Your ads aren’t performing as well as you had hoped for? Don’t take it to heart – we’ve all been there. You might just be making a few mistakes that are affecting your ad performance.
Here’s the deal: The three key secrets to every successful ad are copy, ad creative, and targeting. Make them on-point and you’re winning. Sounds easy, right? Well, hate to break it to you but it’s far from a cakewalk.
The impact of ad creative might just be a bit bigger than anything else. Make one that stands out, and you can appeal to the audience you didn’t even think of.
And if you’re looking for the creative spark to help you make scroll-stopping ads, you’re in luck. We’ll go over the science behind ad creatives and show you some of our own work as well.
How Important are Ad Creatives?
According to Neil Patel, we don’t read as much as we used to. The percentage of people who read at least one book per year is gradually dropping off year after year.
Our attention span is at its lowest. Even the most captivating ad copy is sometimes not enough to “hook” a potential customer. But do you know what makes them stop scrolling nowadays?
A stunning visual creative.
For humans, visualization takes the cake for a few reasons:
- Our brain processes an image in 13ms (“a picture is worth thousands of words”)
- 90% of the information that goes to the brain is visual. (MIT News)
- 65% of humans are strictly visual learners (they can only remember images rather than textual forms)
- Shiny Object Syndrome is a real thing. We can drop everything when something catches our attention…SQUIRREL!!! (Sorry, where was I…)
That’s why in the paid ads space, the competition for visual supremacy is fierce. Even if images and videos are the most effective, they are still quite saturated.
Some brands think that they’ve got it figured out before they throw a bunch of money on ads that never convert. Hence, you need to consider a bunch of different factors before you even dive into the creative process.
The Effectiveness of Different Ad Creatives
What is ad creative? If you’ve ever tried to make your own, you might get overwhelmed with all the choices and where to start.
The right ads come all in different shapes and forms depending on the platform you use.
For instance, if you opt for Facebook ads, you’ll come across various sizes, designs, and above all – types. A video ad, an image ad, carousel ad, slideshow ad, canvas ad, story ad, and so (so, so, so….) much more. The choices are insane!
Other considerations come into play if you’re running an e-commerce campaign versus traditional sales.
So instead of going in-depth with every ad and its role in the customer’s journey, let’s focus on the core Facebook ad creative: image and video ads. Which performs better? It’s undisputed that video is all the rage nowadays.
Therefore, plenty of online advertisers turn to video by default. Oberlo released some important marketing statistics last year that goes in favor of this trend.
However, the truth is that both image and video ads perform well if you know how to utilize them. Always let the data speak for itself!
Hubspot recently stated that video ads get up to 20% more clicks than images. But even they admit that optimizing the creative and targeting parameters of the image reduced this difference.
The key here is that both image or video ads can bring you a ton of conversions, but the big differences are:
- The offer, and
- The thumb-stopping creative to stand out from the crowd along each stage of the customer’s journey.
Hit them in the right place of the funnel:
Your ads will look different to someone who has never heard of your brand to someone who has perused your site.
If you want to scale, convert, and increase your ROI with paid ads you have to think about the customer first. And different customers are existing in different stages of your sales funnel.
Here’s a cool little graphic of what the hot vs cold funnel looks like:
Now for the important part:
What Makes Ad Creatives Stand Out?
It’s not just bright colors and cool animation that will say “Tada! (now buy)”.
We believe there are 4 essential creative types that help push your message across and get those sales.
Let’s explain them using some of the best-performing ads of our agency’s happy clients.
1. What’s the pain point? Explain it.
Products and services are there to help solve problems. Why else did you make this? What purpose does this serve? How do our products solve these problems?
We call this video or image ad: the explainer. We need to answer a few questions with our ad creative:
- Why should they use this product?
- How is it different?
- Why do you need it?
- How to use it?
- How will this solve your problems?
Call these pain points outs! In copy and in creative, it’s important your product answers questions. Use checkmark emojis ✅ , relatable emojis 🙏, and eye-catching icons ❌ to get your point across.
Explainers are usually best-performing ads among our clients. Here’s one:
Copy: The copy calls out pain points: No dangerous flames 🔥, 200 hours of burn time 🕯, an offer for savings 💰, and all natural soy 🌿
Creative: For starters, check out that thumbnail 👌. “Innovative, Flame-free, natural.” Those are strong words to occupy anyone’s attention. If you continue to watch the video, it shows exactly how it works
The hook: There are several: Free Pouch when you buy the melter. Patented silicon dish. Includes a timer so you don’t have to worry about it being left on… It’s flameless but you still get all the benefits from a candle.
Pretty much, this ad nails it on the head. It calls out all the pain points and how this product can fix it.
2. Add Testimonials and Reviews
This is the most important way to humanize your business.
Remember: People will trust other people much more than they’ll trust any brand. At the end of the day, your job as a brand is to sell your product. (But Jeff, here really likes it, let him tell you all about it.)
Not only does Jeff like it, it was also featured in The Huffington Post! Oooooh! Now you gotta see what the hype is all about…
It’s simple psychology. Social validation plays a major role when customers decide for or against a certain product. Let the customers and features write the ads for you! They are using the product and to their benefit, let them tell YOUR customers why THEY should love it.
Testimonials and features are great to use in remarketing. They have now heard of the brand, who else can convince them to buy it? What would be the push of the fence?
AppSumo does a great job at leveraging their features and testimonials.
Copy: Saying “Don’t just listen to us, see what others have to say” shifts the sales to other people and brands. Capitalizing LIFETIME makes the offer stand out.
Creative: The ad uses recognizable logos and stand-out quotes from their features. These logos bring familiarity to brands they already know and trust.
The Hook: You get these LIFETIME deals for a one-time payment. Also, it’s saying “Look at all these features in big business magazines we were in.”
This Tenikle ad shows great UGC (user generated content) and features all in one:
Copy: The copy is pretty short, but it asks the important question. How with YOU use Tenikle? It opens your imagination to tons of possibilities.
Creative: This ad has it ALL. It shows how to use it, it shows all its features and publications, reviews, and it shows how customers use it as well. It also shows how you can have MANY products, and this one combines it all into one (pain point, solved!).
The Hook: The real hook comes without knowing what the product is. It’s a weird wacky product so the thumbnail of this octopus looking thing really drags you in.
Some brands manage to include TV features or celebrity endorsements as well. Like Myintent shows off their product from their TV features. Who wouldn’t want a bracelet that Kanye and Rhianna wore? It works like a charm.
Copy: Short, simple, and to the point. It also asks the readers who is wearing them and why? The proud wearers just so happen to be Biebs and Beyonce. And as if you wouldn’t be the least bit curious to at least click through it! Not to mention, there’s a free gift when you comment.
Creative: “…and by so many celebrities” thumbnail with peacock TV symbol will 100% make you click. The entire video is the Today show segment that explains the celebrity phenomenon.
The Hook: Get the bracelet the celebrities win and they are giving away a FREE bracelet daily! Thus, you see how they have 40k comments? That also further pushes the whole idea of social validation. You are going to want to see why 40k people have commented on this post.
Trust us, there’s no better way to offer a ticket to the promised land than by using other people’s testimonials and reviews. Especially if others are influencers or celebrities. Let them write the copy for you. Easy & done.
3. Add More Benefit and Value
Okay, you got them. Your potential customers might be interested in it. Now what? It’s time to add that value that will make your brand hard to say no to.
Tell them WHY they NEED it. Spell it out for them. And remember – ads should be short and on point.
Don’t make one of those ads that feel like when you search for a recipe and all of a sudden it goes into how their grandma used to pick tomatoes in Italy. (For heaven’s sake, just give me the recipe!)
Anyway, 3-4 bullets with striking emojis is a great way to lay out the benefits and values your product will give your customer. ✅
Copy: It persuades by asking if you’re getting enough b12, but also tells you the importance of b12. Moreover, it tells you about the benefits of b12 and how their product solves your problem of lacking b12.
Creative: This video has everything you need to hook a customer. Bright colors, explainers, answers all the questions you want, and tells you what’s NOT in it.
The Hook: Asking a question in the headline really hits home. The headline is striking when you compare it to the rest of your ad, and therefore, your eyes naturally look at the headline first. Are YOU getting enough B12? You might not be certain, but you will continue to read to find out if you relate to these points.
Bonus: Joon’s Saffron Hair Elixir does a great job of showing why you need it.
4. Shock, Straight Facts, or Humor Factor
Marketers sometimes opt for facts, shock factor, or humor to make their point and catch the eye of the prospect. It plays on the consumers emotions and it “triggers” them to listen.
A research of 1,400 successful ad campaign case studies found that campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice (✌️) as well (31% vs. 16%) as those with only rational content. 😲
Son Of A Barista has some pretty big competitors stacked against them (Nespresso & Keurig, yikes!), but they made a pretty shocking and compelling offer. A FREE machine when you purchase the pods.
Copy: Mentions the coffee machine is FREE, you get free shipping and no subscription.
Creative: The creative shows the product, talks about the deal, and even mentions price. All information is right there and hooks you in completely.
The Hook: A FREE coffee machine. You heard that right. A free coffee machine with the purchase of pods. And free shipping. And better yet? There are no strings attached. The offer is a huge part of what makes this deal so successful.
If you want a good laugh for marketing one right, take a look at No Nuts. This ad is crammed with good humor, facts about the product, and will keep your attention peaked the whole time.
Copy: This bar has NO NUTS. A huge issue in the snacking market (especially with kids) =, so they tackle it right away. It’s a great diet snack, allergen-friendly, and delicious.
Creative: Watch it, the humor is everything in this ad. Everything from the name No Nuts (and how the mom plays on it) to the video creative, it’s so spot on.
The Hook: Legitimately everything.
Need help with your creatives?
More Examples of Ad Creatives that Convert
Our ad agency works with amazing clients from a wide range of industries. Working with their creatives has been so much fun (seeing them profit from them is cherry on top).
Since we don’t want to waste too much of your time by going too in-depth with every ad we love, here are some favorite ad creatives we have seen on our news feed!
Let’s Dive Right In!
For instance, DivvyUp is selling custom-made socks of any image that you want. They use testimonial images and videos with a twist of humor from their customers to boost relatability and they do it with amazing ad creatives.
Black Rifle Coffee used a simple yet effective humorous video to describe that drowsy morning feeling before you take your first sip. Everyone can relate to this ad, so it truly hits home.
On the other hand, Mati Energy leverages their UGC and uses all their tagged stories and made one big compilation. There’s nothing we love more than a good UGC creative. Let the customer do the work for you – this is just the perfect example of that.
This ad for RevibeTech is a great explainer. It touches the pain point, explains how it does it, shows testimonials, and how and where the product is used.
Marquis is one of those great ad creatives that plays on emotions. You know the taste of fresh berries and right next to the can, it looks delicious. Also, fun fact, red (psychologically) is used to evoke hunger! The ad for Marquis organic energy drink is short, witty, and on-point.
This creative for Topaz labs converts very well because it adds extra value. You can see the before/after effect of image editing (pain point/solution), with a short, on-point copy. This creative shows exactly HOW the product works. It’s simple but incredibly compelling.
And this is just a small dip into the vast sea of paid ads.
If we got your attention and you want to see more, you could visit our own paid ads library where you can check all our carefully-picked ads throughout our career. Explore some of these ads and get some inspiration for yours!
Bonus: How Hard Is It to Make a Good Creative?
You may watch all these ads from above and say: “But I just don’t have the talent/knowledge/tools/time to create something like it.” But that’s where you’re wrong.
First off, you can always ask Top Growth Marketing for advice! (shameless plug 🤣).
But today, you’ve got a bunch of tools that should make your ad creation process as streamlined and simple as possible. If you have a good foundation (professional images, good copy, and an awesome idea) you don’t need much else.
If you want to create an image, animation, or a gif, you can use Canva. On the flip side, InVideo, lumen5, and Crello, for example, can help you in creating short-form and long-form video ad creatives without much fuss. If you want to create marketing ads materials like poster and flyer designs, try your hand on PhotoADKing.
It’s no coincidence that these tools get ultimate recognition among online marketers, designers, etc. Most of the ads that you see above and in our ads library came to life thanks to these apps (and final cut pro).
It’s Time to Get Creative
We’ve made our fair share of ads. Believe us, we’re talking about thousands of ad creatives + copies here. And even when we think we’ve seen it all and figured it all out, there’s still something new that pops up every time.
However, this article should act as a good guiding hand for the overall format and aesthetic of an ad that converts. But as every good marketer, you should know that all that is nothing without testing.
Of course, we’d like you to share some of your ad creatives as well.
What do you think about our ad library? Is there something that you think is missing? Make sure to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
Also, if you want more similar articles, tips, and case studies, feel free to contact us or subscribe below so you never miss a post.