When it comes to advertising, there’s a lot to consider – from audience to budget to where your ad will run. Here’s a roundup of 10 things to keep in mind when creating an effective advertising campaign that upholds your brand’s reputation while building awareness and driving results.

1.) DO tailor your ad to your platform. There are different features on each social media platform, so understanding what you can and can’t do based on where you’re planning to run a campaign is important. The platform you choose will also influence how consumers will interact with your ad and the kind of content you should produce.

2.) DON’T create offensive ads or exclude any groups. This is especially true in today’s day and age when people aren’t afraid to call out a brand for creating something distasteful or off-color. Ads often sexualize women, lack diversity, or portray a certain group of people in a negative way, so make sure that you have a varied group of people involved in an ad’s creative to avoid offending potential customers. 

3.) DO create ads that are shareable. In order to be shareable, your ad needs to be engaging. Most people who view ads on social media channels don’t stick around for very long, so your ad needs to quickly capture attention. Whether it’s a photo or a video, make sure you’re creating something that will engross your viewer and includes a strong call to action.

4.) DON’T let your current distribution limit your brand. Using more traditional platforms—like billboards and television—in new and innovative ways can increase your reach and encourage people to visit your brand’s website, share on social media, or even just talk about the ad. Brands don’t necessarily have to increase their distribution, they just have to come up with fresh ways to use older technology. 84 Lumber’s 2017 Super Bowl ad enticed people to visit their website to see the commercial in full. And the ad apparently worked, according to People, because traffic to the 84 Lumber website after the ad caused the site to crash.

5.) DO stretch your budget in new ways. For smaller brands especially, utilizing your dollars in new ways is important for increasing reach. There are strategies brands can use to do this, such as targeting large cities rather than blanketing an entire region.

6.) DON’T try to advertise a product that is insensitive to certain groups of people. If your product is exclusive or offensive, your ad campaign won’t be successful, no matter how creative your ideas are. Make sure that products aren’t evoking images of racism, sexism, or refer to sensitive subjects. For an example of what NOT to do, look at this Gucci sweater released last February.

Gucci's negative advertising

7.) DO keep your audience in mind when creating ad campaigns. A major part of designing an ad campaign is remembering who you’re targeting. Different audiences will respond to different things, so it’s key to make sure that you will get the intended reaction from the various groups of people who buy your product or use your brand. This is why segmentation and targeting is so important.

8.) DON’T be afraid to use humor. Ads that make viewers laugh are often talked about and spread virally across social media – and can often do so quickly. If an ad is funny in a successful way, that means a lot of shareability, and therefore a greater reach without spending extra money. Purple mattress has achieved this many times over with their hilarious and wildly successful video ads. Their Goldilocks-themed ad, for example, has over 169 million views on YouTube.

9.) DO consider addressing social issues in your ads. When done correctly, ads that tackle social issues can be incredibly effective. Going this route means that it’s especially important to pay attention to your audience (see #3). Just because you’re attempting something that is, in theory, genuine and thoughtful, doesn’t mean that your target audience will like it. You’re still promoting a brand to a certain group of people, and there is an art to combining selling with selflessness. Keeping your audience in mind when creating ads could mean the difference between releasing something like the Nike “Dream Crazier” ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, or Gillette’s major flop (among their targeted audience) “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be”.

10.) DON’T forget to consider creating serious, emotional ads. If doing a funny ad doesn’t seem fitting, try tugging on those heartstrings! Ads that create an emotional connection with viewers can also get the response you need and make the viewer resonate with a brand. P&G’s vice president of North American Marketing and Brand Operations, Jodi Allen, said that customers “have a positive association when products are made by P&G” in a 2014 interview with Fortune due to the emotional nature of their ads.

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