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Stop the Scroll: 7 Proven Techniques for Creating Thumb-Stopping Ads

Wondering how to halt scrolling and attain the click-through rates?

Capturing the attention of users across Meta and TikTok with thumb-stopping ads is an art in itself that only a few brands have perfected. In today’s fast-paced digital environment where attention spans are fleeting, brands must strive to cut through the clutter, while also captivating user attention, and compelling them to click on Ads that result in conversions.

In this article, our social media team has put together some crucial techniques for creating an ad capable of catching attention and stopping thumbs in their tracks. These techniques are also applicable to YouTube, Meta, and TikTok Ads. 

TL;DR: 7 Proven Techniques for Creating Thumb-Stopping Ads

  • Go big and bold: Utilize strong colors, different contrast, striking visuals, and various font sizes to make a statement with your ad. 
  • Simple works too: Avoid unnecessary distractions in your ad copy. Keep it simple, clean, and to the point.
  • Creative copywriting and storytelling: Connect with your audience on an emotional level with engaging copywriting and a compelling narrative. 
  • Include human element: Humans like to see other humans. Humanize your ad copy by incorporating people in the visuals or the audio. 
  • Irresistible offers prompts: Offer something valuable, from a unique discount to a complimentary gift, to stop users scrolling by. 
  • Think outside the box: Different is good! From trying out new formats like short-form videos and carousels to changing the placement of visuals and CTAs. 
  • Make it easy for users to act upon: Have a straightforward path once that user clicks through on the ad, don’t lead them down a rabbit hole of navigation and unnecessary web pages. Be to the point.

The techniques

For ads to truly stop the scroll and be successful, you need to hit a home run on all three essential targets.

  • Grab attention, 
  • Resonate with the target audience
  • Drive desired actions

Implement these techniques below to craft a mesmerizing ad that tackles all three desired targets effectively.

1. Go big and bold

You only have a few seconds to grab the attention, so go big, be bold and make a statement with your ads. Unconventional and creative approaches can set an ad apart from the usual content in a feed. Pinpoint a standout feature in your ad, whether it’s an eye-catching visual, compelling copywriting, or an irresistible call to action (CTA) (or maybe all!). 

Focus on the visual appeal; Apply attractive colors, high contrast, captivating visuals, and different-sized fonts (but make sure they align with your branding). Utilize attention-grabbing headlines and snappy CTAs to make your ad copy messaging undeniable. Don’t limit yourself to just there! Integrate interactive elements, particularly effective for gaming app ads, such as polls, quizzes, or playable ads. These additions can encourage engagement and extend the time users spend with the content, which is always a plus. 

Remember, you want your ads to be memorable and attention-grabbing, so don’t be afraid to go big and bold

2. Simple works too

Contrary to the above point, sometimes, the simplest of ads have the power to grasp attention. Too much clutter and noise can actually overwhelm your audience and turn them away.

To keep your ads simple, focus on using one or two key elements in your visuals. Let your message stand out without being obscured by unnecessary distractions. Employing concise and straightforward copywriting coupled with a clear CTA is crucial for simplicity, so users understand the main message without having to decode complex information. Clearly communicate to your audience what you want them to do, whether it’s visiting your website, making a purchase, or signing up for a newsletter. This approach towards simplicity will make it easy for them to take action, ultimately boosting conversion potential. 

Keep in mind, that the aim is to create ads that leave a lasting impression and capture attention, so feel free to opt for a straightforward simplicity approach. 

3. Creative copywriting and storytelling

Connect with users’ emotions and experiences by utilizing creative copywriting and storytelling skills in your ad copy. Evoke feelings of excitement, desire, or nostalgia with storytelling techniques like humor, relatability, or inspiration, to make your ad stand out with special and impactful narratives.

Crafting messaging for your ad copy requires some thought. Firstly, you need to clear understanding of your target audience, and how they would respond to certain copywriting approaches. For example, an insurance firm would use a serious tone with informative content, whereas a Pet store would entail a humorous tone in a more casual format. 

The importance of writing headlines cannot be overstated, as they are the initial message a user encounters upon landing on the ad. Draw the audience in from the start, keep it short and sweet, and employ hooks that are straight to the point.

Don’t forget to ensure that the copywriting maintains consistency with your brand voice and style across all channels where your ads are displayed. Align your copy with the personality and values of your brand for a cohesive and unified communication approach.

Effective storytelling on an ad’s copy is an excellent way to compel users to click through and feel something. Storytelling can be used to tell a story, e.g. If your ad is about a product or service that addresses people’s problems, storytelling can showcase its value and effectiveness in solving that problem, which can hold the viewer’s attention.

4. The human element

People naturally gravitate towards seeing other people, so it’s a good idea to incorporate a human element in your ads. This can be done in a multitude of ways, for example; featuring individuals wearing the product in the ad allows users to visualize themselves in it or utilizing before and after visuals to showcase the positive impact the service can have on said user.

The human touch doesn’t necessarily require a person to physically appear in the ad image; It can be achieved in a more subtle manner, such as incorporating a human voice in the background. This approach is particularly effective in the context of short-form video ads, as seen on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. By infusing a human element, even if not visibly present, you can evoke a sense of connection and relatability, enhancing the overall impact of your advertisement. 

Take note; incorporating a human element into your ad makes it more relatable and persuasive to the users 

5. Irresistible offers prompts

This technique taps into the power of impulsive behavior and purchasing tendencies. When your audience sees an enticing offer in an ad, it triggers a spontaneous and instinctive reaction (especially if the offer includes something the user needs). Give the user a benefit for clicking on your ad. From unique discounts to a complimentary gift, offering something valuable is a key strategy to drive clicks.

There are various ways to highlight an irresistible offer in ads, from leveraging striking visuals to smart copywriting and a strong CTA (See above techniques).

To further enhance the allure of the offer, employ the use of scarcity and urgency tactics. Leveraging fear of missing out (FOMO) and limited-time promotions creates a sense of urgency and encourages immediate action.

Using this technique is a sure-fire way to stop a thumb in its tracks!

6. Think outside the box

In an ever-evolving landscape, it’s a good idea to continuously experiment with new approaches – see what works and what doesn’t. Try different things when it comes to crafting an ad.

Experimentation can involve exploring different concepts, such as transitioning from static content to engaging short-form videos or breaking down long blogs into carousel content. Enhance the appeal of your ad by moving the placement of your CTA button, testing out unconventional colour combinations, or incorporating animated GIFs into your ads. Use analytics to identify what’s working well and what needs improvement.

If this approach doesn’t work for your brand, you can, at the very least, acknowledge that you gave it a try and then move forward. 

 Make note; A good ad requires experimentation.

Make it easy for users to act upon

You’ve captured your audience’s attention to stop scrolling at your ad, now don’t lose it. The most important takeaway here is that you need to make it easy for them to take the next step. This means making it clear what you want your audience to do once they reach your ad, such as visiting your website, making a purchase, or signing up for a newsletter. Use strong CTA’s that are prominent and easy to see.

Ensure a direct path once a user clicks on the ad; avoid leading them through complex navigation or unnecessary web pages. Be concise and specific. For instance, if your ad promotes a clothing line featuring fleeces, the link should promptly redirect to the fleece category landing page with minimal user input.

In an age where attention spans are brief and distractions are plentiful, capturing user attention is no easy goal. However, by employing the seven techniques outlined in this article, you can create captivating ads and content that stop users in their tracks, transforming them from passive scrollers into engaged viewers.

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