Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Can I have your attention please? How advertising creativity has finally caught up.

Partner Content

By Julia Burton Brown,Commercial Director, Inskin Media 

When you stop to think about it – which most of us don’t – the internet is a phenomenal concept. Anyone who was a teenager pre-world wide web will be able to appreciate the magnitude of what has been created in a very short space of time. Whether it’s streaming live TV, downloading a high resolution feature length film or video calling all and sundry (admittedly more than we may ideally want to, these days), the internet blows creative opportunities wide open. 

And yet advertising – an industry which spends billions of pounds every year on digital platforms – has been relatively slow to catch up. Standard display advertising may be cheap but it’s rapidly losing points for being cheerful. Ads may be more animated than they once were, and analytics may now be able to tell a brand how many times their banner ad was clicked on, but the nature of traditional display advertising means it has lost any power it may once have had to make an impact. 

Consumers have evolved to become the masters of ignoring run of the mill advertising. They scroll past ads on social media that have not made any effort to be targeted or in any way contextualised. In the modern world our attention is demanded from so many corners that advertisers who opt for high volume inventory at low cost will only get what they pay for. Namely appearing on an awful lot of websites but without gaining any real traction. 

Which is why high impact advertising is starting to gain so much attention. Placing powerful creative content within premium, relevant environments has been proven to drive brand awareness and consumer recall as scrollers are stopped in their tracks – quite literally – by brilliant advertising that demands 15x the attention of standard display ads. 

Creativity is the number one driver of trust in advertising. Indeed, according to Nielsen it accounts for a 47% contribution to sales, while bad creative is known to have a negative impact on a campaign’s sales performance. Consider the cheap, badly designed leaflet that comes through your door offering some kind of generic home improvement service and listing nothing more than a mobile phone number for a quote vs a glossy brochure with beautiful imagery and neat, clear content directing you to a website and a series of customer reviews. They may be trying to achieve the same end goal, but which one is more likely to succeed?

Today, brands have very little excuse to reject high impact advertising. Easy to use formats that can be bought at scale across thousands of trusted, reliable publisher sites, mean it has never been easier to run an advertising campaign that stands out. 

And the halo effect of being associated with these websites is a significant added bonus: their audience will be appreciative of a high quality, aesthetically pleasing online experience, while the sheer number of publishers now offering high impact advertising means there will always be an opportunity for a brand to get their creative in front of the perfect audience. According to biometric research conducted in 2019, ads viewed in high-quality mobile web environments were perceived 74% more favourably than the same advertisements seen in low-quality environments.

While targeting and tailored are, of course, crucial when considering the success of an ad campaign – with analytics essential in order to optimise any live or future campaigns – the number one consideration for every marketer should always be the user experience. This should remain the focal point of every single digital campaign, yet all too often it appears to be an afterthought, at best. 

High impact ads make a lasting impression without interrupting the browsing experience – indeed they often enhance the user’s time on the site. Impactful, high impact formats command the consumer’s attention with creative that has the ability to be both eye-catching while, conversely, blending seamlessly into its environment. 

And, as with every successful digital ad concept, different formats are created for different devices, ensuring the impact is effective whether the user is on a desktop, tablet or smartphone.  

When it comes to digital advertising there is a fine balance between impact and experience and high impact advertising has struck that sweet spot. Creativity in digital advertising can no longer be an optional extra, it must be an essential aspect of any campaign. The internet has given us limitless opportunities: it is up to us to make the most of them.