When developing ads, there are a lot of moving pieces to keep track of. Every advertiser has their own process, but there are certain standards that ring true for everyone. So even though there are dozens of guides out there, we thought we’d throw our hat in the ring as well. We know that the creative process is not a one-size-fits-all kind of ordeal, but here are our five best practices that we think every creator can benefit from:

1. Timing is Everything

We live in a hyper-mediated world in which trends and news cycles are changing and evolving at a rapid pace. It’s hard to keep up with what’s relevant when there’s a new trend on TikTok that’s breaking the internet just about every day. Every advertiser’s dream is to have lightning strike and go viral, but in order to do that it’s important to understand what is relevant. We are so inundated with media that it’s important to stay on top of it all and find those nuggets of gold buried within all the content. Therefore, advertisers are going to need to place an emphasis on research and staying up to date with new tech, new industry happenings, and new trends. To do so, you can download the apps that are most used by your audience to keep up with what’s relevant. You can also subscribe to and follow your competitors on their social channels in order to learn from them and remain competitive in the market. With the perfect timing, creators can develop advertising that is personally relevant to their audience and successfully capture their attention.

2.  The Power of Emotion

It’s fair to say, things are a little crazy right now (the understatement of the century!), dealing with the stressors of politics, the economy, and life in general—emotions are at an all time high. Tapping into those emotions may be the key to success in advertising. As people, our emotions are some of the strongest influences on our decision-making process, so being empathetic is more important than ever. What separates a good ad from a great ad is an emotional punch. Advertisers should strive for deeper emotional connection through advertising to show our audience that we care and engage with them in a way that feels personal. With every ad that you create, it’s imperative to ask yourself what emotion you are trying to evoke and let that guide your decision-making process. It’s important to connect with and support your audience so that they in turn will support you.

3. It’s All in the Visuals

We live in a world all about visuals; words are one thing, but images and videos are an entirely different beast! In our social media age, aesthetics reign supreme—advertising campaigns need to be well-curated and aesthetically pleasing. Our visuals are the halting factor, in the sense that it’s the part of the ad that will get our audiences to stop and engage with our content. So take risks when it comes to your visuals. Perform A/B testing by trying out different videos and images to see what works best for your audience. And don’t shy away from new technology—there’s a plethora of AI programs that can take your visuals to the next level (DALL-E 2, Midjourney, and Lensa, just to name a few).

4. Your Audience is Watching

Just like actors on a stage, as advertisers, we are putting our work on display for a watching audience. The only difference is that instead of memorizing lines, we’re writing the entire script. Keeping your audience in mind is one of, if not the most important part of making ads. From beginning to end of the creative process, you should have your audience in mind. In order to most effectively target your audience, you need to get into the mindset of that audience and understand who they are, what they want, and why they like your product. Then, based on that information, you can create an ad that feels more personal to your audience, truly gripping them right from the start.

5. Be a Storyteller

Ads should feel like a good book that you can’t put down. Nowadays, there is so much content available online that it’s almost overstimulating. Therefore, a good ad needs to break through the noise and really grab the audience’s attention—and that’s where storytelling comes in. Storytelling allows creatives to show and not tell, to draw in their audience and capture their attention even just for a little while. The ingredients for good storytelling have already been laid out for you: a pinch of good timing, a heaping scoop of emotions, a heavy dose of visuals, and a solid understanding of your audience. By combining these elements together, advertisers will have the perfect recipe for a successful ad.

We hope that these best practices will help you in your creative process. Remember that timing is everything, and staying on top of what is relevant will only benefit you in the long run. Emotions are powerful, and harnessing them in advertising campaigns will allow for deeper connections with our audiences. It’s all in the visuals, which are more important than ever to the success of ads in an aesthetic-driven time. Your audience is watching, so getting into their mindset will lead to more effective targeting. Be a storyteller, truly engage the audience and take them into the world of your brand.