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How to create a positive ad experience
April 10, 2018 | James Patrick Schmidt

As a media buyer, I’m constantly evaluating and re-evaluating media outlets for reach, frequency, impressions and engagement. This type of analysis is important when making decisions about where to spend your ad dollars – but it’s not the only thing you should think about when creating a media campaign.

As an advertiser, it’s easy to forget that consumers are more than just a data point – they are people who need to be treated as such. We need to put people first and remember that all those metrics are just short-hand for what we’re really trying to accomplish – lighting a spark between the brand and the consumer that leads to a relationship, not just a transaction.

A positive ad experience is one of the most important ways to set that relationship off on a good foot. There are a few simple principles we recommend you follow to help create a positive ad experience for your audience.

Respect the user experience

Nobody likes to be interrupted, and ads are no exception. Most people accept they will be exposed to a certain amount of advertising to receive the content they enjoy – just like an ad break on TV or banner ads on a website. People will be OK with this as long as it doesn't interfere with a good user experience.

This is why pop-up banner ads have diminished over time, and why the FCC implemented rules to combat loud commercials on TV. Nonetheless, there are still lots of bad ads out there. One example is banner ads that appear on your mobile device with the smallest "x" possible.

The ads you deploy should integrate into your audience’s experience rather than stand in their way. A good way to test your media is to imagine if you would act like your ad at a dinner party. If not, it’s probably best to choose a different tactic and avoid rude behavior in your advertising.

Provide value in ads

We’ve all done it – we see an ad on TV or online and share it with someone we know. Whether it’s funny, heartwarming, or useful, the most impactful ads are always providing value to the consumer. It's best to think of this as a trade. Your audience gives your brand attention while viewing the ad and in return you should offer something valuable to make this a fair exchange.

Humor is a great way to provide value. We used this approach for our friends (and client) at Kysor, a division of Bergstrom Inc., a supplier of HVAC parts for mechanics and dealers.

Kysor Bergstrom

The humor in the copy will draw in customers and introduce them to the marketing message of the ad, as well. We’re trading attention for a bit of entertainment.

Treat every ad as a journey with your brand

It's easy to focus on an ad as a creative unit: billboard, magazine spot, or TV commercial. But it's important to remember that as advertisers, we should always be thinking about consumers taking that next step. And it's critical that when they do, the experience feels seamless. At the very least, if someone clicks a banner ad for a specific product, they should arrive at a webpage that is reflective of the ad and provides the “pay off” content they were expecting.

Beyond that, it’s important to build a brand that people want to work with – not just a campaign. As Caroline wrote on our blog a few months ago, "Each marketing piece deployed is just a drop in the brand bucket. You should view your brand as a living thing that evolves over time." That evolution is a journey, and it’s shared with every customer.

Got questions about creating a positive ad experience for your audience? Give us a shout!

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