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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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,