Building Functional Ads

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Have you looked at the price of a good creative agency lately? One that gets you great ads on time, works normal business hours and isn’t your niece’s best friend who’s getting an art diploma?

Getting the most from creative services in ad design.

Have you looked at the price of a good creative agency lately? One that gets you great ads on time, works normal business hours and isn’t your niece’s best friend who’s getting an art diploma?

It’s not cheap.

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As a result, many small to medium businesses blow most of their budget on work by big creative agencies. This leaves little money to spend on getting the ad where it actually needs to go: in front of the right audience. Then, when their big, expensive ad underperforms, they are unsure where they went wrong.

Untangling creative

The problem with creative isn’t that it’s too expensive – the time and effort a good design firm will invest into a re-brand or an advertisement is huge.

The problem is that creative occupies a strange space in advertising.

In effect, creative design is both the bones of every ad, as well as its style. If you look at an advertisement as a pyramid, with the foundational aspects at the bottom and the ‘nice to have’ aspects at the top, it would look as follows:

  • Messaging is the foundation of your ad; the idea you’re trying to communicate.
  • Ad creation builds a piece of advertising around your message.
  • Medium/Traffic is placing that ad in front of the right audience.
  • Branding/Creative ensures your ad is performing to its top potential.

The first three levels of the pyramid are integral: you need a message, an ad and an audience. However, that top-tier Branding/Creative isn’t. When you have the budget for high-level creative, the cost is worth it. However, for those who don’t have the budget, that big, initial spend makes advertising prohibitively expensive.

The key for businesses with constrained ad budgets is to balance ad spend across the foundational aspects of an ad – and that means avoiding big ticket creative design.

Creating A More Functional Ad

To help these businesses, IFM offers in-house ad design to support our traffic/medium services. To make sure our ads perform how they should, we follow a few data-derived insights we’ve found to be incredibly powerful.

Our ad creation process:

K.I.S.S. (or Keep It Simple Stupid)

Less is more. This isn’t just a design concept for us – it’s backed by real numbers, and proven through constant iteration and refining over years of ad creation. Over and over, we’ve seen ridiculously simple ads out-perform complex, overly-designed ones.

Good messaging lasts

No matter how great your ad design is, it will fall flat without a cogent message. Good messaging is foundational, and will ensure even the most mundane ads stick with your audience. Whether you need all new messaging, or need to simplify an idea, we can help refine what you want to communicate to your audience.

Branding vs calls to action

Branding ensures the recognizability of your ads, so you can create a relationship with your customers. A call to action compels viewers to move to the next step, i.e., pursuing that relationship, and working with you. By balancing your ads with consistent branding and CTAs, your ad will be more effective.

Partnering with freelance creatives

While that high-level design isn’t essential to the success of your ad, good design and good designers are. We’ve cultivated relationships with some of the best, most dependable creatives, helping to both keep costs down, and ensure quality work for our clients. 

Balancing your ad budget 

For any business dealing with a constrained ad budget, it’s important to strike a balance between ad creation and media buying. Paying big design firms big money just to create an ad doesn’t make sense if it hampers your ability to get your ad out there, in front of your ideal audience. 

There are tons of options out there (like yours truly) who can work with you to get the most out of your ad budget, giving you functional ads with powerful messaging – and featured in the right space: where your potential customers are watching.

So what are you waiting for? Reach out and let’s talk.
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John McColman administrator

If you want to pick someone’s brain for anything from social media to display advertising, pick John's. Today, John’s putting businesses in front of millions of users and he can do the same for your business.


Content Creation, Digital Advertising, Social Media Management