Making the Grade: Our 5 Rules for Creative Effectiveness
Updated: May 27
There are a number of key factors that determine success or failure when it comes to digital advertising – most notably those that influence the acquisition of attention.
Attention is scarce. According to a 2018 Lumen study, seen rates for digital ads stand at just 12% – and a measly 4% are looked at for a second or longer. Despite the gloomy outlook of these findings, the potential to garner such attention isn’t entirely lost. Much of what digital advertisers get right comes down to well thought-out creative strategy.
We’ve spent the last two years building a creative solution capable of delivering attention. Our Pageskin products provide the foundation for expert creative techniques that guarantee the success of digital ads. Here are the five steps we live by to ensure our targets are met:
Chapter 1: Balance is Key
When you have a bunch of creative assets at your disposal, what’s the best way to approach the palette? You should take the ‘be loud, be proud’ approach to ensure your brand stands out – but always consider the fact that ‘less is more’. The last thing you want is a cluttered, text-heavy layout. There’s a time and a place for your assets and design elements – you certainly don’t need to use them all.
So how can you be loud and proud with fewer assets? The idea is to encourage the potential for brand identification and recall. The logos, product shots and branding should be prominent in the skin.
Top Tip: Don’t Push Your Luck
There’s a fine line between expertly-placed branding and taking the biscuit, so make sure you’re not being too pushy with your brand assets. Prioritise the user experience highly. Respect it and you’re far less likely to leave a bad taste in the mouth for those reading and noticing your brand.
Chapter 2: Sidebars
The sidebars garner as much, if not more, attention than anywhere else on a page skin – they are a vital part of your ad ‘story line’. They can allow for vast improvements on the success of alternative advertising techniques such as banner ads.
That’s right, the goal is to keep a story line flowing from the moment the user’s gaze is captured. You should ensure branding and key messaging are prevalent throughout the natural scrolling process, which is the perfect opportunity to make the most of those sidebars.
To tell the story correctly, you need to be aware of what we like to call the ‘Z-shaped gaze pattern’. This is the natural gaze a user will follow when they arrive on a page. The trick is to layout your assets in a way that caters to the Z-shape pattern.
Top Tip: Reduce the Competition
If you’re not the only ad on a page, chances are the potential for a story line is jeopardised. Ad clutter can seriously affect visual engagement. With our Pageskin’s there’s no clutter nor competition, just the perfect platform for your ad story to flow all the way down the page.
Chapter 3: Interaction and Animation
Even if you’ve done all you can to fulfill the requirements for attention, it’s important to remember that your ad is always secondary to the user’s experience. After all, they’re intending to seek out some form of editorial – not your ad.
Therefore, specialist creative techniques are required to drive greater attention to the ad without dominating the page. What we know is that subtle animation and interactive components are great at getting digital ads noticed.
Both of these techniques draw the user’s gaze to product imagery and logos, as well as reinforce the brand in the process – boosting the potential for ad recognition and recall.
Top Tip: Fewer Assets? Use Animation
Less is more, more so here than ever. Subtle animation techniques and interactive components are both the perfect creative solutions to possessing fewer assets.
Chapter 4: Continue the Story
The story doesn’t end with one creative approach. High-impact ads create a priming effect, which is best leveraged by making sure any further exposure your ads get are as consistent as possible – consistent being the keyword here.
The creative assets you use for a Pageskin ad should be consistent with what you’re using for a Facebook cover photo, out-of-home or an email campaign for instance.
However, this doesn’t mean you can take an existing TV ad and recycle it for digital display. Video needs to be treated sympathetically on web formats. It’s about utilising the same assets with a variety of creative techniques – some examples being 10-second vertical videos, sprite sheet animation, subtitles and auto-play on mute.
Data Point: MPU’s have a 39% increase in visual engagement time and a 140% increase in impactability if they’re seen after one of our Pageskins. (‘Amplify’, Lumen/Inskin)
Chapter 5: Who, When and Where
Once you’ve mastered the art of creative ad technique, it’s vital that you turn your attention to your audience. What’s the use in creating something that’s not likely to be seen? These are aspects of a successful Pageskin that can’t be influenced by creative alone.
Fear not. At Inskin we’ve taken the granular approach to ad targeting – reaching enough of the right people, at the right time, on the best possible sites. We can drill down further to ensure your ad features on sites that are relevant to the audience you’re looking to target.
But that’s not all – for much of the creative we work on needs to be topical to suit the present circumstances. This is where the creative can change depending on co-existing major events, national holidays, weather conditions etc.
Top Tip: Pick the Premium Publishers
Premium publisher environments drive better metrics for advertising that’s displayed in those environments. In other words, a better publisher = a more successful ad.