Defined creative direction for onsite display ads, marrying business needs with the wants of users.
Launched a site-wide vendor funded content program, with display ads on almost every page of BestBuy.ca. Developed creative direction, including ideation and A/B testing the creative.
Program Development and Launch
Every month, BestBuy.ca is visited by millions of qualified, high-intent customers in search of their favourite tech products. As a member of a newly formed team, our goal was to monetize the traffic that hits Best Buy every day through the launch of a vendor-funded content program.
Accompanied by two senior experience designers, my task was to define and evolve the visual appearance of the sponsored content to best communicate relevant information to the customer in their shopping journey.
The challenge with defining the creative for the ads was that they were simply that, ads, embedded throughout hundreds of pages of carefully curated content. When one thinks of ads, they generally do not associate them with providing value to a customers journey. They are often disruptive, over-the-top, flashy, and in most cases completely irrelevant.
Two challenges we identified in particular were:
1. Ads can poison the content around them.
Depending on the design and appearance of an ad, it can have the affect of poisoning the content that it displays around. Meaning: user’s tend to avoid the content around an ad entirely, not just the ad itself. (NN Group)
2. Users view ads for only a short amount of time.
Less than half (42%) of people look at an ad for a second or more. That number drops even lower when you consider a "gaze time" of two seconds. Essentially, people don't view ads for very long at all, and an even smaller amount stick around.
As a result of these considerations our team designed a clean, easy to understand creative direction for the onsite ad content. Solutions included:
1. Avoid making the ads, look like ads.
We chose a white background colour to mesh with the rest of the native content on our site. This was done to avoid having user’s skip over whole sections of content at the sight of the ad. Additionally, we elected to use Best Buy's native font, and colour treatment of the other elements (CTA, highlights).
2. Make them scannable.
Based on our findings, it was very unlikely that users would be spending more than a few seconds looking at our ads. To compensate for this, we designed the content to be easily scannable, notably with an emphasis on smaller copy allowances and a clearly defined CTA. Character counts for the ads were kept under 50, so that they could be easily scaled down to a Mobile size without having to adjust copy; this also meant that the user would be able to read and scan it quickly (the average person can read 5 words a second). By embedding a high-contrast, easily distuingishable CTA in the ad, it signaled that the element was clickable.