There’s no be-all and end-all formula and I’m not presenting any data here to back this up but here are some thoughts on what performs well in performance ad units.
Use a content image, not your brand logo
Performance advertising is not branding, content images perform better than brand images in almost all cases. Brand logos can work well if they are well recognised – in this case you could use a hybrid as shown above.
Don’t use other people’s logos – this can upset them – but see below “Mention a company in the news…”
What interests the user that you want to attract? Don’t sell your product, mention what is most interesting to the user that your product will help them with.
Ask a question?
Asking a simple question will provoke the relevant user. “Do you have enough to retire?”
Make it timely
Don’t keep the same adverts live for months – change the creative to relate to current issues – news, markets up/down, interest rates up/down, particular sectors on the rise/fall.
Mention a company in the news specifically
Is it time to buy XXXX shares? Mentioning companies in the news gets great results, timely issues also work – “Is oil going to stay this cheap?”
Don’t advertise to the young, advertise to the mature – they have more money
Much advertising is targeted at the young but Nielsen recently called the current over 50s “”the most valuable generation in the history of marketing” – read this article. The boomers have all the wealth, so tailor your creative and imagery towards them.
Context really does matter, don’t appear next to spam, clickbait or plain rubbish
Appearing next to rubbish makes you look rubbish, is bad for your brand and cheapens your message.
Avoid appearing next to rubbish, spam or click bait. Here are some choice examples appearing on mainstream networks at the moment – do you want to appear next to these?
People love lists – use listicles
People love (or love clicking on) 3 things to do, 5 things to buy, 9 ways to get something (you did!). Don’t just use listicles, you can over-do these.
Test different text with the same image and different images with the same text. Deactivate the worst performers quickly. Add new variations regularly.
Don’t betray the click
Give the user what you promised in the ad. Strictly speaking this doesn’t change the CTR but it may effect your future CTR and it will certainly have a bearing on conversion rates. For example, you clicked on this article to read “9 ways to get the best click through rate of any financial services ad ever” but I gave you ten – added value (!?) and your click was not betrayed.
Happy to answer questions, this is also posted on LinkedIn.