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Gladvertising: The Importance of Storytelling in Modern Day Advertising

“Just because people spend hours flipping through their feeds with their fingertips, doesn’t mean your ad has to stick out like a sore thumb.”

In the world of digital marketing, content is king. No matter what product or service you are advertising, it will be difficult to generate any interest without first captivating or intriguing your audience, all without overdoing it or outright annoying them. 

This is especially true in an age where social media channels are more saturated with ads than ever; users may feel barraged by ads, products, and messages to the point where some people have started to avoid social media altogether. 

As an advertiser, your goal should be to ensure that ads feel authentic, captivating, and entertaining. If you’re going to advertise, maximizing your ROI means ensuring your ad is ultimately an enjoyable experience for the user. Your social media ads are forever at the mercy of one simple scroll or swipe. Unless you can catch someone’s attention, draw them in, make them shed a tear, or crack a smile, your ad, and all of the resources used to bring it to life will waste away in their feed.

So how can you make your brand stand out? After years of experience, we’ve got the inside scoop.

Many business and agencies alike have ditched the simple “image-centric”, “sleazy car salesman” ad format, and have instead turned to storytelling, short film, and other captivating video content styles as a means to promote their products on social media platforms. This is evident in the rise of video content populating the feeds of Facebook and Instagram and is especially visible in the explosive success of YouTube. This adaptation likely stems from market research that has proven that video content is widely coveted as the most engaging media format, which does a great job bringing users to their channel, using the hypnotic ability of video to ensure they stay there; this is why most platforms themselves are pushing video content to the forefront of their digital strategies. 

However, simply using video content alone isn’t enough. A video in itself can be boring. Whether you’re using a photo or a video, entertaining or captivating your audience is single-handedly the most important part of advertising on social media.  You should use your video to lead them down a fun or emotional trail that seems authentic, and popping your brand in at the eleventh-hour, regardless if there is a direct connection between the story you are telling and the product you are selling. It’s a modern spin on the classic bait and switch. If you nail down the targeting, you can successfully weave your ad into their feed in a way that blends perfectly into the expectations of a user’s ‘daily scroll’ activities. 

How can this be achieved? The process consists of a fusion between The Three T’s

The Three T’s Of Storytelling and Social Media Ads

The Targeting: You need to make sure your ad is reaching someone who cares. Otherwise, you’re only increasing the chances that they will be annoyed with your ad, which results in poor ROI for media spend, and may even create a negative perception of your brand from the outset. Most importantly, take the time to determine your buyer persona, research your ideal customer’s interests, and fusing this information into the content of your advertisement itself.

The Timing: The world and the people in it operate in seasons, and in days of the week. The fact is, certain seasons bring with them certain buying habits, interests, and activities; even certain days signify different things. (i.e New Coffee Ad scheduled on Mondays to cure the Monday Blues, or a vacation ad pushed at high travel season). Timing is as important as targeting. Some products, such as food, aren’t so time sensitive since people eat all sorts of things, all of the time – unless you’re advertising a Thanksgiving turkey, of course. It is also useful to look at historical data and determine the times and days of the week that have proven to perform best for your business and adjust your advertising to match these insights.

The Tale: Culture, history, media, entertainment and all of the fundamental aspects of our reality are centered around storytelling. It is an indisputable fact that human beings crave stories and respond to narratives found in things like music, film, books, drama, and more. As the most predominant media formats of our age, all great advertisements should tell a story, too. Who’s to say advertising can’t be a modern art form? If the desire to consume stories and products alike are two fundamental human desires, the primary focus of your ad should be to captivate your audience. 

The Result: 
When you put the three T’s into practice, you’ve got the perfect formula for an effective ad, provided that you are approaching the three T’s with the proper mindset: don’t simply focus on the product or service, but rather, focus on how it positively impacts your target audience. Advertising a grocery service? Focus on the ideal shopping experience: convenience, bliss, simplicity, and fun. Focus on the emotions surrounding food itself: fun, love, family, and companionship. At the end of the day, people don’t care so much about the food they buy, but more about the people around the table. 

So don’t ‘advertise’ in the traditional sense. If audiences are uncomfortable with an oversaturation of social media ads,  make them comfortable with the fact that they are seeing an ad, by subverting the idea of what an ad actually is. If you can get your audience to focus less on what you’re selling and more on how it fulfills important aspects of their life, all while making them feel something in the process…

Then you aren’t advertising. You’re Gladvertising.

Looking for someone to help manage your next campaign? Contact us here!

About Burke Dorman

Social Media Manager and Staff Writer at Elite Digital

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