Top 6 Creative Elements to Test on Your Ads in 2022 (And Why They Work)

This is how we’re keeping our ads cutting-edge at Monkedia.

Paper cup megaphone on orange background

Your ads need to cut through the noise. 

There’s never been more competition for consumer attention in the digital marketing world. In a media environment where only the most extraordinary content gets meaningful engagement, how can you possibly keep up? Answer: Get creative. 

Experiment to find out which creative advertising elements are most effective for your brand so you can a) optimize your results, and b) improve exponentially with each new ad campaign. 

Here’s how we’re getting creative with our ads at Monkedia in 2022.

#1: Aim for Authenticity with UGC (User-Generated Content) 

If you feel like your brand has been stuck in a rut using traditional ad formats, this is the best option to inject some life into your campaigns. User-Generated Content (UGC) ads are made to mimic non-advertising content in order to seamlessly blend into social media feeds, popularized on mediums such as Tiktok and Instagram Reels. The best part about UGC ads is that they can be whatever you want them to be—UGC ads just need to feel authentic to be effective. 

Today’s social media users want to see how your product or service could fit into their everyday lives before they make a purchase. Plus, years of aggressive online advertising has made us very adept at ignoring ads that look like, well, ads. 

There’s plenty of ways to make effective UGC ads (including working with Monkedia). Partnering with influencers, emulating popular content creators, and hopping on internet trends are all great ways to do it. The more personality you can show, the better! 

#2. Go Big with Reviews, Testimonials & Social Proof

Reviews are everything in the UGC ad world. Born from YouTube, one of the most successful formats for viral videos are hauls, reviews, and unboxings. These types of videos allow the audience to live vicariously through another user’s experience of getting something new. 

Watching someone experience the thrill of trying a new product or service has become a popular form of entertainment and ASMR on all social media platforms. It’s increasingly becoming the deciding factor for your customer on whether or not to purchase. 

Afterall, who wouldn’t want the security of a positive review from a trusted user before spending money? That’s why we love to go big and get creative with reviews, testimonials and social proof for our campaigns. 

#3. Freshen Up Your Visual Elements

It’s imperative to regularly “freshen up” your visuals (even for ad campaigns that are performing well!) to keep both cold and warm audiences engaged and attentive. On social media, we have more freedom to experiment than we did in traditional forms of advertising, making it easier to keep things fresh. 

For example, you could take a well-performing static ad and turn it into a video or a GIF with motion. For video ads, you can experiment with music or other audio elements (this is a MUST for Tiktok) and add or remove subtitles to see what works. You could also take a product-centered campaign and add a human aspect to get people to see your brand in a different light. 

Colors, brightness, font style and more are all great ways to experiment. Sometimes the smallest tweak can make the biggest difference when it comes to conversions, so test it all!

#4: Tell a Story with Your Copy 

Psychology tells us that people empathize best through storytelling. This is why telling an effective story in your ad remains one of the most lucrative techniques in advertising. Now the challenge is: How can I tell a story that my audience resonates with or hasn’t heard before?

Advertising data shows us that modern audiences overwhelmingly respond to and engage with content that’s emotional in nature. If you can evoke emotion in your audience quickly, you’re much more likely to engage them with your product. 

For example, many skincare brands on Tiktok begin their video ads with a person sharing an intimate moment or emotional reaction that illustrates their frustration over their skin problems. A vulnerable, authentic scene can capture an audience and make them stay for the rest of your ad.  From there, you can tell the story of your product and make them understand how it can change their lives. Get creative with the stories you tell, and don’t be afraid to go deep. 

#5: Make the First Second Count 

Before you get them to click, you need to get them to stop scrolling. This means that the very first frame is literally the most important creative element of your ad. Users usually judge whether they’ll stay on a Tiktok, Reel, or Facebook Video within the first second or two before moving on to something better. So, test as many opening frames as you can in your video ads.

For example, if you’re selling pet food: Capture an audience's attention with a picture of a cute or funny animal. This invokes an immediate emotional reaction in the viewer (the cuteness) and an incentive to stay with the ad (more cuteness.) Trust us, it works! 

On Tiktok, you can test different trending sounds to find what’s best to accompany your chosen visual. Successful video ads often use an attention-grabbing opening sound, so experiment as much as you can to see what makes your audience stick around. 

#6 Recreate Your Best-Performing Ads (with a Twist)

We’ve explored how to test different creative elements on your ads to see what “sticks”... but what do you do once you’ve found what does? Well, the best way to keep that success going is to test different versions of what’s already working.

Take your best performing ad, and test out as many different creative elements as you can on that ad. Maybe try testing short copy vs. long copy, or changing the color scheme of your ad. If it’s static, add motion. If it’s a video, add subtitles. Even the smallest changes on your ad can make a HUGE difference. 

Through the process of trial and error, you’ll discover what works, and you can capitalize on those successful elements. You’ll also have a better idea of what future ad campaigns should look like for your brand.

One last thing: Don’t be afraid of the unconventional. 

Be unconventional. Here’s an example: One brand that’s been killing it lately on Tiktok is Duolingo, the popular language learning app, simply because they consistently surprise their audience. Their marketing team has used profanity, pranks, and ridiculous stunts (often making good use of their unhinged looking mascot) to garner millions of views on the platform. 

Since social media users have come to expect squeaky-clean brand aesthetics, the boldness of their unconventional choices has made Duolingo stand out from the rest. Not all brands can take that route—but every brand can certainly benefit from thinking outside of the box. So don’t be afraid to reject traditional “rules” in advertising and do something unique. The pay off could be huge!

For more information on how Monkedia can make bold moves for your brand, be sure to start a conversation with us today.

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