The Anatomy of an Advert


Ok, disclaimer I’m not a doctor! Actually, my medical knowledge stretches as far as knowing that we have 206 bones in the human body. Something I do know a thing or two about is ads – I love ads! Just like the human body a high-functioning and active ad is made up of several integral parts and if one part is missing, or weak, the ad will face a slow or sudden death. Ok, that sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s true! We should all learn that anatomy of an ad as it is a vital element of any successful business.

Today you will learn:

  • 4 vital elements of a successful ad
  • How to optimise each element


The Body Parts


The Visual = The Heart

When we look at an ad the first thing our eye is drawn to is the visual, whether it be in the form of photograph, graphic or video. A visual acts as the beating heart of an ad because without it the ad would almost instantly die. There is no set in stone method for picking or creating the perfect visual for your ad, I can however give you some pointers to consider.

Context: Like anything, the context of your chosen visual is incredibly important. Kissmetric’s statistics show that content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. For example, if you are advertising life insurance a picture of a cute cat isn’t going to be appropriate. Yes, people love cats, that’s what the internet was invented for right? However, in this situation, it wouldn’t work in your favour.

Size: Forget what they’ve told you, size does matter! You should always counter the size of your image with the amount of text or copy you want to include. For example, if you are keeping copy minimal in the ad then the visual should be the central focus. Just as, if you wanted a text-heavy ad your visual should serve as the backdrop.

Movement: Deciding whether you want a moving or static visual depends on the objective of the advertisement. Often a moving visual will catch the eye of a person browsing however it can also work to your disadvantage if it distorts or distracts from the important information or call to action.

The Title = Eyes

They say the eyes are the window to the soul. In the same sense, the title reveals the true pursuit of the marketer or ad-creator. The title needs to be highly relevant to the search terms and should reflect what the audience is looking for. It shouldn’t just be designed to attract attention, it should set the tone for the rest of the ad. Although naturally, we will look at the visual first then the headline, the impact of the headline is critical. Whether you choose to be ultra direct or enter with a witty play on words, the most important thing to remember is KEYWORDS!

Prerequisites of a Good Headline

  • Catch your audience’s attention
  • Introduce the rest of the copy and set the tone
  • Make a promise regarding your product or service

The Caption Text = Veins

The caption text is what links all the elements together just like the veins carry our blood around the body. The role of the caption is to offer a little more than what the headline/visual reveals. Every ad has an objective and this should be clear and concise in the caption. You don’t need to be a wizard with words to write good ad copy you just need to think about it logically. Take these steps to prepare yourself.

  1. Check out the competitors – What are your brand competitors including in their copy? Think about what they wrote and what their possible objectives were.
  2. Pick your point of difference – There’s no point replicating exactly what your competitors are doing. Use your competitor research to find your point of difference and make your message stand out
  3. Think about your objective – What do you wish to achieve? More sales? Introduce a new product? Reinvent your brand? Whatever your reason make sure it’s crystal clear!

Call-to-action = Brain 

The brain serves as the control room for the body, its job is to tell the organs what to do.  We should consider the call-to-action as the anatomical equivalent, without a call-to-action all the various other parts of the ad are basically useless. It doesn’t matter how visually spectacular or detailed your ad is if you don’t give the viewer a prompt for what they should do next then you’re back to square one! Call to actions come in many different forms of which functions vary.

Buttons: The most obvious call-to-action is a display as is a click-through button that screams ‘CLICK HERE”. Kissemetrics shows that more than 90% of visitors who read your headline also read your CTA copy. Buttons are often accompanied by text such as ‘shop now’, ‘visit our site’ or ‘learn more’. This form of call-to-action is simplistic and straight to the point.

Form submission: If it’s a name and email you want from the visitor there’s no more obvious way of saying it then a digital form. This is a great way of adding numbers to your mailing list.

Social sharing: A great ad is one that gains traction and continues to spread further than the postings that you originally paid for. One way to do this is to encourage social media sharing using buttons. Social buttons are an easy way of saying ‘please share this with your friends’!

Don’t make ads for the sake of making ads. You should always have a clear sales objective in mind and a clear plan and budget set out so you’re not throwing your money away for little return. Happy ad making!

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