We’ve spent the last few months talking to the top eCommerce experts in the world and looking at hundreds of brands to find out what makes the most successful ad.
The most successful brands aren’t devoting all their time to trying to come up with that one-hit wonder, that viral ad that will take the internet by storm. They are rigorously A/B testing best practices and then optimizing their creatives, audiences, and ad formats as they go.
We’ve gathered some of the best eCommerce ads we found across multiple industries - home decor, fashion, electronics, apparel, beauty, and more - and put them all into a free resource for you to use.
Here is the free slide deck we made - Top 250 eCommerce Ad Creatives [Free Deck].
And in this post, we are going to go through some of the top best practices that work for the world’s top eCommerce brands.
Let’s dive in.
The creative is 75% of the ad
Studies show that 75% of the effectiveness of the ad is attributed to the creative.
If you nail your creatives then you are 75% there.
Because visuals are more noticeable than text.
And with more than half of today’s consumers using mobile devices brands have even less time to grab their attention.
So what really makes a good creative?
What is the one defining factor that helps eCommerce brands succeed with their creatives?
The magic sauce of a winning ad creative
When marketing teams huddle together and try to come up with a winning ad the conversation shifts to “creativity” and how to create that virality seen in the Super Bowl. Of course, it’s very hard to measure the ROI of a TV ad, so that’s all measured in social shares and impressions.
But here at Mayple, we see eCommerce brands winning every day on various social media platforms, and we think it comes down to one thing: best practices.
Assuming that the audience targeting, tracking, and landing pages are set up correctly, using the right best practices will make or break an ad.
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We looked at over 250+ ad creatives of some of the top eCommerce brands across several industries and here are the best practices that we have found that help these brands absolutely crush it.
Here they are.
Top eCommerce Ad Creative Best Practices
Here are the top best practices that we’ve found, in visual form.
Let’s go over each one of them.
1. Show me, don’t tell me
If you’re going to use a visual ad, you should use it correctly. Don’t just re-state your value proposition or your product’s features, actually show them to the consumer.
Here’s a great example from Hydrow, a rowing machine with live on-demand training by professional athletes. In this video, they have a customer speak about the benefits of their rowing machine and they show you how they use it. It’s simple, well done, and could easily be used as a Facebook video ad.
2. Use multiple image carousel posts
Sometimes it’s hard to show how to use your product in one image. So brands automatically fall back to making videos, forgetting to test out different ad formats. Remember, it’s ok to use multiple images per ad. That’s why Facebook created carousel ads.
Here’s an example of a carousel ad from GymShark:
Another way to display more than one image is by using dividing your standard image into several blocks.
Here’s an example from TOMS where they 4 images in 1 ad. They manage to showcase their Bonsai Green show from 2 different angles, showcase the packaging, and show us that beautiful sole.
3. Use 30-second product video ads
Ecommerce brands started using more product videos to try to showcase their products better. And often they fall to this erroneous notion that videos should be several minutes long. If you want to create a good video ad, it needs to be under a minute, preferably either 15 or 30 seconds max.
Here’s a great 30-second video ad from Corkcicle, the beverage container brand. This video shows the colors that are available, 3 different features, and the bottle from many angles, all in 30 seconds.
Here’s another example from Hydrant, the vitamin supplement company. In this 30-second video, they show how the benefits of the product and how to use it. It’s as simple as it gets.
Curious to see more actual video ads from brands? Check out our slide on the top 250 eCommerce Creatives for 2022.
4. Milk your PR & reviews
Did your brand get picked up or rated by a large online publication? Mention it!
Are your customers leaving 5-star reviews? Show it in your ad.
Social proof is a super-powerful marketing technique that you can use on your site, but eCommerce brands have been including PR mentions and reviews in their social media ads.
Here’s an example from Leesa, the DTC mattress company. Notice how they put an image of someone using their mattress, on top of that a discount offer, and front and center they have the blue Wirecutter Pick 2020 badge.
Image of someone using the product + discount offer + PR mention = GOLD 💰.
Another best practice is to display the text from product reviews and combine it with high-quality images. This is a really powerful form of social proof because you are enhancing your product image with an authentic customer review.
Here’s an example from Bespoke:
You could also use customer testimonials or success stories depending on the industry that you’re in.
5. Proudly display user-generated content (UGC)
An even more powerful way to display social proof is by using the actual images that your customers created. This is what’s called user-generated content or UGC.
Most brands use models or photos made at staged photoshoots to display their products. What’s even more authentic is to display the customers themselves using the product. This is most common in the home decor electronics, and food industries.
Here’s an example of an Instagram ad from Aerie, where they used an image that was made by a customer.
Now, let’s talk about the best practices of displaying the product itself.
6. Showcase your unique packaging
Packaging has become a really unique feature among fashion and apparel brands in the last few years. We’ve seen this with the Allbirds, and how the entire unboxing experience becomes part of their value proposition.
Unboxing is a great way to show the product, and you can use an image or the actual unboxing video in your ad.
Here’s a Facebook ad featuring an unboxing from ThreadBeast.
7. Highlight sustainable practices
Another best practice that we are seeing is the focus on sustainable practices and highlighting the eco-friendliness of eCommerce products. Consumers care about buying products that are made out of recyclable organic materials and are manufactured sustainably.
So if this is one of the major selling points of your brand or product you should create ads that highlight it.
Here’s a great video ad from the Grove Collective that highlights the sustainability of the product but also shows me how to use it.
8. Focus on the benefit to the customer, not your features
One of the greatest marketing principles of all time is this idea of focusing on the value of your product, not its features. And this is certainly true in advertising.
One of the hardest things to do is to focus on the value of your eCommerce product rather than highlighting all the bells and whistles 🔔.
Here are several ways to do that.
First, you can focus on your fast or convenient delivery. Here’s an example of an ad from Warby Parker that shows how easy it is to renew your contacts prescription and order new glasses.
Here’s an engaging video ad from Tula, the skincare company, that shows how to apply their skincare products and the results.
Here’s an example from the electronic accessories space. Rhinoshield makes mobile phone cases, among other things. One of their main features is letting users make their own designs using their own photos.
Here are a few examples. Look how incredible they look, and they didn’t even have to tell me what or how to design them, they just showed me the result.
9. Let the influencers do all the explaining
Last but not least, let’s talk about influencers.
This is by far one of the more powerful best practices, so brace yourself.
Combine everything we just talked about - show me don’t tell me, show the result & benefit to the customer, focus on short videos, etc. - and add an influencer to the mix and you get a high-converting advertisement.
Here’s a great example from Corkcicle.
Instead of focusing on making that one viral creative image or video for your next ad campaign you should pick some of these best practices and test them on your target audience. See how they respond, see which ones get more engagement and higher conversions, and then develop more ads around those same principles.
Pro tip: use the data from your influencer campaigns to create lookalike audiences on Facebook. Just make sure that you’re using the Facebook pixel and everything is set up correctly.
Top Facebook advertising examples
Here are some of the best Facebook ad examples we’ve found from some of the best eCommerce companies in the world.
Dollar Shave Club
This is the iconic video ad that made Dollar Shave Club famous. It’s witty, relatable, and totally out there. Not something you’d expect from a company that sells shavers.
Here’s an example of a Facebook ad that involves “inclusive marketing”. Instead of segmenting their audience ad nauseam, Dollar Shave Club decided to make one ad for both genders.
Adult Acne Solutions
Here’s a great ad that features a customer testimonial and displays an image of the customer. They have the stars and the little verified purchase checkmark, and all the colors work really well together.
Tentree is really good at making video ads that look really organic. It has people talking about their towels and static images mixed in.
Training Mask does a great job of uncovering and addressing customer pain points. Look at this ad.
This video ad is just like a customer testimonial. The entire video features a man talking about the benefits of the product. Customer stories are a really powerful way to create amazing videos that convert.
Here’s an ad from MVMT that shows both a close-up image of the watch and a lifestyle photo showing the person wearing it. Experiment with close-up images and see if you combine them with lifestyle images.
Here’s another example from MVMT. Valentine’s day sales always warm audiences’ hearts. And look at how masterfully they’ve placed the product image and combined it with the lifestyle shot.
Here’s an example of a video where only the product is displayed. Notice the short but sweet text on top and the catchy headline.
Same idea here - short ad copy, one headline, and a video ad that just shows the product from different angles.
If you want to see more examples of some fantastic ads creatives check out our Top eCommerce Ad Creatives slide deck.
Build your ads on a strong foundation
Paid advertising is super powerful for any eCommerce brand and there are a few central lessons that we’ve learned from generating $50M+ from ads for the brands we work with.
Optimize your site for conversions
You need to make sure that your landing pages and product pages make sense, that the content actually converts the traffic that you’re paying for with your ads. Conversion rate optimization is super important for every part of the marketing funnel.
Follow the customer journey closely
It’s important to be the least disruptive to your potential customers when you’re serving them your ads. You should know exactly which ads you display to first-time visitors, to returning visitors, to abandoned cart users, etc. If you’re using native ads make sure that your ad doesn’t disrupt the user experience on the publisher site.
Use best practices for each channel
We can not state this enough. Test out every best practice in the book to get optimal conversions. Do your research and see which trends perform the best for your industry.
For example, if you are on Instagram don’t post only static images. Post videos of your customer success stories, customer unboxing videos, and use influencer marketing whenever possible. If you’re advertising on Facebook you should use your customer stories, press mentions, trust badges, and short videos. Get creative with product photography, ad types and
Check out our 250 Ad Creatives slide deck for more inspiration and ideas.
Continue optimizing as you go along
Avoid ad fatigue by constantly testing new ad formats, CTA’s, and messaging. Test out different types of content and different types of ads - whether that’s a simple image, a carousel, or different video creatives.
This is what big brands like Amazon do until they become world-class. And you can too! We believe in you. And as always, if you ever need any help running your ads, just reach out!