Remember Jimmy Kimmel’s Back to the Future Reunion show?
Marty McFly and Doc Brown are disappointed to learn 2015 isn’t full of flying cars and hoverboards. But, when Kimmel brings out his phone to take a selfie, Doc Brown reaches for it excitedly.
Doc Brown: Great Scott! It’s a tiny supercomputer. This must allow astrophysicists to triangulate complex equations and…
Jimmy Kimmel: I guess it probably could do that but mainly we use it to send little smiley faces to each other, pictures of eggplants…that sort of thing. (cue laughter)
It makes for a good punchline, but how many advertisers ask their digital creative agencies to do the exact same thing with their HTML5 banner ads and other online advertising? We live in an era of unprecedented technological possibilities. (Almost) anything a brand can think of, they can bring to life across multiple devices, thanks to HTML5 ad technology.
And yet, the world of digital display advertising is overrun with bad ads. There’s a ‘race to the bottom’ energy in the air, as advertisers rush to grab consumers’ dwindling attention with more obnoxious ads.
How can advertisers save advertising? With a return to quality creative that puts consumers first.
Follow your budget
There’s a saying in productivity circles: you can tell someone’s priorities based on where they spend their time.
The same goes for brands’ marketing budgets.
How many of your online advertising meetings start with a discussion of strategy and targeting? Creative is an afterthought that receives a small portion of the budget. The idea is, get the campaign in front of the right people and then BAM, they’ll click/buy/engage/etc. Right?
Creative drives engagement
The truth is, without good creative, targeting and strategy are useless. You can lead a viewer to your ad, but you can’t make them click.
Good creative (i.e. unobtrusive, relevant) is the main reason viewers choose to interact with your ads. So, your budget allocation should reflect the role that creative plays in your campaign’s success.
Think about it: your competitors are buying up space on the same platforms as you. They’re paying for dynamic HTML5 ads that target the same audience you’re targeting.
When viewers are presented with multiple ads for the same vertical, what’s going to push them to interact with one?
The creative. Something about the ad will intrigue them.
So how do you build that kind of creative into your HTML5 ad campaigns?
Tell a real-life story
You’ve heard it a thousand times: humans are story-centered creatures. And research backs it up.
In a survey on the messaging that connects with consumers, Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience research found that 44% of survey respondents connected the most with real-life situations.
Many brands scramble to build compelling origin stories. They bring in consulting firms, social media experts, branding agencies and more.
But telling a good story starts with taking a hard look at your product and the people you’ve built it for. What does your product help people do? What problems and real-life situations does it address? Who does it help your target audience become?
A great example: Itaú Insurance’s car accident ad. The initial image, a wrecked car, instantly connects with anyone who has ever driven a car. Accidents are every driver’s worst nightmare and can trigger a host of emotions. After the initial shock of an accident wears off, it’s usually followed by a long, drawn-out insurance process. Itaú wants its audience to see insurance companies as partners that quickly transform unpleasant situations – like a wrecked car – into an easy fix.
The ad is fun – each number pressed repairs another part of the car – but relevant because it taps into the desires of every car owner: a painless, easy claims process.
Engage all the senses with interactive ads
Challenges are engaging, whether it’s playing a game or solving a puzzle. That’s one reason interactive experiences like game ads and 360 ads are gaining momentum, especially in HTML5 banner ad campaigns.
But, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to build a compelling interactive ad. Look to your product (or brand’s) core competency for inspiration, like Ikea did with this brilliant “Build a Banner” ad. Ikea is known for their affordable furniture and housewares. One way they keep prices down for their customers? Self-assembly.
Ikea translated their messaging into an engaging HTML5 banner ad that combines audio, game ad elements and animation to encourage the viewer to build a banner. The reward? A sizable discount on a chest of drawers.
(For more gamification inspiration, check out our case study on the interactive website we built to promote Lacoste’s fragrance line.)
Is the product worthy?
Whether you’re working with a digital creative agency or handling your digital production in-house, focusing on the creative will help you launch more effective ad campaigns.
But, there’s an important caveat to these ‘best practices,’ and it starts long before the ad brainstorming process begins.
If you’re going to build a story, is it around a worthy product?
This is a topic that doesn’t get much play in the online advertising and marketing world. The focus is always on how to build a compelling ad campaign, regardless of the product being marketed.
And that’s understandable. Advertising agencies and digital creative agencies aren’t product consultants. Their job is to build a great advertising campaign for their clients. The question of whether a product deserves the facetime is up to the brands that build those products.
Are you building products worthy of your target audience’s attention (and money)? If not, a great ad campaign will just spread the news fast about the subpar product.
But if you have a quality product and you pair it with a creative-driven ad campaign, your ads will outshine the competition and connect with your target audience.
Quality and creative – they’re the wave of the future.