Welcome to Copyboost. You'll find my latest rants on what's wrong with digital advertising and how copywriters can help change it. Plus, it includes Best Practices and other tips for creating better online ads.
February 8th, 2010  Posted at   Copywriting Tips
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As a creative director, I’ve interviewed many creatives applying for jobs where the main responsibility is concepting and producing great digital ads.  One of the questions I always ask is what is the last ad you’ve clicked on?  The overwhelming answer is “None”.  I’ll follow up with, what’s the last ad banner you’ve noticed?  Usually there is a very long pause and often the answer is, “I don’t know.”

Simply paying attention to the ads you see is the best way to become better at creating them.

I find this amazing that people applying for the job to create online ads can’t be bothered to even notice what ads are out there.  I realize, there are a lot of bad ads out there, however, there are some good ads, too.  You just have to actually pay attention.   And that is among the best and easiest advice I give to anyone who wants to create better ads.

Next time you’re on a page (unlike this one) with banner ads, notice which ones get your attention. Which ones did you totally miss unless you forced yourself to go back and look?  Which ones did you consider clicking on? Get into the habit of doing this.  There’s even free software out there that allows you to download the cool flash ads you think are particularly worthy.  Eventually you’ll see some trends in the ones you notice.  And that will put you in a much better position for creating ads than 99% of the other people out there that claim they never even notice them.

February 4th, 2010  Posted at   What Mistakes Creatives Are Still Making
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With all the data that is out there about how digital ads perform, has anyone actually used any of that information to create better ads?  Apparently not. Back in 2005, CNET did a landmark study identifying the best approaches to online advertising.  Yet five years later, virtually all the ads are still making these same mistakes. Maybe that’s why so few people even notice them.  Buck the trend.  Learn from the past, Grasshopper, and don’t make these same mistakes.

Here are the 7 mistakes advertisers/creatives make in a nutshell.

1. They are too complex.  In short: Keep it simple.

2. They take too long to get to the point. No build ups.

3. They are ambiguous. Advertising effectiveness and uncertainty are usually mutually exclusive.

4. They are visually bland — or, worse, ugly.

5. They use Flash for the sake of Flash — not for a clear purpose.

6. They are often difficult, if not impossible, to read.

7. They are bereft of benefit statements.

The entire article by Philip Sawyer, appears in Ad Age and it’s definitely worth checking out.