Creative Ads can sell later

Creative Ads Just Want A Chance

The battle for creative has decades of being two sides who don’t care to budge. By my nature I am a math club geek from way back so buzz terms like “measurable results” and “improve your ROI” both speak to me, but at the same time I love short, simple powerful creative ads. At the very least great creative gets me to think about your brand in a positive way.

(This add on the left is for a wide angle camera lens)

Anything you do online needs to be measured, and frankly that is boring to the guys bringing the ideas to the big table. In many cases both sides have no idea what is best for the bottom line since a compromise is often a case where everybody loses. A great catchy ad where legal makes you change a few words comes to mind.

It happens like this: I (you) get an idea and grab your sharpie. You scratch out a display or print ad idea for a brand or client that you think is a real winner. You then get 2-3 offshoots of the concept which are other ways to strike the same emotional chord as the original idea.

For example, a banner ad collection for targeting Texas based customers to sell them on energy services through my current employer. The ad is more or less based off of the line “bigger in texas” with a few creatives about a bigger bill not being better.  Taglines like “bigger isn’t always better”, “One big thing I don’t like”, “enough bigger, How about smaller”. With call to actions like “but not your bills”, “smaller bills”, and “shrink you bill”.

Just an example, and not necessarily a concept that was destined to make it to a live campaign, but you get the idea.

I(you) have coupled this with graphics that will draw click, funny, Texas-centric, cowboy imagery and have a nice powerful font to make it an irresistible click for your target audience in your target market.

One thing we’ve done is to personalize the message and coupled it with a landing page that speaks to Texas only and plays on the state pride there.

Since the goal is to aim small and convert higher, the adjective we want associated with our company is that we are a “Texas First” choice. Local pride is our approach in this example.

From a digital marketing standpoint you have something worth testing and a good starting point to a new round of fresh display ads. You have thought out you target audience persona and even selected the singular emotional draw that you had in mind.

Whatever you choose, pick a single thing and be known for it. It is said that “nobody buys a 1/4 inch drill bit, they buy a 1/4 inch hole.” Be known as the guy that gives them the widget that gives them the need they have.

All of this hopefully took place without a road map, since I(you) are born to market and you just naturally think this way.

The “Always be testing” crowd will even need to concede that a good effective starting point is helpful and shortens the curve. Good A/B testing takes place in slow 60 day blocks, so a decent conversion from day one increases the entire line graph from day one. This is my assurance that it will evolve, it must always (AB) evolve.

In comes the unfortunate part. Unless you are self employed or in complete creative control of your account you will now have to sell the idea to someone else. In many cases it is a superior that hired you for your ability to do what you just did and in some cases it is a meddling client themselves. Very often the same client that had no direction and came to you insists on being the person who must think an idea is good.

A client may know their brand better than anyone else, but in short time a marketing professional knows what your customers think of their brand. Often the goal is to decide on that perception from day one which makes preconceived ideas of their brand a roadblock.

Your well laid strategy and personal expertise has just been reduced to a suggestion box.

The real challenge lies at this point (FYI: no solution in this post). This point between creative’s with ideas and those who control the budget or want to see direct effects that can be quantified.

You can prepare with a detailed explanation of your thought process and why it will work. You can map out who you think will see this ad, how you will target it to the intended audience with specificity and how segmenting your national audience to targeted campaigns is a guarantee of better click through an conversions.

So you are now the creative with the strategist’s blessing.

But like that paragraph alone, it will appear as too much information to anyone who lacks your experience in what works and make a reader/listener bored quickly. And as a marketing professional, you know not to lose your audience with too much detail.

“Detail is the enemy of curiosity.” – Me

You have worked hard to strike a complete product with creative that inspires a surfers curiosity mixed with direct response techniques that keep it simple enough not to get lost in the internet clutter.

On the left you have creative’s who want more images more visuals and more adjectives or shock value and on the right you have traditional marketing backgrounds who don’t see the value or targeting ability of a snappy display campaign to begin with. Standing with them on the right side you have the ROI types (guilty) who see only 30 days into the future as per cost and conversions. This short sited view often overlooks some residual value of remarketing and the brand exposure for 25 cents per 1000 impressions on major websites.

Great creative can often not lead to great conversion. While detail is the enemy of curiosity, which gets people to click, curiosity for its own sake is a very unqualified lead or website visitor and often won’t translate to a sale.

Curious clicks don’t buy anything, which is why social media often converts poorly.

What can get hidden in this balance is the value of someone just kicking the tires. Even a cold lead or curious click is one more person in your remarketing list for the next 90 days. You have a list of people who made it past the previous criteria to see an ad once, be it region, placement of affinity group, and now you have a chance to reach them with more messages that may stick.

A hidden value of leaning towards creative.

Add to this the hidden values in social from creative which leads to links, organic SEO advancement and organic exposure to more qualified leads down the road.

Creative, curiosity clicks and social effects are all the lowest converting forms of traffic but have their “hard to measure” place in the long term plan.

ROI is the single most important aspect or your marketing plan, but it must be sprinkled with creative ads that build attention to your brand and leave people pleased with your brands efforts to entertain them.

As much as it bothers people not being able to graph the effects of creative ideas, the residual effects no doubt put you in a better position for more direct response approaches afterwards.

About author

Todd Kron

of Sellaholics is a veteran of Analytics, PPC, Display, video, UX, conversion optimization, affiliate programs, web design and web programming since 2002. My background includes affiliate sales to 6 figures, director of a web design agency, and currently the digital manager for a leading energy company located in Huntersville, NC. From search to sale 1000 different ways is my background. Sellaholics is a Google Partner Agency.

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