It's easy to hate on online ads. Most of them are pretty awful. They can be interruptive, distracting, poorly designed, completely untargeted, or any sort of combination of the above.
But thankfully, not all online ads are bad. In fact, there are some pretty creative ads out there that have not only gotten people to click, but also seek out the ads on their own.
If you're buying any sort of advertising, you want your ads to be the creative, memorable type. To do that, you'll need to make your ads relevant, interesting, and compelling.
First step to creating awesome ads? See some great examples. So check out the following banner ads, Facebook ads, Twitter ads, and LinkedIn ads, and learn why they're just so awesome.
13 Times We Actually Enjoyed Online Ads
Pringles accomplished quite a feat with their "Can Hands" endless banner. They get people to click on it once ... and then again and again and again. The banner takes 97 clicks to make it to the end, and all that changes when you click through is the copy on the screen. It's conversational, it's funny, it's intriguing, and best of all, it's simple.
2) Australian Defense Force
Here's one for those of you who enjoy a good Easter egg. Australian Defense Force's banner ad poses a challenge to the reader: Find the rest of the advertisement hidden in the source code. Want to try it yourself? Go to this website and see if you can figure it out.
Hint: If you're using Chrome, right-click anywhere on that page and choose "Inspect Element."
Give up? Here's what the hidden message looks like. Talk about a clever call-to-action for job seekers.
In an effort to recruit people showing interest in Boeing, the company placed animated infographic-type ads on the sides of its own LinkedIn Company Page. The message was simple: Two compelling statistics about the company followed by a call-to-action to "Go Further" and "Dream Bigger."
Here's what the advertisement looked like, broken up by frames:
And here's what it looks like on the LinkedIn page:
By placing this interactive ad right next to their LinkedIn Company Page, Boeing was able to catch the attention of people who would already be interested in joining the team.
4) Dollar Shave Club
You don't need a huge budget to run an awesome ad campaign. Dollar Shave Club continues to prove this time and time again with their simple, fun Facebook ads that combine a simple picture or graphic with brief copy.
Check out the image in this one -- it looks like someone's Instagram:
And this one, which the company ran on Facebook in December 2014 leading up to the holidays, features a two-tone graphic with simple, clever copy:
On the other hand, for companies that do work with higher budgets, there's some pretty crazy cool stuff you can do. Take Audi's "Curves" ad, created by Almap BBDO, for instance. It lets you drive the car in its ad -- and moves all the content in your browser with every turn, as if it's succumbing to the forces of gravity. (Casual.)
Try it yourself, or take a look at the screenshots below, where you can see how the words and graphics on the screen move left as I turn the wheel right:
6) Marie Callender
A research study by AdKeeper found that 31% of people only want to click ads when they’re in the mood or interested in looking at them. Restaurant and bakery chain Marie Callender captured this market by creating dynamic, programmatic ads for their delicious pot pies that targeted people checking Weather.com when it was raining, snowing, or freezing. Their playful copy and designs put warm pie on the minds of consumers when they might want it the most.
Here's a screenshot of what two of them looked like:
What's one way to delight people with an advertisement? Turn it into a beer voucher, of course. The folks at Anheuser-Busch paired up with agency AKQA to create Facebook ads targeting millennials that would encourage them to try Budweiser products.
The result was their "Bud Light Birthday" and "Buds for Buds" campaigns, both of which allowed Facebook users to send a beer voucher to of-age friends. When a user clicked on the ad, they were taken to an online form where they filled out their friend's information.
Image Credit: USA Today
The person receiving the voucher was then targeted with Facebook ads they could click through to redeem the offer. Then, once they went to a bar, all they'd have to do is show their phone with the link pulled up (along with a valid ID), and they'd get a free Budweiser or Bud Light beer.
Image Credit: Mobile Commerce Daily
The campaign was hugely successful, resulting in the receivers of the vouchers spending 3X the value of that one beer on average when redeeming the voucher at their bar, as well as a 7X industry average purchase conversion rate.
8) The Sufferfest
Bold images and concise sentences are one way to get your audience's attention, especially if your message is meant to instill a sense of urgency. It certainly worked for The Sufferfest, a video training company for dedicated cyclists. They partnered with a local agency One Small Step Collection to create bold, intense graphics for their App Install Twitter Cards.
Using Twitter Cards' username targeting to reach hardcore cyclists, Sufferfest's ad has sharp, direct copy, and features extra text on top of the Twitter ads image to hit home its main points.
Image Credit: Twitter
9) Amnesty International
Here's another fun, interactive banner ad -- this time from the folks at Amnesty International. In their effort to recruit writers to their team, they displayed banner ads asking people to play hangman. The resulting phrases were things like "Words Save Lives," as shown in the example below, followed by a call-to-action to become not just a writer, but a freedom writer. We love their use of a font that looks like handwriting, and the black-and-white design that resembles pencil on paper.
10) Assembly Row
Relevance is critical for an advertisement's success. After all, you're spending money when someone views or clicks on your ad. And the folks at Assembly Row, who sell office space close to Boston, sure know how to target a relevant audience.
Using Facebook's build-in targeting, they designed and launched an advertisement geared entirely toward people who work at HubSpot, encouraging us to join their office space. They cleverly incorporated our company name, logo, and signature orange color into their ad design. Check it out:
11) Extra Life
Here's a great advertisement that shows how compelling copy can go a long way. Extra Life, an annual game marathon that raises money for hospitals treating children with life-threatening illnesses, created this display ad campaign under the slogan "Everyone is a hero." The ads themselves had iterations of this copy, like the one below that says, simply, "Be a Hero. Play games to raise money for local kids." We love how easy-to-understand that call-to-action copy is.
When you click on the logo, it takes you to a form where you can sign up and join a team. Then, it offers the chance for you to post your personal fundraising page to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and more. Smart marketing, through and through.
Image Credit: GaymerX
When it comes to sponsored posts on LinkedIn and Facebook, you can't just let the image, title, or description speak for itself and expect people to click through. The best updates include a bit of personalized copy in the status itself to accompany the link.
Check out the Sponsored Update from Intuit, which specifically targets professionals at small companies. They made their audience clear from the get-go: "Listen up female entrepreneurs, this one's for you!" Personalized copy like this helps drive clicks because readers feel like the content's really catered toward them.
Image Credit: LinkedIn
Last but not least is this clever, interactive sidebar ad from ADIDAS. When you first see the ad, it shows a black pen drawing a line from right to left, followed by a little runner that jogs the length of the line. Then, the pen goes still -- until the user realizes he or she can use it to draw more terrain along which the runner can jog. Try it out for yourself and watch buildings, vehicles, and vegetation pop up and add to the scenery.
What are some of your favorite online ads? Share them with us in the comment section.