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(iMedia Connection) - In online advertising’s infancy, many publishers ran what we now call “native ad formats.” At the time, “ad format” referred solely to dimensions, as ads were either GIFs or JPGs. As publishers multiplied, the number of formats increased, and ad agencies started crying foul. They couldn’t keep up with creating the seemingly countless sizes needed for a diverse, wide-reaching media plan.
Along came the IAB and, with it, widespread adoption of new ad standards like the 728×90, 300×250, and 160×600. “Hooray,” said the agencies. “Now we can just create one size, and run it everywhere!” For a short while, agencies could handle creating ads for media plans including many different sites, and things were good.
Standardization killed creativity
It wasn’t long before the world started to change around us. Flash became the standard animation tool. The internet became faster. Smooth, high-quality video arrived, and clients demanded it. Wires were dismissed. The mobile web became a reality. Smartphones, tablets, myriad media fragmentation, and an ever-evolving digital landscape all became standard.
Through it all, the advertising palette remained relatively unchanged. Those standards that proved so liberating more than a decade ago became handcuffs for the creative thinkers in our industry.
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