Digital advertising: static or moving image?

By Jon Raduch, Creative Director


There’s a lot of debate about the best format for digital advertising campaigns. Video is getting the all the limelight at the moment, but is it really the best format for every context? When is a static image a more effective choice?

The answer lies in which channel you publish your online ad. Social media platforms have different best practices to the Google Display Network. Across hundreds of digital campaigns we’ve created for our clients – for brands like Panasonic, Turkish Bread and American Express – we’ve had some great results for video, motion graphics ​and​ static ads across the main channels.

The current popularity of video

The rise of online video on social media has been huge. A recent ​Facebook study discovered that people engage five times longer with video than static content on their Facebook and Instagram mobile feeds. We’ve found the same in practice with a well-placed, engaging video or animation providing excellent creative cut-through on social media.

If you don’t have video, we can ‘cheat’ by using animation or motion graphics wizardry to engage the user and deliver the message.

If this all sounds great and you are ready to ditch the static ads and jump on the video train, hold on … not just yet.

When static images win out

Static ads, in fact, perform much better than video on the Google Display Network – the standard banner ads you see on public websites. The reason is that the content is delivered in a different time sequence to social. While on social you see the start of the video, on a scrolling website page, you may see it while scrolling often after the video has started.

As well as this, people don’t usually linger to watch ads while catching up on the news or the latest celebrity gossip. You’ll get better results by grabbing their attention quickly with an intriguing image and a compelling reason to click and find out more – something a static image does quicker than video can.

Your sales funnel assets

Once you’ve decided on the best channel and format, it’s time to create your sales funnel.

A typical digital advertising campaign has a set of three supporting assets:

  1. An intriguing ad.
  2. A relevant and engaging landing page.
  3. A call to action.

It’s important to plan the full customer journey and have each step link seamlessly. The image or video will be the first piece of content for your campaign (the click-bait), which leads to a unique campaign landing page to support the ad promise. We don’t recommend sending people straight to your home page from the ad, as this requires them to connect the dots. A well-designed landing page will continue the conversation from the ad, expand on the offer and set up the right call to action.

It’s all about performance and creative cut-through when developing a digital advertising campaign. We work with our clients to develop a creative brief and campaign goals. Then design and build the asset set and book the ad space.

Get in touch with our team if you’d like to find out more.

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