggling. I know this firsthand, because I run my own ads agency, Snowball Creations, and I’ve seen companies struggle with their ad creatives time and time again. Luckily, I’m here to share how you can ease the struggle of coming up with effective ads.
Creativity is key
Creativity is vital when it comes to paid ads on display networks. This makes sense because the way display networks work means that your target audience isn’t actively searching for your product. In fact, your ad is a nuisance. Your Facebook ad is similar to TV ads – it’s interrupting their daily supply of cat videos on social media.
So, you need to make sure that it’s eye-catching. It needs to be better than the cat videos. I know that’s a tough act to follow. But you need to make your ads tell a story! And this means you need to have images, graphics, and video ads that help paint this picture for your target audience and encourage them to take action.
Skip the common mistakes
Through my years of experience as a paid ads agency owner, I’ve gotten really up close and personal with some of the errors that lead to failure within paid ads. I’ve seen how users react to certain creatives. And that’s what this next part of the post will be about.
Bonus tip: money does matter
Before we get to the juicy, insider info, I have one more tidbit I want to share . . . When we talk about ad creative that works, we commonly think about which ads are successful and get customers to take the action you want them to – whether that’s making a purchase, or filling in an enquiry form.
But money also does matter. After all, it’s not worth it to spend thousands on the perfect creative if you end up losing more money than you make. Try to find the balance between creative that works, but that’s still affordable.
Three reasons why creative projects fail
As promised, I’m going to share some of the common pitfalls that I see when it comes to the creative side of ads, so that you can avoid these. Thank me later.
1. You’re a wannabe know-it-all all
One of the biggest mistakes that I see people make is that they think they know the answer. They’re confident that they know which ads work. They know their target audience through and through, and they’ve seen what works for their friends. They know that video ads are the hot thing right now. Obviously, that’s what’s going to make them money.
If that’s your mindset, I’m here to tell you something you don’t want to hear: you’re wrong. You’re letting your ego get in the way of a successful advertising campaign.
The truth is that you don’t know what’s going to work right off the bat. And if you’re working with an agency and the director tells you that they know what’s going to work, they’re lying.
No one knows what’s going to work for different ads, at least not at the start. You don’t. The creative director doesn’t. I don’t. So, what do you do about it?
The solution? Testing.
Relying on our own assumptions isn’t enough when it comes to paid ads. We need solid data to back things up. And since you don’t know which ads are going to do well for you just yet, you need to test them.
Of course, you will have a starting point because you will have some notion of what works for your target audience, but you don’t know the details yet. Will they react better to images or carousels? Will they take action on user-generated content, or testimonials? The only way to find out is to test all of these ad creatives and look at their performance.
2. The hero piece
Who doesn’t love a hero origin story? People who value effective ad campaigns, that’s who. This links back to the first reason why many ads fail. If you, or your creative director, or whoever’s in charge of your ad campaign believes that they know best, then it’s really easy to pour everything into one creative piece.
You pump all your budget into one video. You add all the bells and whistles. No expenses spared. You splurge on the editor, the model, different locations. . .
But what if it doesn’t work?
Investing everything into one ad campaign is a big risk, and in my experience, this often leads to failure. There are too many variables that we don’t even know of, so putting all your eggs in one basket is just not worth it.
The solution? More testing.
Whether I’m doing creative projects for my own agency or working with a photographer, I try to have a variety of different ads.
From carousels to testimonials and everything in between. And I don’t just stop there! Within each category, I have various options as well. I’m not just testing carousels against videos. I’m also testing multiple carousels against each other, and multiple videos. This gives me a much higher chance of at least one of my ads being a success.
Doing this this way also allows you to do market research and compare ads across different ad platforms so that you can select the best advertising platform for your business.
3. Bloated budgets
Here’s the thing: many creative agencies rely solely on their clients’ digital advertising projects. Therefore, they need to have really big budgets in order to make a profit. Naturally, they’re going to push your ad campaign budget to the max. No shade to them – it’s how they put bread on the table. What’s good for them, though, isn’t necessarily good for you.
It’s the same when it comes to your creative team as well, since the creative mindset doesn’t always align with a business mindset. People who are passionate about photography and videography will want to produce the best possible creatives, no matter the cost. The financial implications are often forgotten, and the costs stack up. Sometimes, this can be worth it, but sometimes, the opposite will be true.
The solution? Testing. I’m kidding - it’s managing your money properly
It’s a myth that you need to spend your entire budget to have a solid online advertising strategy. If managed correctly, you can get an effective ad without a bloated budget. Again, this links with the previous issue, because you can get a lot more bang for your buck if you spread your ad budget across multiple ads rather than investing it all into one ad.
Also, AI is your friend. I know AI has been painted as the big, bad wolf, but it holds a lot of superpowers. You can create literally any image you can think of. You can ask it to come up with fun slogans and copy. The possibilities are limitless; you just need to grab them.
Why should you get an ads agency?
Okay, time to put my sales skills to the test and try to convince you to use an ad agency. Of course, I’m biased, but even so, I think that using an ad agency has a bunch of benefits even from an objective perspective.
We make our money from managing paid ad campaigns, which means we have the incentive to make your campaigns perform well. The better they do, the better we do, because then you’ll work with us for longer.
Ad agencies take a lot of the weight off your shoulders. They can help you come up with online and print ads. They can scout potential customers. They can act as a Facebook ads manager.
Still not convinced? Here are the three levels of what we do when it comes to online advertising:
- Simple creative direction: we give this to all our clients so that they know which creatives to make
- Digital projects: this could be something like using AI graphic design tools to create ad creatives
- Real-world projects: this includes things like photoshoots and video shoots
Those are the three main issues I’ve seen when it comes to creative projects. Of course, every business and their ad strategy will be different, but generally, those are common pitfalls and they’re really easy traps to fall into.
If this all sounds like a lot to handle, contact my paid ads agency at email@example.com to get some help. Either way, I hope that this post gave you some insight into how you can plan your next creative project, and more specifically, everything you need to avoid doing.