Creative Best Practices

Your guide to compelling ads and great results

What it is

In order to grow a loyal customer base, you need to serve the right messages and designs to the right audiences. Use these creative best practices for each stage in the customer lifecycle to create repeat customers and keep growing revenue.

How it works

General best practices

Before diving into the lifecycle-specific best practices, make sure ALL your ads follow these guidelines:

  • Keep it eye-catching. You have one second or less to get your message across. Use visually compelling faces, colors, and products to grab attention. Use fonts and colors that match your website aesthetic.2

  • Keep copy clear and simple. Don’t clutter your ad with text. Say one thing in each ad.

  • Always have a strong call to action. Make sure shoppers know EXACTLY what they’re doing when they click an ad.

Now, let’s roll on to creative best practices for each stage of the customer lifecycle.

Attract new customers with a compelling first impression

Entice new, high-intent shoppers with general branding ads that teach them about your brand and get them to visit your website.

  • Use lifestyle images that convey your core offering.

  • Focus on why people love shopping at your store or buying your products.

  • Show why customers choose you over others.

  • Skip the hard sell.

  • Promote your brand and generate name recognition.

Creative tips

  • Try calls to action like “Learn More” or “Explore Now”.

  • Choose lifestyle images that help people imagine owning your product.

  • Feature top-selling products.

  • For native ads—define your offering (and its benefit) in the headline.

Engage potential buyers by staying top of mind

Remind potential buyers why they visited your site. Include your logo and a direct call to revisit your site. Run these evergreen branding ads continuously to stay top of mind as people browse or comparison-shop.

  • Steer buyers toward products they haven't yet seen.

  • Make it easy for shoppers to take the next step. Consider highlighting new items, sales, or seasonal pushes, all of which appeal to a broader audience.

Creative tips

  • Use strong calls to action: “Shop Now!”, “Buy Now!”, “Pre-Order!”, “Buy Today!”

  • Use incentives like promos, sales, discount codes, and special deals for first-time buyers (e.g., “Flash Sale—Limited Time”, “10% Off First Three Orders”).

  • Feature lifestyle images to help potential buyers see the product in use.

  • For native ads—incorporate a stat that supports your advertised benefit.

Convert interested shoppers with a highly personalized ad experience

Use our industry-leading dynamic ads to push your highest-intent buyers to convert. Target those who are already interested in your items with ads based on their behavior (e.g., visiting specific product pages or abandoning their cart).

  • Set up product feed–based dynamic ads, featuring one or multiple products.

  • Completely customize the look and experience of your AdRoll dynamic ads—at no additional cost.

  • Choose to feature top-viewed, top-selling, or recently browsed products.

  • Showcase items similar to those they’re most interested in.

  • Give shopping cart abandoners an opportunity to check out by testing different buying incentives, such as free shipping or a 10% discount.

Creative tips

  • Test recommendation engines, top-selling items, and recently viewed products.

  • If there's no feed—or there are few items—test static images of top-selling products.

  • Use strong calls to action like “Buy Now” or “Click Here to Buy”.

  • For native ads—refresh the message to avoid ad fatigue.

Cultivate repeat customers by rewarding loyalty

Extend your customers’ lifetime value by re-engaging them.

  • These users are familiar with your brand, so keeping brand aesthetic consistent is important for loyalty ads.

  • You can show appreciation for valuable customers by providing unique calls to action that drive them to purchase more of what they like.

  • Repeat customers always like to be rewarded for their loyalty, so include additional promotions if available, or drive people to on-site rewards programs.

Creative tips

  • Use calls to action like “You might like these”, “Complete The Look”, and “Complete The Set”.

  • Try encouraging buyers to refill orders automatically or stock up on items people often buy again.

  • Include information about rewards programs.

  • For native ads—present the rest of your offerings to your customers.

“We have one graphic designer on staff, and she is consistently burdened with many projects and multiple deadlines. So having her be able to just direct the process with AdRoll’s Design Squad saves her a lot of time, saves our team a lot of time, and makes the process seamless.”

Haley Ausserer, director of marketing and communications, Floracopeia