10 Best Practices For Engaging ABM Ads [6sense]

Nikki Gloudeman
Nikki Gloudeman Posts: 66 6senser
edited May 28 in Inspire 23

Hey, @Nikki Gloudeman from the 6sense Ad Ops team at 6sense here. 

Here’s a rundown of my talk from Inspire UK on 10 creative best practices to unlock engaging ABM ads (plus a bonus tip). 

1. Choose the Right Ad Sizes

Choose the right ad sizes to achieve both sizable reach and strong engagement. For example, the popular long skinny ads (160 x 600) usually show low engagement. And while 320 x 480 or 1024 x 768 can perform well, they often lack reach due to limited placement options. 

If you're strapped for bandwidth (who isn’t!), we’d recommend focusing on the following ad sizes: 300 x 250, 320 x 50, 728 x 90, and 300 x 600.

2. Always be A/B testing! 

A/B test different ad creatives to identify winning variations and improve engagement over time. To increase CTR, set up at least two distinct ad groups with one isolated creative variable and test them against each other. 

Once you reach around 50,000 impressions for each ad group, deactivate the losing ad group and iterate on the winning ads.

3. Keep Your Copy Short

If you take away one thing from these recommendations: Don't exceed ten words max for heading copy or 15 words max for heading and subheading copy combined. Cut any text that isn’t essential!

4. Emphasize Your Value Prop

Along with keeping ad copy short, a clear focus on what you’re offering and why it’s valuable is crucial. Where applicable, use stats and social proof to back up your value.

5. Spark Curiosity & Excitement

In B2B, you don't want to be too dry. This can be tough because sometimes these products are very technical. Aim to spark curiosity and excitement using power verbs, second person, and a sense of urgency.

6. Color is Your Friend – Use it!

Using bold colors and strong color contrasts can help make ads stand out and grab attention. With visuals, the best lever you have to pull is color. This isn't the time for gray, beige, tan or white – embrace bold colors.

7. Choose Compelling Photos

If using photos, make sure there’s a clear, single focus and an editorial quality. A photo of a person staring directly at the camera with a relaxed and friendly expression often works really well. Candid photos of people with relaxed expressions beat cheesy, posed photos. Also avoid screenshots or visuals that could present readability issues.

8. Consider Hierarchy & Composition

Establish a clear hierarchy of importance and make sure your composition is balanced and comfortable. Too small copy, or too much white space between visual elements leaves ads looking imbalanced.

9. CTA copy

Keep CTAs short – don’t exceed two to three words. Cut extraneous words like “the” or “a.” Work back from the landing page and keep it simple – tell the audience what it is. Examples of strong CTAs include: Learn More, Learn How, Find Out Why, See How, Watch Now, Download Now. 

10. Choose the Right CTA Visual Approach

Use appropriate sizing, compelling colors, and visual cues to make your CTA stand out on your ad. 

11. Bonus tip: Tailor ad creative to campaign objectives and audiences

Consider campaign objectives, audience, buying stage, and regional targeting when developing ad creatives. There should be a thoughtful dialogue around the purpose of each campaign and how it influences the creative process.

I’d love to hear how you’re approaching your ad creative. Any questions let me know!

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  • lumaexclaimer
    lumaexclaimer Posts: 3 ✭✭

    @Nikki Gloudeman what's the best setup for a creative A/B Test? Can you point me to any resource to read more? It's unclear to me how to control ad group in the campaign set up… Thank you!

  • Nikki Gloudeman

    Hi @lumaexclaimer great question! Here's how we recommend running A/B tests (not the only way to do it, of course, but we've found it to be effective):
    —Launch with 2 distinct ad groups featuring 1 isolated creative variable. eg the ad groups have the same visual approach but different copy.
    —Once the ad groups have reached approx. 50K impressions, deactivate the lowest-CTR ad group and iterate on the highest-CTR ad group. eg take the winning copy and pair it with a new visual approach.
    —This process can be repeated over time to test different elements, learn, and drive up CTR.

    Slide 24 of our Ad Creatives 101 best practices deck dives more into this. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • lumaexclaimer
    lumaexclaimer Posts: 3 ✭✭

    Interesting! It's my experience that when we launch ad groups that have the same visual approach but different copy the results for each ad group are virtually the same! It's very hard to take a any conclusions, it's like the copy variations make no difference. Thanks for deck!

  • Nikki Gloudeman
    • Hi @lumaexclaimer that's a great point and certainly, similar performance can and does happen! A few things to keep in mind with this:

      —Copy testing often works best when the messaging approaches are quite different (vs, say, swapping in a different verb—though this can lead to different and revealing results too). For instance, trying stat-driven copy vs copy that highlights a testimonial. Or highlighting totally different features of a new product.
    • —If you see similar results, you can also dig a little deeper by comparing by ad size. We sometimes see, for instance, that one copy approach works better on leaderboards, and the other copy approach works better on non-leaderboards. The aggregate ad group CTR will look the same, but there are differences when you look deeper.

    • —If all still looks the same…this is interesting intel too! If both ad groups have very healthy CTR, it indicates that both messaging approaches are strong. If both ad groups are struggling, it indicates it might be worth trying something totally new with the copy to try to move the needle.

    Hope that helps. Love A/B testing, so feel free to keep the questions coming :)

  • Navinkumar Veeramani

    @Nikki Gloudeman Thank you for the deck. It's exactly what I was looking for.

  • Alex Pinto
    Alex Pinto Posts: 9 ✭✭✭

    @marcusmauer — check this out