7 tips from a PPC expert on creating killer ecommerce ads

Simon Freeman
minute read
Written By
Simon Freeman
August 7, 2023

Want to sell your products and grow your brand? You'll need to run advertising campaigns. Period. But if done badly, you could easily blow your marketing budget without any return to show for it.

As a freelance PPC expert, I spend the majority of my time inside various ad platforms creating and optimising campaigns for my clients. In this post, I want to offer some tips that’ll help you create better ads, and optimise your paid content to encourage conversions. 

Why aren’t your ads converting? 

Already creating ads, but not converting prospects? Here’s two of the most common mistakes I see brands making with their creative. 

It’s in the wrong format 

Make sure your creative is in the correct format for the channel. It’s tricky to create content that fits the specific requirements of different advertising platforms, but it’s important you do.. The last thing you want is important information to be cut off when displayed in-feed.

I suggest taking the time to make sure your creatives either suit all channel formats or create different versions customised to each format. 

Your ad looks too much like an ad 

Social media is social. Nobody wants to feel like they’re being marketed to by a corporation (even if they are). Make sure your posts aren’t too slick and polished and are trying too hard to sell. Tap into the social aspect of the platform - for example, people respond well to user-generated content and photography that’s been taken on a smartphone. Not striving for perfection could actually do you a service!

Keep in mind that if a person spends an hour or two on a social media platform per day (and let’s be honest, people spend a lot more than that) they’ll see hundreds of ads. How are you going to make sure that your ad is the one that has an impact? 

I can assure you that if your ad looks like a typical ad, it’s very likely to be scrolled past without a second thought. Keep reading for my tips on creating ads that’ll stop the scroll. 

7 tips on creating ads that convert 

I work with brands every day to create ads that will help them convert prospects into paying customers. Here are some things I’ve learned that you can take away with you and start implementing today. 

1. Make a compelling offer 

When we talk about offers, we’re not necessarily talking about money. An offer can be anything that refers to a customer feeling like they’re getting exceptional value. This could be through the quality of the product, what the product does for them, or how it makes them feel. Once you figure this out, make sure you show it off in your ad.

For example, one of my clients, Thread the Word, sells personalised baby blankets. In each ad they promote the uniqueness of every product by showing the baby names on their blankets. They also speak directly to their target audience (new mothers and parents-to-be) and use a customer photo for added social proof. 

Thread the Word Meta ad

Again, your offer comes back to making sure your ad is the one that has an impact amidst the countless other ads they see every day. You need to make sure your offer is compelling and that there’s a really strong perception of value for the customer.  

2. Keep your ad creative simple 

Your ad creative needs to be understandable to your audience. The best way to have someone keep scrolling is to bombard them with too much visual information. So keep it simple. Take one of my clients, The Keto Collective, a health food brand that sells snacks for people following a keto diet. They’re a fantastic example of how sometimes simplicity can be the key to a successful ad. 

The ad below has been running for over two years. The image was shot on a smartphone by the brand owner and the copy is clear, simple and has a compelling offer (15% off and free shipping). 

Blog images  (800 × 1024px) (2) (1)

As long as your creative speaks to your audience and you have a good product market fit, even the simplest ad campaigns should gain some traction.

3. Tell a story with video content

Video content that tells a story is a fantastic way to humanise your brand and build a connection with your audience. Let’s look at an example from IMPOSSIBREW, an alcohol-free beverage brand. This brand does a fantastic job of creating video and image content that complement each other really well.
This ad is running across Meta platforms and has acted as a great first touch introducing potential customers to the brand in a non-salesy way. 

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The key elements of this video are: 

  • Clear brand proposition: IMPOSSIBREW is not just another small beer company. They recognise how hard it is to compete with the big-name brands that dominate the market. So they’ve found a solution that helps them stand out against the market leaders whilst offering a healthier alternative. 
  • Consumer pain points: They know that people want to unwind with a pint, but they don’t necessarily want the alcohol. 
  • Memorable content: Not many people know that lots of beer labels are owned by the same company. This fact alone makes the content memorable, meaning people are more likely to share it.

Once we started building impressions and getting click-throughs to the website, we served up static image retargeting ads on Meta and Google to encourage conversion further down the funnel. Jump to the end of the next section to take a peek at IMPOSSIBREW’s static image content. 

4. Make a visual impact with static content 

Your mission is to stop somebody from scrolling through their social feed—that should be your top priority. For me, the key to doing this is visual impact. Most people will be viewing a social media platform feed either against a white or black background so if you're using an image ad, you need to use colours that contrast and stand out. 

IMPOSSIBREW consistently uses stand-out visuals in their campaigns. 


These ads are bold, impactful and immediately recognisable when you see them on your feed. The callouts and headlines help customers to know exactly how the product is going to make them feel. 

5. Make use of customer reviews 

You might know your brand, but you’re not your customer. Pay attention to the questions your customers are asking and the reviews they’re leaving—this could help inform your ad content and optimise your campaigns. Here are some ways to make the most of your customer reviews in your ads: 

  • User-generated content (UGC): Customer reviews can make great UGC. Showcasing a positive review in your ad creative will help you build trust with potential buyers.  
  • Pick out phrases from reviews: Look at the questions and comments your customers are making about your brand. That could be on social media or on review sites. If one customer is thinking something then others are likely to be as well. So a great way to create ad copy is to take ideas from these reviews. For example, if you’re a food brand and customers are asking if there’s any added sugar in your products, you could create a retargeting ad with the headline: “🤔 Did you know we don't add any sugar to our products🍴?"

6. Optimise your landing page 

Do not underestimate the importance of your landing page— this is an integral part of ensuring that your customers convert. Your landing page should reinforce the ad your prospect has seen, so they feel like they’re having a continuous experience. 

Most of the time in ecommerce, dropping your potential customer onto the product page is the best approach. Take the health food brand, Vive, as an example. Their Facebook ads promote their ‘starter bundles’—a selection of protein bars for new customers who want to sample different flavours. Here’s a peek at their Meta ad:

Vive Facebook ad

When you click through to their website, you’re taken to a product page that’s clearly pitched at new customers. The page uses imagery similar to the ad creative to provide a continuous experience and the USPs are clear and compelling. There’s also a clever upsell graphic on the page to encourage a second purchase. 

Vive landing page


The better you optimise your ad pages for conversion, the less money you’ll waste on ad spend.

7. Take advantage of AI 

Love it or hate it, AI certainly has its uses: like using the paid version of Chat GPT4 to help generate ad copy.

You can ask it to analyse your product pages and, with some carefully thought-out prompts, generate some fantastic ad copy. Here are some examples of prompts you could use, split into different categories:

  • Audience-oriented prompts: Specify who the target audience is for your copy. This will help the AI tailor the language, tone, and content of the copy to suit that audience. For instance: “Write a product description for a high-end gaming laptop targeted at professional gamers. The target market is males aged 25 to 45.”
  • Objective-oriented prompts: Be clear about the objective of the copy. Is it to sell a product, convince the reader of an argument, inform them about a topic, or something else? For example: "Write an email persuading potential customers to sign up for a free trial of our project management software."
  • Tone and style prompts: Indicate the desired tone and style of the copy. Should it be formal or casual? Conversational or academic? Exciting or calming? For example: "Write a playful and catchy tagline for a children's toy store."
  • Format-specific prompts: Specify the format you want your copy. Is it a blog post, a product description, an email or a social media post? For example: "Write a concise and engaging Instagram post promoting our upcoming summer fashion collection."
  • Industry-Specific Prompts: Include specific information related to your industry if it's necessary for the AI to understand the context. For example: “Write a blog post explaining the benefits of using renewable energy for a company in the solar industry."

And for the ultimate prompt? Combine several of these together to form a really clear, targeted instruction. For example:

"Write an Instagram post. Act as a social media manager for an ecommerce brand selling healthy breakfast cereal. The target market is women aged 25 to 65—but don’t use pronouns. The style of the brand is fun and quirky, but the copy is clear, concise and contains one CTA. Use few emojis where appropriate."

Here’s the result:

Create prompts using AI

You’ll want to tweak the copy and make sure it aligns with your brand voice, but it’s a great starting point if you’re stuck on a blank page. 

How to launch and run your ad campaigns 

Now you know how to create ads that convert, what should you do to get your campaigns live?

Understand your customer journey

Your customer journey can heavily influence your ad strategy. Very rarely does a customer see a single ad and then immediately make a purchase on your website. Instead, they’ll see several ads over a period of time. It might look something like this:

  1. A customer first sees your video ad on Facebook. They don't click through to your website but they watch the video to the end.
  2. Because they finished watching the video, you can consider this an early sign of interest. They are then targeted with more Facebook ads. 
  3. On their 7th ad, they decide to click through to your website. 
  4. They spend a few minutes on your website but they don't purchase anything. 
  5. Now they’ve been to your website, Google can retarget them with some display ads. 
  6. A few days or weeks later, they decide they need your product, so they head to Google, search for your product and click on a shopping ad. 
  7. Finally, they make a purchase and become a customer. 🎉

Of course, every customer’s journey will be different. But as a starting point, think about where a customer first learns about your brand. Do you already have a strong presence on Instagram or Pinterest, for example? From here map out the different channels they might go to every day to decide where to place your ads. You can then test and tweak your touchpoints as you learn more about your buyers. 

Pick appropriate ad channels 

If you’re on a tight budget, you probably don’t want to spend money on every single ad platform. And the platform you use will depend on your brand and what you’re selling. As a general rule, I recommend that growing ecommerce brands focus on the following platforms: 

  • Meta: Start with Facebook and Instagram. Generally speaking, both platforms have a very high number of user numbers with a higher degree of purchasing power. Take a read of Dash's posts about Instagram ads and Facebook ads for more inspo. 
  • Google Ads: If you’re running Facebook ads but a prospect doesn’t click through to your website immediately, there’s a chance they might Google your brand or product later down the line. If you’re not running Google ads on your brand search terms, but your competitors are, you run the risk of sending your prospect to a competitor page instead. Bottom line: I’d always recommend running these two ad platforms side by side. 
  • Pinterest: If it's relevant to your brand, I’d highly recommend Pinterest. This is a platform people use to get ideas and inspiration. People might be looking to renovate their home, or a new recipe for a special occasion. They’ll be searching for specific phrases and keywords so you can use Pinterest keyword search campaigns to help your ads show in relevant search results. It’s like the best parts of social advertising and search advertising combined. 

Gather inspiration from ad libraries

If you’re stuck on where to get started with your ad creatives, consider browsing the various ad platforms and ad libraries—like the Facebook ad library.  

An indication that an ad is performing well is if the creative has been running for more than two months. If this is the case—and this is especially true for big brands—you can be fairly sure that the ad is generating a decent return for the brand. This is a great starting point for you to gather inspiration for your own ads.

Get an expert on board 

If you have the budget, I recommend hiring an expert for anything that’s not in your skillset. Can anyone throw up a Facebook Ad, or create a Google ads campaign? Yes, absolutely—and you may get a decent result at the start. But optimising ad platforms to scale your brand, without wasting ad spend takes a particular skill set. I’ve been running ads for over a decade and I still learn an incredible amount each week in terms of how to get the best results for my clients. 

💡For a deep dive into creating ad campaigns, read Amy's post that covers lots of ad strategies for ecommerce brands

Create better ad creatives for your brand 

And there we have it: my top tips for creating ads that convert. One thing you should always remember when running campaigns is that consistency is key. Most brands don't see instant success the day they launch their ads. Ad platforms take time to optimise so be patient, be consistent and the results will follow.

If you need help creating ads for your brand or managing and scaling your ad accounts, and you’d like to get an expert on board, feel free to get in touch with me on LinkedIn or via my website, Welcome to Digital.

Wondering how to store and share all those ad creatives you’re about to produce? Dash can help. Make sure to take out a 14-day free trial

Simon Freeman

Simon Freeman is a freelance PPC expert with over 15 years of experience helping brands scale sustainably through campaigns that have an impact and deliver results.

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Simon Freeman

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