Even if you’re a seasoned digital marketer, determining the best ad types for your business can be a challenge. There’s a budget, new products and services, changing business objectives and changing algorithms to consider. The only way to truly determine what’s working is through constant testing, which can be a time-consuming process if you aren’t able to outsource.
Luckily, there’s a place to start. Travis Chamber, Chief Media Hacker at Chamber Media, and his team undertook an immense research mission (we’re talking studying 50,000 ads from the top 1% of Shopify Stores, plus $100 million in ad spend for their clients) to determine seven core types of successful ads.
He shared his findings at the recent AdWorld conference, and we’ve broken them down for you below.
1. Case studies
Case studies provide opportunities to showcase research or a test involving your product or service, the idea being to demonstrate why your brand is above the rest. How case studies are executed is very important – video/visual mediums work best, and it’s important to use authentic talent so as not to give off the feel of a hard-sell ad. We’re talking real customers over influencers – leave them for social proof ads (below).
Why they work: People trust facts and want to connect to a narrative. If you’re allowing a customer to talk about your product in an authentic way then prospective new customers can relate to that genuine feeling and feel inclined to find out more.
2. Product demos
Where case studies are built around stories, product demos are exactly that – clear cut content that delivers the facts, without bells and whistles. But, that doesn’t mean that the content has to be boring. This is where snappy video platforms such as TikTok and Instagram Reels really shine. Whether you use close-up, silent footage, educational videos demonstrating five uses for your product or try something a little more conceptualised such as an ASMR video (great for food businesses!), product demos can be incredibly engaging ways to showcase your brand.
Why they work: in a world where competition is more intense than ever and audience attention spans are short, short to-the-point content that gets straight to value props work well.
3. Lifestyle ads
These ads show how your product or service is used in everyday life. Think of these ads as a combination of product demos and case studies – they are designed to talk about the USPs, and create an aspiration for audiences. Lifestyle ads also present opportunities for brands to convey their values and personality.
Why they work: There are two layers to these sorts of ads that make them successful. On one level, audiences connect with a brand’s personality and values, which creates a sense of belonging and relatability. You can then build on that relatability by showcasing the product or service in a lifestyle setting that connects to audiences on an aspirational level – aspirational, but still very achievable.
4. Spokesperson anchor ads
These ads are highly engaging forms of content where one person speaks directly to the camera about the benefits of a product or service. Spokesperson ads generally end with a clear CTA, so they’re great if you’re targeting repeat customers or engaged audiences.
Why they work: While cringeworthy ‘infomercials’ come to mind, anchor videos can be immensely powerful as they also combine multiple ad types. Like any video ads, the challenge is to capture attention in the first few seconds, so the longer that a viewer stays watching the video, the more value they get as they learn more about your product or service.
If you’re new to the world of unboxing videos then the idea of filming packages being unwrapped might sound a little strange. Audiences may already be familiar with unboxings as influencers and vloggers often showcase new products they’ve purchased or received. There are many ways to create an unboxing video and they can be quick and low-budget to put together.
Why they work: Unboxing ads are great for product showcases. They also work well when combined with influencer marketing (see ‘Social proof’ below), and allow audiences to vicariously experience a product as it comes – straight from the box. This sort of content is especially great for video-centric audiences on platforms like Instagram Reels and TikTok, and you can maximise the engagement potential by combining with a trending sound or hashtag (#asmr, anyone?).
6. Social proof ads
Social proof ads cover media and publicity, including press features, reviews and testimonials from influencers. It’s easy to debate the authenticity of influencer marketing here, but influencers are influencers for a reason; people follow them because they trust and value their opinion.
Why they work: People value the opinions of the media personalities, publications and influencers they trust, so having those people speak about your product or service means being able to tap into highly engaged audiences without having to do too much of the leg work (other than offer a fantastic product!).
7. Dynamic ads
Put simply, these are ads comprised of computer generated creative assets to test against your other ads.They automatically adapt content specific to the user so that user is fed the most relevant creative that will most likely make them take action. They are great for marketers because they generally offer high ROI for less effort than other ad forms.
Why they work: because dynamic ads respond to search activity they offer highly targeted creative that best incites user action. They are very effective for retargeting visitors to your website, enticing them to return to complete a purchase.
Not all ads will be the most appropriate for your business needs, but it is well worth testing a few to see what resonates. Aligning yourself with a digital marketing agency that fully understands your business needs and brand voice will ensure you have a strategy, appropriate content ideas and the marketing know-how to get those ads in front of the right eyes. And if you’re not sure where to start, we’re happy to help!