4 Rules For Better Online Advertising Performance

You have agonized over your copy, crafting something with depth and nuance. You tell the story around the table of how the message and design combine to illustrate your brand’s superiority.

As you explain it heads begin to nod, the connection becomes clear and the program moves forward.

The problem is, you expect your audience to find the same winding road from creative to communication objective, with no map or guide.

Having spent more than a decade in digital media, I have seen this story repeat more often than I care to remember.

The Part You Are Forgetting

Your advertising, which is important to you, may simply be an irritation to your audience. They will not invest the time to probe the depths of its meaning. Instead you should assume they will avoid your advertising whenever possible.

As a marketer, you need to stop staring into the depths of your advertising and make certain the first, and possibly the only, split-second exposure someone has to your ad is effective!

How To Make Every Ad Count

Your creative needs to deliver your message, even when someone is actively avoiding it or their focus is elsewhere. Here are the keys you are missing:

1. Get Attention!

Movement. Color. Unexpected Typefaces.

However you do it, your design has to get someone’s attention. Without attention, you do not have an opportunity to make an impression.

2. Be Direct

If it is in design or copy, your message must be immediately obvious. If someone must stop and consider it before comprehending it, they will continue on instead.

You can still create layers of meaning and nuance, but you cannot allow the layers to obscure the message.


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3. Back It Up

Most people will never look for the support, but the few that do are your best prospects. Don’t leave them wondering if what you claimed is actually true.

4. Deliver On Every Frame

With Flash (or other animated) banners, do not assume someone sees your message from start to finish. Every two-tenths of a second needs to stand on its own. This is one of the biggest missed opportunities today.

The Exceptions

Of course, rules are meant to be broken and the more money you have at your disposal, the more opportunity you will have to break these rules.

Your Turn

Is your online ad creative working as hard as it can, or does it have so much depth that it has lost its point?

Share your view in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

Image Credit: The Moon in the Sink by Gianni Dominici

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About Eric Wittlake

I am a digital and B2B marketer with a background in online media and analytics. I work with B2B clients on media and integrated marketing programs at Babcock & Jenkins. You can connect with me on Twitter at @wittlake or in the comments here on my B2B Digital Marketing blog.