Making creative for ads that sells.

Julia Baranska, Consultant at We Grow Startups,

Paid media is a high-speed train, and if you want to hop on board and win over your audience, you need creatives that shine. In this article, we will focus on the visual layer. We won't sugarcoat it, but we will make it simple. Dive in now, and if you need help, reach out!


Here’s a list of the essential ingredients for crafting effective creatives that grab attention and drive results.


  1. Bold & unexpected
  2. Key message upfront
  3. Consistent branding
  4. Adapted dimensions
  5. Mobile friendly
  6. Sound & captions
  7. Build trust
  8. Clear call to action
  9. Test & optimise

Wanna know more details? Read on.

1. Use bold visuals with unexpected twists

Craft visually striking content that captivates with bold colours, styles, and eye-catching imagery. Utilise movement, e.g. in GIFs, to grab attention. Elevate memorability by incorporating visual metaphors and unexpected elements, encouraging further sharing of your creatives.

2. Put important info upfront

People look at posts and ads for 1.7 seconds on average, according to research conducted by Meta. Come out with a bang and find a compelling hook to capture viewers' attention within the first second. Make sure that the key message is revealed quickly. You don’t want them to miss out, do you?

3. Ensure consistent branding

Your branding should be consistent - from fonts to colours to design elements. Make sure to include your logo in each creative. This consistency reinforces your brand's identity and helps with recognition.

4. Choose the right dimensions

Make sure your creatives are optimised for different placements and platforms. In-feed ads work best with a square 1:1 aspect ratio, while stories need a vertical 9:16 aspect ratio. We recommend both dimensions for Meta and a horizontal 16:9 ratio for YouTube.

5. Adapt for mobile

More users are on mobile devices, so it's crucial that text is easily readable on smaller screens and that the file is lightweight for a quick load. Well-designed ads use safe space to ensure no elements are hidden by buttons and text, placed in slightly different places on each platform.

6. Blend engaging sound and captions

Some people will see your ads with sound on, while others without. Ensure that there is nice, inspiring background music that helps to convey your story. At the same time, use captions for people who are watching with their sound off.

7. Incorporate trust cues

Any third-party endorsements, such as PR articles and customer testimonials, are a great way to enhance credibility. Utilise social proof to establish trust, and consider incorporating recognisable elements like the Trustpilot rating logo for added assurance.

8. Don't forget the call to action

End your ad with a clear, compelling call to action. It tells your audience what to do next – "Sign up now," "Learn more," "Shop today." Make the path to action smooth.

9. Test different ideas

And finally… have fun and test as much as possible! This way, you’ll discover what creative choices drive the best results for your brand. Dive into diverse techniques and theories, perhaps colour psychology works among your target audience.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you create ad creative which really works, then get in touch!

Part 2 of the guide will dive into messaging best practice, so stay tuned!