How the SMB/Local Advertising Community Can Avoid ‘Bad Ads’

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Image is everything in advertising — and that might be even more true for digital, where it’s almost too easy for consumers’ eyes to skim past ads. Believe it or not, image is also important to the software necessary for serving those ads, as failing to meet certain creative standards may actually prevent ads from ever reaching a consumer.

Google’s recent Better Ads Report reveals that the company disabled more than 780 million ads for violating its policies in 2015, due to clear-cut problems like phishing, malware and scams, as well as poor creative executions. Ads with creative that made false claims, tricked consumers into clicking, or disrupted the overall consumer experience were among the most commonly blocked.

Google’s report demonstrates that while digital is a great channel for reaching consumers, a positive experience is perhaps the most crucial component of a successful ad campaign, especially for advertisers using programmatic to buy and serve their ads. If there’s one big takeaway, it’s that ads can get blocked if they’re sub-par. For small businesses, it’s important to develop and use ads that will not get filtered out. Here are three tips for creative that won’t land local and SMB advertisers in a bad ads report:

Partner with an expert
While Google’s report is aimed at educating the market, it may raise alarms for SMB advertisers who are looking for a reason to avoid digital marketing. But it shouldn’t. While the digital landscape may appear overwhelming, the kind of help needed to get ads online – ads that pass the quality tests of large publishers – is often available from the advertising partners SMBs already trust. This includes local media companies like newspapers, radio, and cable operators, all of which can help an SMB with targeted online advertising campaigns that run on sites across the web, and even within mobile apps.

Avoid gimmicks
Everyone can remember the days of whack-a-mole style banners that enticed users to click via a phony in-banner game, or pop-unders that auto-played video from unseen windows. Thankfully, those days are over, as an influx of money from major brands has elevated online advertising.

The trouble is that people remember those ads, and the tactics still sound appealing — what’s better than getting a user to click through to your site, right? The truth is that these tricks are a major no-no. Advertising has to stand out because it offers the consumer something of value and demonstrates how your brand fits into their lives.

Rather than rely on gimmicky creative, instead leverage data-powered solutions that will deliver the ad to a targeted consumer segment. This increases the odds that the ad is matched to the right consumer, raising the likelihood of their interest.

Elevate your messaging
Many SMB advertisers share a feeling that their creative can never match the look or professionalism of larger companies, but that’s not the case. Achieving that level of creative doesn’t necessitate hiring an expensive agency either – once again, advertisers can often leverage localized solutions from their existing advertising providers.

And while it’s important for SMB advertisers to avoid gimmicks in their ads, that doesn’t mean they should settle for templated advertising. Custom creative will set your brand apart, so don’t be afraid of developing ideas that appeal to your local audience, or even two different creative approaches for two different customer segments. Digital advertising offers a wealth of options, so don’t be afraid to reach for the stars.

The kind of technology that differentiates online consumers based on anonymous data profiles and reaches them with the right advertisement across devices is no longer exclusive to the largest advertisers. When this tech is combined with eye-catching creative, it’s even easier for SMBs to stand out and possibly even compete with larger national companies. The key is to stay as high-minded as possible. If you develop creative concepts that speak to your brand and its value to consumers lives while avoiding gimmicks, then it’s almost impossible to land on a “bad ads” report.

Lynn_TornabeneLynn Tornabene is a pioneering digital marketer with deep experience in the mobile, internet, media, advertising and technology industries. As CMO of AffinityX, Lynn leads brand strategy, corporate communications and marketing, and is directly involved with all digital innovation as head of product strategy.