How many advertisements do you remember seeing today? If you’re like me, probably not even one. It’s hard to predict exactly how advertisements the average person sees per day, but the industry consensus is that you will be exposed to around 3,000 advertisements per day, both online and offline—and this number is only going up! So to create successful ads it’s important that marketers and advertisers cut through the advertising noise and leave a lasting impression on their target audiences. It’s often easier said than done; however, it is possible for marketers to create excellent, emotionally-driven ads that drive action A.K.A. successful ads.

Here’s an example: I just recently launched a campaign on LinkedIn driving prospects to download one of our marketing white papers. I started with the traditional corporate approach of mentioning what our product is, why it should be used along with a call to action, i.e. download our white paper here… Then I stopped and asked myself ‘would I click this ad?’—and the honest answer was no. I knew right then and there it was time to rethink my game plan.

So I went back to the drawing board with a new goal: to make my audience laugh. I hypothesized that if people thought my ad was funny, then they would be more likely to engage with our brand to learn more by downloading our assets. The new ad headline read, “Yes, this is an ad but it’s worth clicking…” It turns out that my hypothesis was right: the funny ad out-performed our traditional ads click through rate by nearly 200%.

So how can you create successful ads that strike an emotional cord?

  1. Humanize your ad copy. You don’t like being spoken to as if you’re a dollar sign…and neither does anyone else. People tend to respond to ads that appeal to them on a personal level. So even if your advertising is B2B-focused, write ad copy as though you’re speaking to someone face-to-face.
  2. Do the opposite of your competitors. Search what others are doing and try doing the opposite. People tend to get desensitized to advertising (remember: 3,000 per day!) so it might be more effective, especially in established industries, to try something new and different that catches attention.
  3. Get ballsy (and don’t take yourself too seriously). Try a message that strikes a nerve or scares you a bit. Push the envelope but avoid topics that are too controversial. Always remember to align your ad copy with the values of your company.
  4. Test, test, test and test again. Advertising involves a lot of hard work, some guesswork and, often, luck. Don’t put all your eggs in one idea basket: come up with lots of ideas and test them to determine which perform well.
  5. Always create and agree on metrics. As you’re testing advertising, it’s important to create metrics of success and keep track of how ads perform. The results of your ad campaigns will be crucial to optimizing any future advertising campaign—and you’ll have hard data for when you need to ask for budget.

Great examples of ads that don’t suck:

1. Utopolis, Group of Cinemas: Titanic

2. Huddle – Yes this is an ad

3. KISS FM 97.7: Father

4. Huddle – live long and prosper

5. The anti-Microsoft Ad – enough said

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