A Look at Sotheby’s Online Ads for the “Bowie/Collector” Exhibition, Plus 5 Tips to Boost Engagement

Aug 04

A Look at Sotheby’s Online Ads for the “Bowie/Collector” Exhibition, Plus 5 Tips to Boost Engagement

Sotheby’s is running an online display ad campaign for the preview of its “Bowie/Collector” exhibition, which is currently being held in London before moving on to LA, NYC and Hong Kong and culminating in a major 10-day London event in November.

We highlight the engaging creative for the advance promotion of this exhibition/auction of some 400 items from the private collection of legendary musician David Bowie because creative is a key driver of successful online ad campaigns.  See one of the ads from the campaign (final frame of animated 300 x 600).

We have run tens of millions of online ads around the world for exhibitions and events and seen firsthand that two different creative executions run against the same set of parameters and ad tech stacks can deliver very different results.

Here are five insights to help boost the engagement level of your digital advertising…

Make your ads as visually engaging as possible. Remember you have to engage someone first before you can sell them with your message.  If your creative does not engage your audience, not much else matters!  Several aspects of the Sotheby’s ads engaged us, including the eye-catching image, non-traditional black & white design and strong animation.  The 100% share of voice (SOV) / roadblock execution on the desktop platform also contributed to the ads catching our attention.

Build out your creative asset portfolio beyond the “Big 3” (728 x 90, 300 x 250 & 160 x 600) to include other units such as the 300 x 600, 970 x 250, etc.  Add social, mobile and video ads too.  We saw the “Bowie/Collector” ads on both desktop and mobile platforms.  Consider this… in a display ad campaign that we ran in July 2016 for a major show organizer, 52% of the clicks were generated from ads outside of the Big 3!

Rotate your creative to reduce ad fatigue, which happens when people are exposed to the same ad over and over again and eventually start ignoring it.  The ad rotation strategy that works best for you will depend on multiple factors, including frequency caps, audience size, performance decay, etc.  In Facebook’s Advertising Best Practices, they suggest you “refresh your ad creative every 1 to 2 weeks for the best performance.”

Target your creative to your audiences, as the more relevant your ads are, the higher engagement you will see.  One new idea to consider here is language targeting.  In a Q1 2016 campaign we ran for a major exhibition in Miami, one of the largest Hispanic markets in the U.S, ad buys with Spanish language targeting had a much higher CTR than the English language ad buys and drove significant incremental traffic at a 44% lower CPC.

Test and optimize your creative by producing multiple ad variations.  For example, in the Sotheby’s ad campaign, we have seen certain aspects change, such as images and messages, while others remained constant such as colors.  Tip: Experiment with different call-to-actions (CTAs) – in a current ad buy for a global trade show on Facebook, which employs multiple CTAs while keeping all other variables the same, we are seeing a 27% CTR differential between the highest and lowest performing ads.

Image credits/Copyright: Sotheby’s and Gavin Evans

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