How to enhance creativity when refreshing advertising creative

Recently I went though an exercise to help a team member take ownership of digital advertising, and what we needed to do was refresh our ad creative as they have been running for nearly two full quarters, exposing us to risk of over-exhaustion.

Over the years, I’ve created my own processes to building ad creative, but it essentially boils down to a lot of research:

  • Understanding the current ad creative (if it exists), including the messaging, creative design, audience targeting, and landing page
  • Understanding the landscape, looking at competitors, looking at modern ad creatives to ideas and inspiration
  • Understanding the problem the product/service is trying to solve and who’s having the problem (persona’s)
  • Understanding the foundational performance metrics of marketing campaigns so I know where the goal posts are in terms of cost per acquisition, etc.

I could go on, but like in my experience, we have limited time, my team member has limited experience, and I have limited capabilities to walk them through my process.

So I decided to do some research on how to come up with new advertising creative.

This featured snippet was not helpful (and I gave Google that feedback). But many other results were not giving me what I was looking for. Either the content didn’t exist (highly doubtful) or I was imply unable to articulate what I wanted to learn. So I queried and queried some more.

  • process to create b2b display ads
  • digital marketing advertising creative best practices
  • how to create digital marketing advertisements
  • team exercises for creative advertising
  • how to make creative ads

After reading a number of pages and PDF downloads, I’ve put together a shortlist of what I thought made the most sense to help my situation.

Best practices and processes on how to come up with advertising creative for b2b SaaS campaigns

Keep the visuals and animation clean and simple

There’s very little real estate and you need to convey your message very quickly. Visuals hit the nail on the head, but you don’t want your ad to be overstuff with too many things going on. So keep the colors, visual elements, and animations SIMPLE.

Great, but what does that mean? Well, to help you decide what to include, there’s an advertising theory called “the hierarchy of effects” which basically means that consumers perceive advertising in a linear fashion: think -> feel -> do.

Now, before I go on, you should note that there is research done that challenges this theory, such as Does Advertising Cause a Hierarchy of Effects.

In any case, for the purposes of making a decision on what to include in your digital ad creative, stay focused on this:

Brand, Value, Urgency

You’ll want to include your branding (logo, name, color theme).

You’ll want to offer something of value that get’s the viewer interested. Could be a free trial, download, limited offer, or something funny.

Create urgency to give the viewer a reason to take action now. This is closely tied to your value offering.

KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid

Says it all in the name. Internet users have very short attention spans. In a research study conducted by Statistic Brain in 2016, the average attention span of an internet user is 8.25 seconds. This is down from 12 seconds in 2000. To put that into some context, the attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds.

Some other resources:
The Definitive Guide to Digital Advertising by Marketo, 2018