The Story Behind Ads

The 3 Types of Ads and Why Some Fail While Others Succeed

By Raunak Agarwal

All adverts aren’t the same, and they can be classified based on their intended reaction from the audience. Adverts that succeed are created from the intended reaction from the audience. Let me explain.

There’s no such thing as a perfect advert. Even advertising legends and top copywriters often make blunders. They sometimes assume everything is going to be right on an ad and it’s not. In other cases, they think very little about an ad and it does very well.

Advertising is psychology. It’s being able to trigger the right decision from an audience. The biggest mistake businesses make is that they do what looks good to them and not what will trigger their audience to do what they want.

There are three classes of adverts I’ve discovered. These classifications are based on the reaction from the audience. The three reactions are:

  • Awareness
  • Instant buy
  • Talk about the ad

The problem most businesses face is figuring out how to create an ad that brings about the desired reaction.

1. Awareness


An ad for awareness is basically to make the audience conscious of the existence of the brand, product, or service.

An ad designed for awareness won’t lead directly to sales. It’s often the first set of ads that introduce a new product or brand to the public. The purpose is to let the public know and become familiar with the product.

An ad for awareness typically isn’t very creative — it’s often standard and simple. It’s to reach non-customers and to prime future customers. A good awareness ad is aligned with something that makes it stick easily to the mind. This kind of ad contains no offers.

A great example is a billboard ad. And this is a good one:

Photo by Fox on Unsplash

2. Instant Buy

This is a kind of ad that directly leads to sales. Its intention is to make the audience buy or grab the offer of the ad.

After a good number of people are aware of the product or brand through an awareness ad, they need this type of ad to make them buy.

The core of this type of ad is in the offer. In fact, the offer is almost the point of the ad. It’s basically what the customer is gaining or losing by making a buying decision now. This kind of ad needs to be tracked to be certain of its effectiveness.

The instant buy ad appeals to prospective customers, and it could appeal to non-customers if the offer is very enticing. This type of ad includes time discounts, price slashes, free add-ons, free trials, bonuses, buy one and get one free, and other emotional buying triggers.

A great example is a webpage ad. This is also a good example:

Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash

3. Talk About the Ad

This type is just as important as the previous two. This ad isn’t appealing to non-customers or the public. Instead, it’s appealing to the customers and fans. This is the creative side of advertising.

Many times, businesses forget about their already acquired customers and only chase new customers. And oftentimes, they lose on both fronts. Acquiring a new customer is good, but keeping an old customer is more important. An ad like this helps you keep your old customers.

In an ad like this, you celebrate your customer’s choice. You make them feel like they’ve made the smartest decision in the world. You give them something to talk about. This kind of ad turns first-time buyers into fans that openly associate with your product and brand.

A great example is a TV ad.

In summary, these three classes of ads make people aware of your business, buy, and then talk about the ad. To have a successful marketing campaign, the types of ads should be done in the right sequence. The awareness first, then the buy, and then the one worth sharing.

Adverts fail because they mix up the sequence of their ads. They start out with ‘talk about it’ ads, then try awareness, and then get into ‘instant buy’ out of desperation.

Following this proper sequence of ads will allow any business to acquire and retain customers systematically and without stress.

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