But it is not just images that do the trick in online advertising. It has to be supported, more often than not, by text. An online ad-maker’s job is to make sure that the story is synchronized with the image used in the ad. In other words, wholly discordant images and texts will not work. Adman Rosser Reves once famously said, “If all I want is to catch the audience’s attention, all I have to do is to show a Gorilla swinging on a trapeze.” Your story is what helps you retain that viewer attention long enough for your campaign to be successful. When you display an image, viewers interpret that to make a story, and your purpose, as the maker of the ad is to ensure that the back-story matches with the intention with which you created the ad and therefore, the image. Also, your ad can have a story only when there are people in it, or more specifically, characters.
In the following example, an almost sepia-toned photograph shows a little boy in London, and the supporting copy asks viewers how long it has been since their last visit to London. It is a simple story, but an effective story nonetheless because it urges viewers to consider London as their next holiday destination:
The importance of the supporting story for an image is immortalized in the famous Ogilvy quote: “The kind of photographs which work hardest are those which arouse the reader’s curiosity. He glances at the photograph and says to himself, ‘What goes on here?’ Then he reads your copy to find out. Harold Rudolph called this magic element ‘Story Appeal,’ and demonstrated that the more of it you inject into your photographs, the more people look at your advertisements.”(2) The curiosity to know more about your character makes visitors click through the image to know the back story, and compelling your visitors to do this is the job of visual scandal used in your ad.
Digital advertising has evolved, and how! From being simple banner ads to today’s smart campaigns that capture a visitor’s attention even on a content-rich website, online ads have pushed the boundaries of creativity to create truly compelling marketing strategies. Yet, the golden mantra still remains testing. You might find your ad campaign intelligent and seemingly effective, but unless you have tested it first, it still remains prone to viewer blindness. Test, and evolve your ads to make full use of these latest breakthroughs in advertising and see your web page traffic soar.