Dynamic Logic Study Offers Ad Creative Rules

Dynamic logic best practices (mark

Dynamic Logic

  Efforts to boost the quality of online advertisng may take fresh inspiration from a new study by Web research firm Dynamic Logic outlining best practices for interactive ad creative.

The report's central argument is that creative quality is more important than more obsessed-over aspects of Web advertising such as targeting, ad size or format in driving effectiveness. "Why is it so much money is spent in digital media on studies and research on ad sizes and targeting, and very little being said about what makes ads good to begin with?" said Ken Mallon, Dynamic Logic's senior vice president of custom solutions, in an interview.

In short, brands and agencies have gotten too caught up in the science of online advertising and lost sight of the art. In that vein, online has a lot to learn from traditional media when it comes to testing and producing high-quality ads, according to Mallon. "Even billboards are better," he said. Based on an analysis of 170,000 online creative executions, the Dynamic Logic study came up with some basic guidelines for creating effective online ads. Among them:

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-Because you often only have a moment to influence a viewer, each frame of an ad should be able to stand on its own-- each frame should work to drive brand awareness and communicate the benefits or differences and provide reasons to purchase a product or service.

-"Reveal" ads, in which a brand or product is not shown initially, are almost always ineffective: This is seen across all industries as a key component that differentiates best and worst campaign performers. A few exceptions to this rule: video ads, which are much more likely to succeed in this format but are still risky, as well as ads with high entertainment or comedic value.

-Keep messaging very simple: No more than two messages should be conveyed in an online campaign. Copy-cluttered ads were especially prevalent in the financial services, consumer electronics and pharmaceutical categories. (Pharma ads work better when legal information is presented in formats that let users roll over or scroll down ads.)

-The use of human imagery is also important. It appears to be a key factor in the success of most online campaigns -- and in financial services ads in particular, which have traditionally been more text-heavy and therefore less effective at building awareness and persuasion.

If those rules sound simple enough, they are rarely followed online. "One of the biggest mistakes we see are ads trying to be too cute," he said. "They don't tell me what the product is until several seconds into the ad frame rotation."

The Interactive Advertising Bureau began a push earlier this year to encourage agencies to upgrade the quality of ad creative to attract more brand marketing dollars online and overcome perceptions of the Web as a "performance-based" ad medium. The effort included creation of an agency advisory board to focus on improving creativity in interactive marketing.

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