3 tips for crafting effective online ads

Stand out

From their place on everything from ballpoint pens and subway buses to movie pre-previews and your Facebook® page, advertisements seek to reach targeted consumers with brand-specific messaging. And online ads can achieve that end like no other form of advertising. These cost-effective ads can be executed quickly (in warp speed, compared to TV and print ads), placed before a captive audience (targeted consumers glued to their favorite social platforms and other sites online), and measured effectively.

Online ads are so effective, in fact, that researchers project phenomenal growth in that segment of the advertising market. BIA/Kelsey predicts that U.S. social advertising revenues will balloon from $4.3 billion in 2012 to $11.9 billion in 2017.

Online ads give businesses extraordinarily high visibility and the ability to lead visitors straight to a virtual storefront (website).

Although these ads are easy to purchase and place, they still require placement strategy. Placing an ad “above the fold” to make it visible to viewers without scrolling is important, but it doesn’t guarantee your customers will click on it. With an oversaturated ad market, it’s important you use these methods to make your offerings stand out and speak to your customers.

Here are three tips to make that happen:

Speak to your audience

Who will your ads appeal to? Without knowing the customers you’re trying to attract, your ads will be generic and ineffective. To make sure you’re targeting your market, create a list of characteristics that make up your ideal customer: age, marital status, occupation, interests, hobbies, personality, etc. Get specific and even create a visual representation of what your customer looks like. This exercise will help you craft ads with a deeper, more meaningful message that, in turn, will develop trust in your products and services.

Stay relevant

Attracting clicks and converting visitors into quality customers is the name of the game, but people will only click on your ad if they see value in it. That’s why appealing to the right audience in the right place at the right time is crucial. Do your research to find out where products and services similar to your own advertise well. Test those markets first and then step outside the box to find new, untouched places where you can make your footprint.

Keep it simple

Bombarding visitors with too much information will turn them away, which is why creativity and simplicity is key. The goal of advertising is to intrigue potential customers so they want more. A few witty words coupled with an image that showcases your product’s glory is the recipe for advertising success. Use the top brands in your industry for advertising inspiration, and then mix things up with elements that make you stand out from the pack.

Online advertising has become a game of who can do bigger and better, but it’s important to keep the end goal in mind: new, valuable customers. Be transparent and honest to make the best out of your advertising efforts, and your business can see lasting success.

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Also published on Medium.

Image by: Nina Matthews Photography via Compfight cc

Genevieve Tuenge
Genevieve Tuenge is a writer, former small business owner and creative director. She's an avid supporter of local mom-and-pop shops, and has devoted much of her career to helping small businesses understand and access the tools and information they need to thrive online.