Five basic rules for effective digital screen ads (adapted)

March 17, 2008 by Dave Haynes

I have often related the experiences of Web advertising and overall growth of that space to what’s happening now. To those of us who were active and focused on that space 10 years ago, what’s happening now seems awfully familiar in a bunch of ways.

One of those areas in which there are very real common threads is ad development, and Advertising Age has a piece out this morning about the rules for effective digital ads. There are aspects of this advice, from the consulting firm Marketing Evolution, that are Web-centric. But most of it applies very well to what we’re up to.

  1. Know the purpose of your campaign and psychological mechanism of your ad.
  2. Apply the brand mark persistently. (This is especially true with digital screens where your screens may not earn a lot more than glances.)
  3. Use a simple, iconic message. and make sure the image and copy work together. It’s tempting to use Flash animation to create TV-like ads, but outside interstitials, gateways and over-the-page narratives are too complex for consumers with divided attention to grasp. Animation in other formats (such as banners and boxes) should be used to focus attention, not tell a story.
  4. Consider the format. Keyword buys can work for consumers actively seeking information, page skins to raise brand awareness, and over-the-page formats for more complex, animated narratives. (Same thing again with digital screens. An ad spot on a medical waiting room network, where people are sitting around for many minutes, should not be the same as that for an LED billboard or elevator screen. You can just imagine how many times when an ads is created for digital screens and is therfore thought to be the spot for ALL digital screens. It is enough of a big moment when an ad is actually created for digital screens, in a lot of cases!)
  5. Optimize creative. Pre-testing is relatively rare outside TV, but it can make a difference in digital, too. Marketing Evolution has found much if not most of the variation in campaign effectiveness comes from the creative, not the media buy. (Bingo.)

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