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Strategy & Insights: Up Close

What Makes Great Digital Ads

How do you create ads that grab the attention of your target audience?

photo source: Canva

Great ads get people to take notice of your product. It is not about being creative for the sake of being creative, but rather about persuading people to buy what you are selling.

The average attention span is only 8.25 seconds, and we know the first 3 seconds of any video, animation, or advertisement is essential to engaging your audience. Remember, everything starts with the visual element, which is why video ads are an effective medium to communicate your brand's message. (Financeonline, 2022)

In this article, we share best practices to craft effective digital ads and help you achieve your marketing goals.

Identify your audience

Your target audience refers to the specific group of consumers that most likely want your product or service, and therefore, the group of people who should see your ad campaigns. There are many ways you can target ads, including:

Demographic targeting: Testing different demographics is a good starting point to narrow down the best options for your brand and message. You can target your ideal audience by age, gender, relationship status, job title, education level, household composition, and even life events.

Geographic targeting: By narrowing down your target locations by city, state, or zip code, you can ensure that your brand is reaching a relevant pool of people.

Placement, device, and platform targeting: Now you have a broad spectrum of platforms to reach your customer: LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Google Search, YouTube, Yahoo, Pinterest, Bing, podcasts, and the list goes on. Each digital channel has specific requirements and objectives, making it necessary to create variations, but keep the visual tone and messaging consistent across the board.

Behavior and interest targeting: You can reach niche audiences that have expressed some degree of interest in your product, measured by social engagements, browsing activity, and even offline purchase behavior.

Conduct market research

Your marketing team can use the information collected from your market research to design better products, improve user experience, and craft a marketing strategy that attracts quality leads and improves conversion rates.

Four common types of market research techniques include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and customer observation.

Which method you use may vary based on your business goals, an effective approach is to mix and match these methods depending on what you need to know.

Without research, it’s hard to fully understand your customers. The data you obtain from your analytics can tell you what people do at scale, but only research can explain the why behind their actions.

Choose the right platform

As more advertising shifts to social media, your ads need to get to the point and drive customer interest and social sharing. When you are intentional with your ad placement, consumers are more likely to engage with your brand.

In order to determine which platform your ad should be placed on, consult your analytics and research results to identify which platform(s) your audience is most active. By aligning your ad goals to the right channels, you’ll have a higher chance of meeting and even exceeding your marketing goals.

Create a captivating headline

Dog food brand, Essence, digital ad with an attention-grabbing headline

Headlines must be both attention-grabbing and relevant. And they must be clear and concise; long, rambling headlines are a sure way to lose potential customers.

When designing your ads, remember that people will only give your ad a moment to impress them. Use that time by highlighting your value proposition while keeping your call to action clear and easily actionable.

Solve their problem

The most memorable ads trigger some type of emotional response: joy, empathy, anger, fear, desire, hope, or some other emotion.

Leverage the emotions that suit your brand's purpose and the needs of your consumer. Rather than a listing of features and/or facts, emphasize the emotional benefits of your offering.

Ads that evoke those emotions your brand's values emulate, such as happiness, pride, or desire, can have a powerful effect on people and influence their behavior.

Create a call-to-action

Example of call-to-action buttons on digital ads for Smartmouth Dental Chews

Your call to action, or CTA invites readers to take action. It usually includes action verbs, such as “Buy,” “Watch” or “Get your discount.”

Most advertisers design CTAs as buttons.

The point of your ad is to make a connection and make a sale, so be sure the call to action offers the easiest and most efficient way to contact you.

Experiment with your ad

Example of A/B testing for dog food brand, Essence

There are many types of marketing experiments you can conduct to help you determine how aspects of your campaign will perform before you run the campaign.

For instance, A/B testing is a useful method that can help you understand which version of a webpage, email, or social media post performs better with your audience.

Determine measurements of success and set up tracking

digital ads kpi set up measurements
Source: Canva

Whether the goal of your ad is page likes or online orders, you should be clear on two questions:

  • What do you want to see in order to call this ad successful?

  • Which key performance indicators (KPIs) are measuring the success of your ad?

A standard KPI to measure your digital advertising campaigns’ effectiveness is your return on ad spend (ROAS), which measures three metrics: cost per click, conversion rate, and average order value.

This KPI helps you understand how effectively your digital ads have performed to your target audience. The more relevant your ads are to your audience, the higher your ROAS.

If you are running your ads on platforms like Facebook, Google, or Pinterest, you will find ads management and tracking tools built into the settings of the account allowing you to see and measure how many interactions your ads have had and how much they cost.


Making great digital ads is an investment of time, energy, and money, but if done well, they have a huge return on investment for awareness and conversion.

If you need help putting together a strategy for your ad campaign, the experts here at ReelPaws can help you define your goals and target audience, as well as identify relevant platforms. We'll create a plan that reaches your goals and grows your company. Contact us today!


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