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5 Key Elements of a Successful Ad

There is a formula to creating a successful ad that resonates with your audience.
Caitlyn Blair

5 Key Characteristics of Effective Advertising

As a concept, advertising has been around since as early as the 16th century, or even earlier if you go back to ancient Egypt. While ads back in those days might have been written on papyrus, advertising today comes in many forms and reaches beyond paper.

The field of advertising is now held to a higher standard, as it should be (after all, we’ve had around 5000 years to hone the craft). Maybe you are creating an advertising campaign for your business, or maybe you just want to launch a single ad to get the ball rolling. Either way, you will want to keep a few key elements in mind. Here are the five core elements of a successful ad:

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1. A Clearly Defined Target Audience

In order to create a successful ad, you need to know who you are speaking to, and ultimately, who you are selling to. As the old saying goes, “If you’re selling to everyone, you’re selling to no one.” You need to establish your target audience if you want to be able to speak to them successfully.

A target audience is a specific group of individuals with similar qualities who are likely to be interested in your product or service. The simplest way to define your target audience is to identify their demographic. Examples of common demographics include:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Profession
  • Income
  • Education level
  • Marital status

Part of understanding your target audience is also understanding where the ad might be placed. Will it be a Facebook ad, a traditional medium like video or print, or will the campaign be focused on other social media platforms?

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2. Value Proposition - Whats In It For Them

Value propositions are typically displayed on home pages and product pages, but any effective ad will communicate it indirectly. Your business’s value proposition defines your competitive edge. A value proposition should be short and sweet; it is simply meant to help potential clients understand what you offer and why they should choose your business.

If this cannot be achieved in a few succinct words, then it might be time to re-evaluate your positioning.  Below are some examples of value propositions that hit the nail on the head. These businesses have clearly communicated what they offer: 

3. Quality Content and Design

No successful ad would be complete without design and copy that work together seamlessly. For every marketing campaign or advertisement you create, you want to make sure the ad copy and the visuals are aligned.

No matter what the goals of your advertisement might be, it is most important to connect with your target audience and make an impact on them. Your advertisement should serve to inform, persuade, and remind. Keep these three objectives in mind as you work to determine what top-notch content and design look like for your business.

4. The Call-to-Action (CTA)

Although a call-to-action should not be a part of every advertisement, it is extremely important in the ones that include it. The CTA is simply a prompt that directs your audience to take action. Common CTAs include “Sign up,” “Learn more,” and, “Buy now.”

Whether your ad is digital or a different medium, a unique URL or call to action will allow you to track your success. Set up a specific landing page for each campaign and follow the success in Google Analytics.

Without a strong CTA, your target audience might not understand what the next best steps are, even if they are interested in your products or services. A strong CTA that makes sense with the rest of your ad can be an effective way to gain customers, subscribers, likes, and shares. It can help you collect contact information, such as email addresses, and help you build a network to connect with for future advertisements and to make future sales.

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5. The Follow-Up

Your follow-up communications should feel fresh and new. One way to accomplish this is to take advantage of seasons and special offers you might be extending. If it seems like you are reaching out because of a new opportunity for your potential client, this will be much more appealing to them than advertisements that just serve to “check-in.”

Following up with your leads is a delicate art. You want to send your communications soon enough that you are still top of mind while leaving enough time in between to avoid being annoying. The way you follow up with your leads can make the difference between them ignoring you and engaging with your business in the future.

Each advertisement will have its own objective and therefore, different key components. Keeping the elements above in mind while you create your ad will help you stay focused on your audience and drive content that caters to them. Maintaining positive communications with your audience is the first step towards a long and successful customer relationship.


Advertising truly is an art. When you are able to combine the five elements above with your existing brand story, you will be able to connect and convert more effectively. 

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At Scorpion we use cutting-edge technology to get the most of your search and social advertising. We even use artificial intelligence to help you rank higher organically on search engines with SEO. The best part about it? We have the team to manage it for you so you can focus on your business. We have helped thousands of small business owners just like you get the most of online advertising. Get started with Scorpion.

Not ready to talk to someone yet, then check out this guide to online advertising.