Ad Analysis: When A Display Ad Is Less Than Perfect

Since we spend hours online every day, it’s hardly surprising that we come across dozens of Display Ads. The ads we usually see are based on our recent Google searches and browser history.  In other words, more often than not, you’ll only see ads that are tailored to your needs and preferences, ads that’ll appeal to you and prompt you to purchase a product or service. After all, why would companies have huge advertising budgets just to show their ads to people who aren’t interested in what they have to offer?

That’s exactly what I asked myself the other day when I was scrolling very productively through Instagram (okay, you got me, I was wasting time). Well, whatever the reason, I was on Instagram and decided to look through some stories when I came across this ad:

The first question I asked myself when I clapped eyes on this ad was a very simple one: What? That’s it. I couldn’t figure out what this ad was trying to tell me, there’s so much going on here. Firstly, why was I viewing this ad? I’m happily enrolled in more than one academic course and haven’t been looking for a course online, so why was I seeing this? Aside from the targeting of this ad, I couldn’t help but wonder why it was riddled with so many glaring mistakes.

Now, I know that social media ads don’t always focus on producing great quality. The makers of these ads are more concerned with staying on-trend and reaching out to potential customers as quickly as possible than making top-notch content. In the interest of staying relevant, these ads often turn out to be amateurish and look like they’ve been put together haphazardly.

While this ad may not exactly be amateurish, it definitely leaves something to be desired. Let’s start with the design of the ad. It’s simple enough and features only a few muted colors that don’t take away from the written content of the ad. In fact, it seems as though the media in the ad is intentionally toned down to highlight what’s written in the main body. Since it’s an ad for academic courses, it makes sense that the color palette used here is not too flashy or vibrant.

The logo of the brand seems quite basic as well. It’s the kind of logo that gives viewers an idea of the product or service being advertised without the need to look at more information. What more could one want from a logo? The font size is perfect as well and there are two colors used for the text, which helps highlight the important aspects of the written content.

Now that we’ve established that the graphic design used in the ad is decent, let’s discuss the written content. Take a look at what’s written in the ad. Go on, even if it takes a few seconds, take a look and try to make sense of it. Once you’re done, don’t worry if you couldn’t understand it all too well because I couldn’t either, and I’ve developed a keen eye for analyzing ads now. Let’s see where exactly this ad goes wrong with the written content.

The first line of the ad says, ‘Crack Unacademy Prodigy’. When I read this line I wondered, ‘what’s Unacademy Prodigy?’ so would, I imagine, anyone else who read it. Granted, it definitely sounds like an academic course of some sort but what do they mean by “crack” it? I could be wrong but isn’t an academic course supposed to help me crack exams? Why then is this ad telling me to crack the course? I was so confused, and this was only the first line of the ad!

Without elaborating on what the course is about, the ad goes on to tell me that Unacademy Prodigy will pay for my first year of college. That’s great, I think to myself, this only means paying for this course is going to cost me an arm and leg. Besides, why would I trust this claim when I don’t even know what this course is about? If you’re not going to specify what subjects your course covers, how do I even know I’m eligible to join?

Again, all would be forgiven if this ad then offered me some hint of what this course is about. But alas, I spot the line, ‘Race begins on……(insert date and time)’. Okay honestly, what is going on here? What “race” is the ad referring to? Is it talking about the race to crack XYZ exams or the race of students trying to secure their places with Unacademy Prodigy? To be honest, reading through the rest of the ad got quite frustrating, because it became increasingly obvious that I wasn’t going to receive any answers to my myriad questions.

This ad took up my entire phone screen to tell me……absolutely nothing. The only thing I learned from it was the enrolment dates for the course and some invite code for enrolment. However, neither of these bits of information meant anything to me because I wasn’t going to click on the ad. It seemed ironic to me that a Display Ad for an educational course taught me essentially nothing about the course.

Now, I have nothing against Unacademy Prodigy and what it provides many students who enrolled for it. This review was only intended to point out how the Display Ad meant to get me interested in what this company has to offer led to precisely the opposite. Given that the graphic design of the ad is easy on the eye, it’s disappointing that the written content didn’t offer any relevant information on what this brand has to offer.

Just a line or two on what subjects the course covers and how it can help students would’ve been far more effective than what’s written in the ad. In conclusion, it doesn’t have to demand too much effort on the part of PPC and marketing professionals to create great Display Ads, a little attention to detail should suffice.

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