Thursday, February 25, 2021

What's Hot: eCommerce Ad Examples | Updated

Written by
Lucy
Phipps-Kaye

Creative Monthly Newsletter #05 — June Edition

Ascenial's Picks #5  — Coolest eCommerce Ads


Hi, Lucy here!

This past month I noticed a lot of ads inspired by a “selfie-style” testimonial that made them hard to distinguish from genuine posts. In the audience’s efforts to determine real from fake, such ads really do earn an extra few seconds of attention.  Given the importance of capturing attention with a hook as early as possible- utilizing this informal style is the best use of a brand’s budget and energy. If you haven’t checked it out, my latest article on TikTok ads is a great showcase of why you should try user-generated-content (UGC) ad styles for your company too!

Other than that, I also noted:

eCommerce Ad Themes That Are On The Rise

Casual, “authentic” feeling

GIF and static image ads with minimalist motion graphics

“Versus” Ads (Competitor Ads)

Now, here’s my rundown on the eCommerce ads that caught my attention this June:


DoorDash— TikTok Ad

This DoorDash TikTok ad utilizes the app’s stitch feature (an editing option that pieces together two videos in a “question and reply” format) in a unique way.  The ad begins with the popular user-generated “tell me…” prompt followed by a selfie-style reply that points out the relevant value props. Despite their low quality, both videos feel authentic and earn extra attention for their UGC feel.

June Shine — In-Feed Video

While we usually suggest avoiding such abrasive opening shots, in this instance the intensity of both the visual and the creative copy (“STOP DRINKING SELTZER”) sets an attention-grabbing tone. In contrast, the product pour shots that follow exude a peaceful and soothing energy, highlighting the brand’s message: “this beverage is better for you”. The brand is using its knowledge of its competitors and audience to build a convincing case using classy text overlays. Extra points for the minimalist video shots- likely a lot more budget-friendly than your typical explainer video.

Wandering Bear Co — IG Story Video

I’m obsessed with the opening text overlay in this UGC-inspired video ad from Wandering Bear. The first-person perspective helps the audience imagine the product coming from their own fridge, as well as spending their own $2 on it.  The text overlay also feels classier than the typical TikTok-inspired white-on-black format, and the unusual rhythm of the ad is intriguing and catchy. In addition, the first-person nature of the videos truly captures the format’s strength; even by the time we finally see the speaker in the very last shot, we’re still left wondering whether this is an ad or a real testimonial.

Eat Snacklins — In Feed Image

I really dig the simplicity of this comparison ad — the bold and minimal creative copy puts the most appealing value prop front and center. The strength of this calorie value prop, in combination with the product imagery, conveys just enough to convince the audience without too much flair or effort. Clean design, digestible approach, and a bold-but-not-flashy execution.

Fingersuit — Carousel Story Image Ad

This Fingersuit carousel image ad is a wonderful example of effectively showcasing a product without spending a big budget. Utilizing just three assets: lifestyle shots, minimal “comment style” graphic design, and possibly the smallest product shot we’ve ever seen — the lack of flashiness almost enhances the ad’s persuasiveness. Another strong element is the ad’s minimalism - the brand’s logo can only be found in the username, focusing attention on the product and content of the ad instead. This is a great example of the use of images to tell a stronger, more focused story than can be achieved with video. Clean, stylish, and compelling.

Levi’s — Bonus TikTok Ad: Gen Z Appeal

Aside from its big budget, the key strength of this Levi’s ad is its obvious understanding of its Gen Z audience. Displaying the brand’s message clearly and concisely - the company takes advantage of its recognizable status and appeals to emotion with an environmentally-friendly angle. It’s been heavily suggested that Gen Z and millennials are more engaged with environmental matters on- and offline compared to older generations, so the ad’s more unusual angle makes complete sense. The showy quality does make the ad stand out from the more casual ads on the platform but holds stake with an educational and powerful message that confidently promotes the brand.


As always, wishing you thousands of likes and virality with your next creative project,

Lucy


p.s. Interested in more content from Ascenial? Check out the latest from our blog…

  • 10 TikTok Ads That Work & Why
  • eCommerce Capital Lending: Which One is Best?
  • The $1500 TikTok Ad Experiment

Ascenial's Picks #04 — Coolest eCommerce Ads — May Edition


Hi, Lucy here!

You’ve likely received an email or two discussing the effects of the “iOS 14.5 storm” since Apple released the update in late April. And while the yet-unclear effect the new privacy settings will have on paid social channels is daunting (especially for Facebook and Instagram), it’s worth remembering that our digital ads ecosystem is always evolving.

While best practices for navigating this new advertising terrain are yet to emerge, it’s still useful to continue to understand what’s working and to explore dynamic ways to iterate.

In addition to the iOS news, I also noted these trends as I perused my social feeds this past month:

ECommerce Ad Themes That Are On The Rise

Objection-based ads

Audio-influenced ads (ASMR continues!)

“Healthcare at Home” movement & market trends

And behold, as usual - I’ve picked my favorite ad for each ad category below to help inform and inspire your next campaign!

WaterBoy— TikTok Ad

I call this WaterBoy ad “perfectly executed” — easily one of the best I’ve seen this year. Coming in hot with a very good-looking speaker, the brand immediately hooks its target audience with both visual and emotional appeal to a relatable product, and then provides an immediate and actionable CTA: “you’re gonna want to listen to this.”

With that momentum, the ad moves forward with a long-winded sell, but the kicker here is that it truly doesn’t feel like an advertisement (notice how even the audio quality changes throughout the video!). The speaker introduces multiple pain points related to a competitor’s product and then provides the solution — the WaterBoy product.

Normally, I would never suggest a client execute a video ad at this length (and some social platforms won’t even allow it), but this one works so well that even I had no idea it was an ad until halfway through. It’s also comedic, well-placed for younger audiences, and the tone comes across as warm and welcoming. The ad’s major proof of success? This “ad” wasn’t even sponsored by the brand themselves - it showed up in my TikTok feed organically thanks to its viral status. Absolutely genius!

Atoms — In Feed Image

Again, an ad that’s going against the grain - this witty execution from Atoms features far more text than would ever be suggested for a social image ad. However, this ad does a wonderful job of using a conversational, stream-of-consciousness tone to acknowledge and address a common “objection” related to the brand. The text formatting also mimics a string of text messages, making the ad feel more personal. Lastly, I prefer the use of a static image ad (as opposed to a paced explainer video) for this specific purpose because it allows the viewers to absorb the “story” at their own pace, discouraging them from quickly swiping away.

Mixtiles Art — In Feed Video

This super cool in-feed ad for Mixtiles Art does a wonderful job of hitting the “entertainment” button right on the head. Probably the highest-budget ad out of this lineup, it feels like something you might see on TV. However, the presentation of the movement, product facts, and social proof all in under 20 seconds shows the creator’s understanding of their modern audiences and platform.


North Spore — Timelapse

Internal shout-out!

We wanted to highlight this ad we created for our client North Spore, especially given its success with audiences (it’s hit a 4-5X ROAS consistently since it went live). We’re proud of the unusual visual execution that simultaneously entertains audiences and provides space for the animated explainer text all in under 15 seconds. We also sprinkled in ASMR-inspired audio of “mushroom growing” sounds — which was harder to find than you’d think!  

Amass Botanicals — Story Ad

Watching this Amass Botanicals ad feels like drinking an old-fashioned in a speakeasy. Ironically, it’s actually an ad for a non-alcoholic spirit mixer. The pace, text style, and tone of the video ad all lend it a very classy vibe — likely trying to capture the niche of older age groups who don’t imbibe. The ad combines product demonstration, testimonials, and social proof, and ends with a light product description and 2 major value props. Great branding and execution, conveying a specific mood that might entice even new audiences to give this product a try.

Native — Bonus Image Ad: Over-Simplified but Savvy


I’m impressed by the simple yet effective approach of this Native image ad. The combination of familiar emojis and the value prop that using the product will improve your morning routine makes it hard not to appreciate this ad’s low-budget approach. Additionally, including social proof and “fun” creative copy keeps the tone light and ironically contradicts the “Excel-sheet-style” visual.

Kin Europhics — ASMR-Inspired (In Feed Video)

Yet another ASMR-inspired ad! It’s hard not to be attracted to this vibey, incredibly pleasing in-feed story ad that tickles multiple senses. Heavily leaning on a bright but not overwhelming visual, the slow-motion movement of the video provides space for the text to be the main focus, even against a bold background. Sensually satisfying and time-savvy, the ad finishes off with the sound of a can opening, a sigh, and an especially tempting CTA.

We hope to provide even more significant suggestions for “iOS14.5 coping skills” in the next newsletter and stand in solidarity as we weather the paid social storm together!

As always, wishing you thousands of likes and virality with your next creative project,

Lucy

p.s. Interested in more content from Ascenial? Check out the latest from our blog…

  • 10 TikTok Ads That Work & Why
  • eCommerce Capital Lending: Which One is Best?
  • The $1500 TikTok Ad Experiment

Ascenial's Picks #03 — Coolest eCommerce Ads — April Edition

Hi, I’m Lucy - Creative Director and eCommerce ad-enthusiast at Ascenial.

You’ve likely seen a vaccine post (or two… or five…) from your friends and followers on social media lately. We’ve also noticed ads that speak to the end of COVID and a return to normalcy, as well as an expected (and exciting!) rise in springtime and summertime ads.

It’s also worth noting that just as we’re gradually re-emerging from the COVID-19 crisis, new ad styles and themes have also emerged, and some are trending more than ever!

Curious? Check out my latest article: Top 10 TikTok Ads That Work and Why.

For now, I invite you to follow along while I comb through my favorite eCommerce ads on social media for this month. Be sure to note the following recurring themes that you might have also noticed while scrolling through your feeds:

ECommerce Ad Themes That Are On The Rise

  • Testimonials & Real Reviews (Comment-Style)
  • Green-Screen Filters
  • Post-Pandemic Ads

I’ve picked my favorite ad for each ad category below to help inform and inspire your next campaign!

Reformation — In-Feed Ad

I absolutely adore this Reformation ad - it expertly uses a simple take to tell a dialogue-free story, executes an intriguing visual open, and uniquely demonstrates the product. Additionally, the opening statement “If you or someone you know…” intentionally broadens the ad’s relevance to a wider audience. This ad definitely kept me engaged- I watched it more than once not only to appreciate the tempo and simplicity, but also because it’s cinematographically entertaining and left me curious on multiple accounts. The timing and placement of this wedding-specific ad are definitely strategic as we’re likely to see many postponed pandemic weddings being held soon!

Soona — GIF Ad

This ad by Soona feels less like an ad and comes across more like a highlight of an article — a genius way of both calling attention while building social proof. The Forbes logo at the very top immediately signals status and clout - encouraging audiences to stop scrolling and pay attention to an otherwise difficult-to-describe product (a virtual photoshoot company). The colorful square background combined with the highly engaging squiggly motion graphics helps this ad pop. Indeed, Facebook claims that ads that use motion elements hold users' attention five times longer than ads that feature static images alone - our team agrees!

Birdie — In-Feed Image Ad

Post-pandemic ads?!

We remember the days of “staying inside?” and “stuck at home?” ads far too well, and yes - they definitely worked (one of our best-performing ads successfully hit a 8X ROAS)! But now that we’re finally coming out on the other side of the pandemic, we expect to see more and more ads that connect their brand’s products to the new normal- like Birdie’s ad above promoting their personal safety alarm.

Looking closely at the featured image, we also notice that the ad tells the story of a girl alone with her dog on a hike — a situation many can identify with. The safety alarm shown in the foreground provides a comforting and practical solution to the incredibly common question of personal security.

TUSHY — Story Ad

At Ascenial, we call this testimonial-type ad a “comment-style series”- where we take real reviews and feature them in an easy-to-read format over a visual of the product. Here, Tushy effectively uses one image with a well-paced scroll of reviews (including name, star rating, and product type) - showcasing not only “real life” use-case scenarios, but also demonstrating an authentic appreciation of the product from verified buyers. The static background does a great job of not overwhelming the viewer, while the social proof provides a convincing argument for a mini-splurge on a luxury product.

RyanAir - TikTok Ad

This RyanAir ad is proof of the brand’s attunement to the trends, themes, and specific brand of humor popular on the TikTok app.

Using a simple green screen filter and a basic text overlay, this ad likely took RyanAir less than a few minutes to create. The company pleases (and tricks) audiences by associating their big-name brand with one of the most casual and familiar TikTok filters. The post feels and looks very little like an advertisement and hardly takes itself seriously, creating a sense of authenticity that wins it respect from users who might not even realize it’s an ad.

With its on-the-nose posts, the company has already gained 564K TikTok followers and has even sparked discussions and speculation over who so expertly manages the account on the company’s behalf.

The fact that an airline successfully managed to gain attention on the platform (amidst a pandemic, nonetheless) is proof that any brand, in any industry, can do it.

Melin — Long-form In-Feed Ad  

In this ad, Melin does an expert job of acknowledging their audience’s possible objection to their price point and provides an elegant rebuttal backed by social proof.

By starting with an engaging animated comment, the ad cleverly encourages the viewer to continue watching, learn more, and hit “Shop Now”. While the 30-second ad is longer than what we usually recommend- this is a good exception to the rule considering the higher price point (a factor that usually requires more convincing overall).

Additionally, every element included throughout the ad is intriguing, entertaining, and visually stimulating. Right before the 00:15 mark (where the average viewer scrolls away)- the viewer is introduced to the top 3 value proposition points at 00:13.

Lengthy, yes, but expertly executed!

Waterdrop - Wildcard Ad


These “comment-style series” ads seem to be everywhere — including TikTok!

While it might feel less authentic and engaging than a User-Generated Content (UGC) ad, Waterdrop’s ad is digestible and easily demonstrates social proof. The visual of the product in a real-use-case setting makes it easy for viewers to imagine using and owning the product themselves. The lone use of imagery also helps the ad convey the message in a mere 5 seconds- a perfect formula for users’ increasingly short attention spans online!

It’s easy to see that this ad worked, as it garnered 786K views for the brand, versus 844 total views for its previous ad. On TikTok, understanding timing - and what can be done with it - is key.


So for now - April out!

Remember, we’ll be featuring guest submissions in upcoming newsletters - so send your favorite ads our way! Feel free to DM us on Instagram @ascenialads.

Wishing you thousands of likes and virality with your next creative project,

Lucy

Creative Monthly Newsletter #2 — March Edition

Hi, I’m Lucy - Creative Director and eCommerce ad-enthusiast at Ascenial.

This month I was the most excited that TikTok officially launched their new Ad Library tool, currently called 'Top Ads', which enables you to search for the best performing TikTok ad campaigns.

Why is paying attention to TikTok ads more important than ever?

The addictively entertaining app currently has 689 million users — and counting. Even more impressive, it took TikTok under three years to earn the same amount of monthly users that it took Instagram six years to gain.

Combine that with the steady rise of online shopping, and it’s easy to see why it’s important to stay on the pulse of eCommerce ads, especially on a platform like TikTok that will likely continue to grow.

Curious? I’ll be providing more insights in my upcoming article: Top 10 TikTok Ads That Work and Why.

For now, I invite you to follow along while I comb through my favorite eCommerce ads on social media for this month - and note the following repeating themes that you’ve likely noticed while scrolling through your feed, too.

ECommerce Ad Themes That Are On The Rise

  • Eco-friendly call-outs
  • Trippy/Visually-stimulating imagery
  • User Generated Content (UGC) “casual” text overlays
  • Key value proposition call-outs

With consumer demand shifting online almost exponentially, we’re keenly focused on what’s working creatively to bridge the gap between in-person and virtual retail experiences.

Keep reading to find out more!

Love Wellness — Revealing Hidden Customer Truths

Why?

Love Wellness has a wide variety of products to advertise — all “lady-problem” oriented. What works so well about their unique, somewhat-squeamish ad is the intriguing shots of familiar-but-not-usually-seen situations. The ad incites curiosity with entertaining well-paced shots combined with a powerful message: that these products hold solutions to a giant area of general discomfort regularly experienced by women. Despite the problem noted, the brand evokes optimism with its hopeful headline promising to quickly help find the right product for you.

HiSmile — The Perfect UGC


Why?

Creative advertiser’s everywhere cannot get enough of UGC — and we know why. The quick selfie-style nature of this HiSmile ad with incredibly minimal text overlays makes it feel highly native and very real. The ad also manages to throw in a quick take of the product itself with a simple one-liner that creates just enough “scientific” authority. We also love the use of opening immediately with the text-overlay question “Can you see?” that grabs viewers’ eyes right from the first second.

Ruggable — Demonstration Done Right

Why?

While this Ruggable ad feels more like something you might see on TV, the simple value prop call-outs walking you through the “how-to” make it works so well. These days, showcasing how-to’s, tutorials, and unboxing works well with audiences as it forms a mental image of the product fitting into their lives. Also, the ad quickly demonstrates a very familiar situation juxtaposed with very well placed, easy-to-read call-outs that masterfully sell the product.

Wild Minimalist — Efficient Yet Effective


Why?

Incredibly short, straight to the point, and demonstrative — This Wild Minimalist ad combines a super simplistic, demonstrative gif with UGC-style text overlays. This makes it feel HIGHLY organic and therefore that much more convincing. Lastly, the ad calls out a big social status benefit — your “eco friends” will be impressed!

FNX Sport — Cinematic Yet Simple


Why?

It’s important not to overwhelm your audience with product information while still getting to the point. FNX SPORT’s cinematic yet peaceful demonstrative video ad highlights only three value props but the professionalism and clean editing creates enough authority to beg the audience to click the ad. The use of only three value points is key here — it’s highly effective to keep things digestible by focusing on the key selling points that are most likely to hook your potential audience.

Cool Shirtz — “Hard Sell“ Done Well


Why?

This Cool Shirtz ad catches your eye because the animation is done so professionally that it commands your attention. These days, fashion ads are everywhere, and with the prevalence of dropshipping, it’s hard to know which brands to trust. In this case, the visually-stimulating movement paired with simple slideshow-style transitions creates a memorable experience and stimulates product and brand curiosity . Amongst the hordes of t-shirt companies ads this ad stands out as a gorgeous example of high entertainment value. Success!

Beauty Blender — Stop Motion With Special Flair

Why?

It’s important to use vivid (but not overwhelming) design elements that pull your audience in. This Beauty Blender ad does a great job of taking what could’ve been an image ad (less captivating) just one step further with a stop-motion piece. This effectively illustrates the selling point in just a few seconds — here’s a product you’ve likely seen (and used) before — but with an environmentally friendly plant-based twist.

TikTok Ad Of The Week: ThredUp


This ThredUp ad does three things perfectly: it tells a story, quickly captures your attention, and uses UGC that earns credibility right away. With the combination of a relatable goal (again, attention to sustainability = improved social status) and the company’s stated motivation to cure a need (the lack of thrifting in your life), ThredUp’s ad both presents a solution and provides entertainment value. Even better, the relatability factor might push the viewer to recognize and return to both the featured user and brand again later. Additionally, the ad keeps an up-tempo pace with catchy music, stimulating visuals, and call-outs to three important e-Commerce offering points: deals, savings, and free shipping. Within the span of only 18 seconds and 9 frames, this ad provides a seriously sticky execution with its mashup of Ecommerce video ad styles.

That’s it for March!

Bonus ask — I’d love for you to send me the ads that are catching YOUR attention on social media! What gets you to click? To purchase? Or - what makes you swipe away the most?

We’ll be featuring guest submissions in upcoming newsletters - so send them our way!

DM us on Instagram @ascenialads.


Wishing you thousands of likes and virality with your next creative project,

Lucy

p.s. Interested in more content from Ascenial? Check out the latest from our blog…

Creative Monthly Newsletter #1 — February Edition

Hi, I’m Lucy - creative director and eCommerce ad-enthusiast at Ascenial.


My team is obsessed with crafting, testing, and collecting paid social ads for eCommerce.  


Why?


We manage over 1 million in ad spend per month, so it’s important we stay on the pulse of major brands and creative trends.


How does this newsletter work?


Every month, I narrow down up to 10 of the best paid social ads I’ve seen and explain why they are good.


Let’s jump on in.

Magic Spoon

Why?

Colors and stop animation that immediately grab the eye with quick-fire text that nails the product’s value props in less than 7 seconds.
Magic Spoon’s colorful branding and ads are truly eCommerce eye candy. This “simple” video ad does a great job of using simple stop-motion to show off the delicious-looking product while incorporating digestible, easy-to-read value props from the bulleted list above it. The bonus? This type of ad is actually very easy to implement with a small library of basic assets and straightforward minimal editing.

MVMT

Why?

Looks organic and user-generated. Feels familiar, like something a friend would post or send to you on Snapchat. Moves quickly and establishes highlights of the product well. While ads like this may seem off brand for some higher-end companies like MVMT, more and more big brands are utilizing the Instagram and Snapchat-style text overlays that make the ad seem organic and user-generated. Steering away from your typical, high-end expensive commercial shoot can actually work in your favor when an ad looks more like something a friend might send you rather than another over-produced advertisement.

Alo Yoga

Why?

Beautifully rhythmic feature-focused text over a variety of in-the-wild product shots. Using well-executed text motion-graphics that highlight what makes their products more than just standard gym clothes, this Alo Yoga ad uses a combination of clean editing with a classy showcase of “in-the-wild” product shots. While the cinematic quality is noticeably well-done (and this is not always necessary these days, but many big brands still have big budgets), what really works is the functional emphasis on the product rather than the story of the brand.

Mous Phone Cases

Why?

Shock/entertainment factor in the first 3 seconds hooks the viewer to commit to the full 2-minute, long-form video ad.
This long-form ad for Mous phone cases catches the attention of viewers in the first 3 seconds with a modern, exciting approach that quickly emphasizes the major value prop of the product — that it solves a major modern problem (easy to break phones). They also utilize shock-factor appeal with an engaging & entertaining intro.

Barbell Apparel

Why?

Entertainingly ironic, unique, hypes the concept up in a way that makes the audience want to keep watching. Barbell Apparel does a great job of capturing what makes their jeans specifically different in this fast-paced but memorable use-case ad. They entice the viewer right off the bat with the unique juxtaposition of taking an ironic concept (who TF works out in jeans?) and flipping it on its head. Hooked. We also love ads that are easy to read and straight to the point — a wonderful execution of appeal to both entertainment and ever-shortening attention spans.

Art of Play

Why?

Sometimes, you just show instead of tell. This ad is fully focused on how to use the product with a visual showcase rather than text explaining what the product is or does.This highly visually pleasing ad uses nothing other than skin (humans love to see humans) and the product itself. The ad features basic but professional editing that doesn’t take itself too seriously (which matches the product’s branding) and clean editing techniques to keep attention in an engaging 22 seconds. Thinking, “I never heard of this product?” The only text you need is right above the video with the social proof ad text of “award winning.”

Tik Tok Ad Of The Week: Vessi

This up-and-coming footwear brand, Vessi, nails this very 2020-inspired ad with a great duet giveaway exhibition of split-screen — showcasing both UGC and “homemade” product demonstration. The key strength is capturing younger audiences familiar with the casual influencer feel and formatting. Similar to MVMT’s ad above, the lack of ability to decipher the ad from a “real” feed post aids in holding attention span and increases performance and conversion likelihoods. The proof? The company started TikTok ads in early 2020 and is approaching 100K followers on the app. We’ll say it and say it again — UGC is where it’s at!


We’re always looking for the next trends and best ads — don’t hesitate to send us your top performers and keep an eye out — you never know who we’ll feature next!


My one big question for you: would you prefer more ads and less analysis? Or fewer ads and more analysis?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Wishing you thousands of likes and virality with your next creative project,

Lucy

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