How to Design Your Ads So Prospects Read Them



If you’ve been paying attention lately, you’ve likely discovered that marketers like us are trying to make ads look less like traditional ads. Now, why would we be doing this? Because we know our ads will be far more effective if they look more like content!

Here are some popular (and effective) ways to make your advertising look more like your editorial content.


Native Advertising

Ads that purposely look like your other content are very effective. Prospects are likely to click on it because they think it’s editorial and not an ad. There’s a fine line here though. No one likes to feel tricked. And, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has weighed in on this stating, “advertisements and promotional messages that promote the benefits and attributes of goods and services should be identifiable as advertising to consumers.” So, while this is a very effective tactic, use it wisely.

Influencer Marketing

It likely comes as no surprise that celebrity endorsements are hugely effective. And today you don’t have to be famous in the traditional sense to be an influencer. Influencers are also people who have created a following entirely through their online activity.

There once was a time when influencers weren’t required to make it known that they were getting compensated to promote a brand. Not so anymore. The FTC issued guidelines (and threatened penalties) that require upfront disclosure. So, while using influencers is smart, do so properly.

Sponsored Editorial Content

Sponsored editorial content can be very effective if not the most powerful of all content related advertising.  Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, provide the perfect platform to not only place sponsored content but also micro-target.  Using the micro-targeting tools provided by Facebook and LinkedIn will place your sponsored content on the targeted audiences page – a winning strategy if the content is written to meet the needs of the intended audience.

Social Media Advertising

Social media platforms are following the trend, and they too have made it harder for prospects to determine what is an ad and what is editorial. Each platform uses a faint “sponsored” or “promoted” disclaimer to meet FTC requirements. Even Google has gradually blurred the line between paid ads and organic ads – no longer flagging ads with a large “ad” box as it did in its early inception.

The point isn’t that we want to trick prospects. The point is that we want to deliver ads they actually want to read. It just so happens the more an ad looks like editorial, the more likely a prospect is to click on it. And, engagement is what we are going for. So, try to make your ads look more like your editorial content (legally and ethically) and you should start seeing higher ad engagement and more sales.