In our recent article on Focused Advertising 101 we shared some tips to help you get the most out of your ad dollars by knowing when, where and why to advertise. And being the smart project owner that you are, you’ve read up, done your homework, and you’re ready to launch an awesomely effective, affordable, targeted, comprehensive ad campaign. That’s the good news. The bad news is that getting a totally affordable well-researched ad in front of the right audience won’t do you a bit of good on anybody’s site if your ad sucks. Which brings us to today’s topic…
Ad Development 101
We used to do a lot of ad development for our ad clients, but alas, the code monkey is working furiously on the next site update and the gnomes just don’t have those kind of skills. But whether you’re paying a professional or developing your ad yourself, here are some general rules of thumb to follow based on our experience with ads that have or have not had a high click-through rate on our site.
- Point out the benefits of your project quickly. This is good advice for any ad, but especially for ads on Kicktraq. Our general rotation ads are tiny (930×80 pixels). On purpose. We’re aiming for effective, not annoying. That doesn’t leave you much space to get wordy, so you’re going to need to come up with a clever combination of words and/or images to communicate the benefits of whatever you’re peddling with nothing more than a glance.
- Include a call to action. You’d be amazed how many ads we get that don’t include this. If you want people to click through to your project to become a backer, you must tell or show them something that arouses their curiosity or otherwise equates to ‘click here and become a backer now’. That said, include only one call to action. Less is more. Concise content is key. You can reel ‘em in to those over-funding goals after they’ve clicked through to your Kickstarter page (or by refreshing your ad after it’s funded).
- Avoid clutter. The more “white space” you leave around your call to action, the more prominent it will be. Clutter that call to action up with other text and graphics and watch your message (and click-through rate) get totally lost in the noise.
- Use complimentary and contrasting colors. This will be specific to the site you choose, but as an example, our site is yellow. Using a muted background color for your ad that is on the opposite side of the color wheel from yellow will make your ad stand out from our page. That’s a good thing. Sometimes on brightly colored sites, using little color at all (or even white) is actually better than trying to out-bold the already bold colors that your ad is competing with for attention. That covers the basic ad, but what about your call to action? Using a bold color that contrasts with the background color of your ad for your call to action will make that stand out even further. (Example: Let’s say you choose a muted shade of aqua for your ad background on our yellow site; a bold orange would be an excellent choice for your call to action.)
- Be aware of your surroundings On our site, it’s a bad idea to use yellow in your ad because it will just look like a hole in the page. The cognitive disconnect will convey “something is broken” when people see it at first glance. Watch for this kind of thing where you advertise. If their primary color is purple, or grey, or whatever – try and avoid it as you want to pop out, not blend in.
- Include a Kickstarter button showing that your project is available now and when it ends so that potential backers will instantly have the sense of urgency associated with Kickstarter projects.
A/B Testing is a great way to maximize your marketing dollars. The concept is simple: develop two ads that are similar except for one or two variations that might impact a backer’s behavior and ultimate click-through. If it’s within your budget, run two versions simultaneously for a week to see which one does better, then run the one that achieved the better conversion the remainder of your available time.
Last but not least, let’s talk about your (ahem!) assets. You as a project owner have invested all this time and effort into coming up with a great idea, and you’re taking the time to pull a Kickstarter campaign together. Maybe you’ve invested in artists to create logos or photographers to create product images. Perhaps you’ve hired a web developer to make fancy website. That’s all awesome. But if you haven’t thought about creating the appropriate assets to get people to click on an advertisement (on your site or ours), you’re going to have a bad time when it comes to creating a successful ad campaign.
If you’re paying a professional to help develop and promote your brand, be sure you end up with assets like high quality digital images and vector logos to use (rather than rasterized images, which quickly become pixelated when they’re being resized for your ads). Sometimes for a small fee in addition to what you’re already paying them, they can come up with example ads that you can easily repurpose based on your brand message and topical focus.
Having a brand message to tie your whole campaign together is vital. Even (especially?) small campaigns need a core brand message that quickly gets to the point of why their product or project is relevant and important to backers.
Your ad is going to get one glance from a prospective backer. Make it count.