If you see these ads on your Instagram feed, you will most likely pause to have a clearer look. We, at afaqs! spotted a new ad format, where marketers are using only half of the space of an Instagram ad, making it look like its content is spilling over the white space of the Instagram feed.
It's not just brands that are utilising this form of ads. Recently, film actor Akshay Kumar put out a post on his Instagram account to promote his latest film, Mission Mangal.
Rajiv Dingra, founder of WATConsult pointed out that he has earlier seen content with similar format on Facebook. This kind of content is called thumb-stopping, he informs us, and points out that it’s a novelty until it becomes the norm.
“Garnering attention is not equal to garnering ROI. The message itself needs to have some meaning for the user. Depending on the information, the ad has the ability to generate a click through,” says Dingra.
Touching upon the creative aspect, he points out that the difference in perspective while shooting is what makes it look like it has depth and creates an optical illusion of content spilling on to your feed.
“Basically, agencies are thinking of ways to integrate features like ‘shop now’ and have a finger point towards it. Or to make a creative that makes people curious about what is happening in the visual,” he tells us.
The creatives go through a round of being photoshopped in order to fit into the right dimensions of an Instagram ad. “No matter what camera angle or video you shoot, the visuals can’t physically look like that. That’s why it has to go through photoshop,” Dingra explains.
“These ads are a part of leveraging the features of the platform, given the short attention span that users have – hardly a second or two while they are scrolling through their feed. These are ads that leverage creativity to make the user stop and view the ad. It’s useful till you repeat the same idea again and again. You need to come up with new ways of leveraging the feed. Repeating the same format may not work every time,” Dingra states.
Raghu Bhat, founder, Scarecrow M&C Saatchi points out that using creatives in this manner is a new way of adapting a creative according to the digital medium.
In the initial days of digital advertising, a static creative would be fit into a mobile ad and the new format is illustrative of that trend changing. “Art directors and visualisers are now specifically thinking of creatives according to the medium,” Bhat offers.
“It’s not earth-shatteringly clutter cutting, but it’s evolution for sure. In the future, we’re going to see much better and more compelling formats. Compared to what we used to do in the past, it’s an improvement for sure,” he adds.
Bhat admits that he liked the creativity of the ads. “Creativity is a journey and it's important to keep experimenting and keep pushing the envelope (quite literally in this case!) One should not be overtly critical or analytical when someone tries to experiment. It may not give you spectacular results, but efforts like this should be applauded because it’s trying to break the mould in some way.”
“The creative itself is the biggest weapon you have if you want to be a thumbstopper. The main storytelling needs to happen within the 60-70 per cent of the ad space that you have in your hands to utilise,” he says .
He reminds us that the first rule of creativity is that in order to break the rules, you need to fully know them. “You need to understand the boundary of your creative and the context very clearly. In this case, the amount of space available to you and a clear understanding of how content looks on different screen sizes is essential. You have a narrow corridor to exercise your creativity since the boundaries are so well-defined. It forces you to think harder," he explains.
"Before you even get started, you need to arm yourself with a lot of analytical information – about the amount of available space for the visual, the amount of information you can give out, the number of words that can fit in the creative, and so on… the creative person has to juggle creativity and analytical information at the same time."
There are stages to get an audience to click through your creative. “First of all, it should make you pause. We are used to this constant flicking action of the thumb so that visual needs to be telepathic enough to communicate with you within a second and make you pause. Once you’ve made the viewer pause, the visual needs to have the quality of making the viewer feel like he wants to know more about it – it should evoke that response. These kinds of ads that break the mould will lead to heightened responses for sure,” he emphasises.
Bhat also stresses on the fact that users will respond only as long as the format doesn't become jaded, beyond which, the consumer will start expecting more.