Digital ads have evolved but the formula for a successful ad creative still stems from 5 core principles

  1. Know your audience
  2. Craft a simple message
  3. Get right to the point
  4. Be relevant
  5. Come clean (transparent messaging)

Banner ads have gone from simple images to a variety of advanced audio-visual formats delivered across channels to reach consumers wherever they are. Considering how to create an effective ad that will draw attention and generate clicks can be boiled down to these five points. Applying them to your ad concept will ensure that your creative speaks directly to your intended audience, driving conversions and making you money.

Know your audience

This is the universal KEYSTONE. While I was writing this post, I thought to myself, “How do I craft my message?” Digging down I realized that I was outlining my thoughts based on who I was writing to—you!

Make sure you have a clearly defined audience, that you understand who they are, what they’re looking for, and how they want to find it. Without this piece, you’re going to find the other four difficult to execute. Without knowing whom you’re trying to reach, you’re casting a wide net, which brings down the quality of your clicks.

Craft a simple message

Are you selling a product, idea, or a cause? Make sure the audience knows what it is at first glance. With banner ads, you usually have a very slim window to earn attention from consumers online. Make sure that when they do spot your ad in the side bar of their favorite web page, it’s absolutely clear what you’re showing them.

Get right to the point

Sprint has a strong offer to draw families away from competitors with a hefty data package serving 4 lines for only $100/month. They do a great job here of giving a detailed yet brief description of the offer, which is enough to get curious buyers to click through and get more of the nitty-gritty from the landing page.

Use clear, concise messaging. If consumers have to interpret your offer, chances are they’ll skip right by it. Short and sweet takes the cake.

Be relevant

Turbotax knows that people are looking for easy, low-cost solutions to get their taxes done. It’s no coincidence that you probably received your w-2 recently and have also started seeing ads like this on almost every website. A well-timed campaign.

Pay attention to what’s going on in the world your audience lives in and what they’re interested in. Leverage relevant trends to supercharge your campaign without lifting any additional fingers or having to shell out more dollars. Again, it all ties back to truly knowing your audience.

Come clean

Ads like this are easy to understand, but I think 99% of us have learned one way or another that Mom was right, there is no such thing as absolutely “free”. In my opinion banner ads like this one come across as bait, and I tend to leave them be. If I knew from the ad what I would have to provide in order to receive the free product, then I’d be more likely to click and explore the offer. Maybe it’s just a quick survey—harmless! But if you’re not telling me up front then I’m going to assume it’s something much, much worse.

Be honest and transparent with your messaging. It builds trust and makes people want to do business with you. Let your customers know exactly what you’ve got to offer without beating around the bush with vaguely worded, fluffy catch phrases. If you have an innovative product or a meaningful cause you want to share, show them! This will increase the quality of your conversions by only bringing folks who are actually ready to be your customer.

To summarize, or “TLDR” as they say nowadays, if you get to know your audience ahead of time, you can put together a simple yet effective ad that will get their attention. It shows that you take time to understand who they are and what they’re looking for, and you are ready to cater to their individual needs. It will build a relationship between you and your audience that fosters loyalty and a strong brand reputation.

big news about The Political Insider

Nine months ago, Intermarkets launched a content program to transform The Political Insider from an opt-in email list to a digital news publication and social community. Since then, the site has seen impressive growth, and a cohesive, engaged following on social media.

Here’s a short list of milestones and big news about The Political Insider since its re-launch:

  • Top 10 most socially engaged media outlets in March 2015.
  • Grew 14-fold on Facebook to 1.4 million fans.
  • Top Facebook posts have reached 10 million people.
  • Popular articles have reached #4 on the Viral News Chart.
  • 7 million web visitors in March 2015.
  • Consistently a top 500 site according to Quantcast.

Several months ago, our Business Development Manager Vipul Mistry wrote about some of his insights in growing The Political Insider’s social presence. Check them out here—they clearly worked!

Those engagement numbers also tell us we are giving consumers what they want, which is the most important factor to success.

Check out our press release further detailing these milestones and more here.

Earlier this year, Intermarkets teamed up with the data scientists at SimilarWeb to append the Drudge Report’s referral traffic, and its impact on advertising and other publishers. Conclusion: the Drudge Report is a rare, unique premium publisher driving hundreds of millions of external visits each month. (Scroll down for infographic)

The Drudge Report has a profound effect on America’s premier news outlets: it’s the top source for referral traffic to industry powerhouses like Fox News, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and Reuters among others. That alone is extraordinary. But the Drudge Report also has a disproportionate impact on entertainment outlets as well.

When we look at the advertising side, the importance of knowing your audience is paramount—and The Drudge Report’s traffic is nearly 90% direct. Premium publishers attract, and can be defined in part by, the loyalty of their audience. The Drudge Report’s two million unique daily visits and 700 million monthly visits certainly qualify.

In the Drudge Report, advertisers find content quality, powerful distribution power, and an audience they can rely on, while publishers benefit from the Drudge Report’s referral power.

Take a look at our infographic and let us know what you think about the power of the Drudge Report!

Drudge Report Infographic
Drudge Report Infographic

Check out SimilarWeb here.

Intermarkets has been the exclusive ad representative for the Drudge Report for over 15 years, and has created a leadership position enabling Premium Programmatic Solutions for advertisers.

In 2013, for the first time ever, Internet ad revenues surpassed those of broadcast television. While television as a whole still commands more eyeballs, this milestone marks a decisive shift in the realm of video advertising. The audience for online advertising is skyrocketing, with the amount of the U.S. population streaming their content up 58% from 38% five years ago (IAB/Nielsen).

“Leveraging the large reach of TV in combination with the standalone impact and amplifying effect of online video makes for a successful strategy.”

—Dave Kaplan, Senior Vice President, Product Leadership at Nielsen IAG

Since political campaigns traditionally rely heavily on television advertising, this shift also raises the question: could you be getting more bang for your buck with online video?

TV Costs Soar While Viewership Drops

As reported by Ad Age’s Jack Neff, television advertising’s “cost per gross rating point (GRP) to reach 18-to-49-year-olds has quadrupled in the past two decades, according to Horizon Media,” even as its reach has been “diluted by the proliferation of other media.” Just this past year, broadcast and cable television’s cost per milli (CPMs) were up 5% (AdWeek).

At the same time that TV’s cost has quadrupled, broadcast TV’s audience ratings have been cut in half in the past decade. According to RMG Networks, “The networks are in a viewership free fall, yet they’re charging marketers more than ever.”

Shifting Dollars to Digital Increases Reach, Decreases Spend

In an IAB study conducted by Nielsen, researchers measured what would happen when dollars were reallocated to digital. To benchmark how moving dollars from TV ad budgets would affect reach and costs, the study examined 18 real TV schedules across key
advertiser verticals. They found that a 15% budget shift increased reach by 6.2% while lowering costs by 6.8%.

Video ads tended to reach harder-to-hit verticals like adults age 18-34 and light TV viewers. Additionally, those who saw the ads on both platform were much more likely to respond, because…

People Remember Online Ads

In a joint study, Microsoft and Nielsen IAG conducted research to determine the effectiveness of ads based on four key brand impact metrics: ad recall, brand recall, message recall, and likeability. Astoundingly, the online video ads outperformed the TV ads on every single metric (Tweet this!).



They concluded that the online video viewers’ engagement could be attributed to their viewing environment; mainly, “the oft-required active mouse-clicking to initiate and continue content,” the “reduced ad clutter,” and the inability to easily skip content altogether (like you can do with a DVR).

Better Together: Online Ads Play Nice with TV Ads

The Microsoft/Nielsen IAG study didn’t end there. They also tested how using a dual-platform strategy affected the metrics—and found that a combined strategy amplified brand lift across every major metric:

The Future of Video

The younger generations continues to grow their digital consumption, pointing to a pattern that may hold for years to come. As a society, the ways we digest content are changing, and it’s important to change advertising tactics to keep up with this shift.

As online streaming grows, we’ll probably continue to see the viewership shift online. We want to know—will your campaign strategy shift with it? Let’s talk it out in the comments section.