How to Create Attention-Grabbing Ads: 6 Practical Tips

Creating compelling, attention-grabbing ads for a paid campaign is a bit like running a marathon. It seems simple enough on the surface. Just a few hours of jogging over flat terrain, right?

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But anybody who has underestimated the rigors of a forty-two kilometer slog will be quick to correct you. Behind the scenes, runners have to embark on a strict schedule of practice, planning, and mental discipline.

Creating an ad campaign is no different. Marketers often assume they need to stick together a few images, type out a bit of copy, and write a halfway decent call-to-action. The reality, however, is that compelling ad campaigns take a lot of work. And successfully bringing together multiple disparate parts, from professional photography to a long-term testing infrastructure, often proves beyond the skill-sets of many companies.

In this post, we’re going to cover the main steps involved in crafting impactful, effective ads. By the end of it, you’ll have a proven framework for optimizing your own campaigns and consistently driving new leads.

1. Pick Which Content Formats You Will Use

As an advertiser, you have access to an array of different formats. Facebook, for example, offers photo, video, story, messenger, carousel, slideshow, and playable ads. That’s a lot of options.

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And even if you’ve decided on a particular format, there’s still the question of what type of content you will use. Let’s say, for example, that you want to create a video ad. So far, so good. But will you use user-generated testimonials, computer-generated motion graphics, or a professional studio production with actors, art direction, and a script?

It’s important to be clear about which formats and content types you will opt for right from the beginning of the campaign planning process. If you decide to go for more sophisticated options, like studio-produced videos, you will likely need to hire professional ad creatives. Whatever the case, don’t overlook this crucial initial stage.

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2. Write Compelling Headlines

You have a fraction of a second to grab a potential customer’s attention. Often, your headline provides your only opportunity to persuade a viewer to watch a video or scroll down to read more text.

There are many different strategies you can leverage to create effective headlines. But generally speaking, most are either news-worthy, unusual or novel, or highly benefit-focused. If you can combine two or even all three of these elements, then even better.

Always remember to focus on the customer and emphasize your value proposition when writing headlines. And keep in mind that headlines are one of the easiest parts of an ad to test. Even minor changes can dramatically boost an ad’s conversion rate.

3. Use Professional Images

Nothing shouts amateurism more than low-quality, off-topic graphics. Always ensure that you use professional photographs and images in your static ads. And remember that you don’t need to hire a photographer, although for some companies it might make sense to do so. Instead, you can take advantage of stock photography sites like Shutterstock, iStock and Getty Images.

Like headlines, images tend to have a big impact on an ad’s conversion rate, making it imperative to test different variations. You will sometimes find that images you assumed would do very well underperform, and vice versa. So experiment with graphic types and subject-matters that you wouldn’t normally consider.

4. Craft an Attractive Lead Magnet and CTA

A lead magnet is a free incentive that encourages potential customers to pass over their contact details, usually their name and email address. Once they’ve done this, you can then nurture them through your sales funnel with marketing tactics like email sequences and retargeting ads.

You should advertise your lead magnet prominently in your ad, especially in your final call-to-action. What you choose to offer a prospective customer is up to you and will likely depend on the specific needs and wants of your target market. Good examples of lead magnets include first-purchase discounts, eBooks, entry in a prize draw, and free trials.

5. Leverage Social Proof and Urgency

Social proof and urgency are two tactics that can boost your ads’ conversion rates. When crafting your ads, think about how you can intertwine elements that build social proof and urgency into your written or visual content.

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Social proof is evidence that your product, service, or brand is already popular. And as herd animals, we are more likely to follow established group behaviors. Showcasing testimonials, snippets from reviews, follower counts, mentions from celebrities, and so on, are all excellent ways of generating social proof.

You create urgency by telling customers that they only have a limited period of time to take advantage of an offer or purchase opportunity. This creates a fear of missing out and often incentivizes customers to buy. Consider offering time-sensitive discounts and one-off bonuses to evoke urgency in your customers.

6. Test, Test, and Test Some More

Testing lies at the heart of any effective ad strategy. It’s essential to create ad variations, run A/B and multivariate tests, and leverage platform tracking tools. You may even want to consider purchasing a third-party app that will build on the native analytics features of the networks and platforms you use.

Through testing, you will be able to pinpoint your highest-converting ads and create even better tests going forward.


Millions of companies are successfully leveraging ads to drive new leads and customers. By spending a little time learning about what makes attention-grabbing ads, you will put yourself in the best possible position to outperform your competitors, engage new clients, and grow your brand.

Now, time to start researching Facebook ad formats.

Interesting related article: “What is digital marketing?

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