Political Campaign: Engaging Creative for Your Campaign Ads

by The Campaign Workshop

Don't be boring written out in yellow on a blue background

Developing Eye-Catching Digital Creative for Your Political Campaign That Engages Your Audience

When was the last time you saw something particularly eye-catching in a political campaign ad online? We spend so much of our time online these days – for work and for play – and digital ads are everywhere we look, so it’s easy for your political campaign’s creative to get lost in the shuffle.

Think about how you spend your time online and what digital ads you might notice. You go to look at shoes for your child, but you don’t complete the purchase. Do you notice those shoes appearing in ads on nearly every website you visit afterward? You log onto Facebook to check in with what your friends are up to. How often do you end up scrolling past a few different video ads for a variety of campaigns and causes. There is so much content online these days competing for people’s attention, which is why it’s more important than ever to be creative when developing digital content for your political campaign. Whether your goal is visibility or sign-ups, good design is key to breaking through the noise.

When you’re reading an article online or searching for something on Google, there is a lot of content competing for your attention. Many digital ads will go unnoticed by the average reader. To break through the noise, it’s important to have an ad that pops out to the reader.

Creating political display ads that capture attention and engage the audience can be accomplished with the design and/or the movement of the ad. Display ads have very little real estate to get your message across, so keeping the text clean and simple and giving a clear call to action can help draw attention. Since digital ads come in a variety of sizes, make each size work to your advantage. If you’re running ads on mobile devices, you may not be able to fit a headline and a beautiful photo of a candidate, but you can grab attention by using a one- or two-word call to action. Using a little animation in the ad can also go a long way to drawing the reader’s eye and getting engagement. Be sure to think of the design from the user’s point of view: what do you want them to grasp from your political campaign ad? How do you want them to engage in your ads?

Search ads are an integral part of any political campaign’s digital strategy. Many people turn to search engines to get information about elections and candidates, so having your ads feature prominently is key to driving engagement. Attention-grabbing headlines will help viewers notice your ads. In addition, taking advantage of extensions (site link, call out, and price extensions) on Google can help your ad take up more real estate in the search results page, and increase the likelihood that someone will click on one of your links.

Video ads can be very engaging online. They are a great way to tell a story about your political campaign. With the scrolling nature of digital platforms, it’s important to cut to the chase quickly and concisely in your video ad. Within the first 5 seconds, you should have the main takeaway of the ad, the call to action, and your campaign’s branding/candidate’s name included. This can seem overwhelming but can be accomplished both visually and verbally. Straight to camera videos tend to engage the audience more than overly stylistic videos. You can also take advantage of the fact that lower quality videos shot with a smartphone feel a lot more organic than higher quality ads that would run on TV. Another important aspect of a video ad is making sure it conveys your campaign’s message with and without sound.

Quick Tips: Below is a summary of quick tips that will help you create engaging digital creative for your political campaign

  • Use color to drive the eye. A simple change of color saturation in a static ad may help increase conversions.
  • Keep the design simple and think through the ad from the audience’s point of view.
  • Think mobile first. Most folks are looking at your ads on a mobile device so think about how the ad will play on mobile first.
  • For video, put the kicker at the beginning to engage early on, and make sure the message of the ad is clear with and without sound.
  • Try a mix of video and static content with the same message. We love video ads, but a mix of video and static may get you more engagement than just video alone, and over allows you to test different creative tactics and different messaging. Including a mix of static and video in your digital strategy is a smart move.
  • Think about the call to action. Always make sure your CTA is clear and easy to understand.
  • Did we say test? Trying out different types of ads online, different messages, different calls to action, and different images and colors allows you to see what best helps you achieve your goals.

The next time something catches your eye online, take note of it. Take a screen shot or save a link to ads that succeed in breaking through the clutter. This can become a resource for creative ideas when you’re working on the next digital program for your political campaign. Check out more tips for your political campaign here.