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.