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Stop With the Silly CTR Tricks: How to Think Like a Direct Response Marketer

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Alright, I’ve been bottling this one up for awhile but it’s time for me to vent a little bit.

You know that your creative needs to attract attention quickly, that’s no surprise to anyone. Too many marketers on Facebook are trying to accomplish this by essentially “tricking” the end user – adding things like red borders or half naked women because they read in a Facebook for dummies marketing course that’s how to achieve a higher CTR and lower ad fees.

This is what people don’t understand about highly effective marketing: creativity in advertising can’t be borrowed. If you’re doing something with your creative like adding red borders because you heard it’s a best practice or an ‘easy’ way to get more clicks for less money please stop doing this immediately.

This information gets recirculated in forums, coaching programs, meetup groups, and other places where marketers go to learn. It doesn’t take long for these types of ‘tricks’ to become so diluted and overused that not doing these things makes you stand out more than doing them.


Sure, the first person to start adding colored borders to RHS ads on Facebook probably killed it for a long time, but now it’s so overdone that tactic is essentially useless. This is why innovation and creativity must be unique to your campaigns and not borrowed from what you heard works well. Look for unexplored angles, look at what people are running and how you can be different, focus on value and product quality instead of trying the spray-and-pray pick me tactics that are so prevalent on Facebook.

Just to drive this point home, take a look at the ads throughout this post. How attention grabbing are they really when everyone is doing the same thing? These are exactly how the ads were displayed on my profile – all at once using this “high CTR” strategy they probably read on a blog or in some dated Facebook training.

Before I hear about how this post is counter-intuitive to my post on how I achieved a lower CPA for CrazyEgg using a scroll bar in my creative, hopefully you understand the difference. When I created those ads, I looked at what everyone else was doing and found a way to zig where everyone else zagged. Nobody was running ads similar to ours and we used these primarily in retargeting efforts, so the prospect had exposure to the brand already, we just had to get them back on the site to sign up for a free trial.

Don’t be a “me too.” Your competitive advantage as a marketer should be you. Your creativity, insight, unique strategy and ability to find an angle that works should be your competitive advantage, not some silly trick that will decay in effectiveness over time.


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