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Design, Social Media, Strategy

How to succeed with your D2C social ads — and 6 creative styles your brand must try

With privacy and tracking changes making audiences broader, it’s never been more important to use the right creative. So, if your business sells direct-to-consumer, give these six styles a whirl…

Social media accounted for 33% of all digital advertising spend last year. If you’re a brand who reaches target customers using social media advertising, getting your creative just right ought to be a top priority. But how can we do that when targeting is broader and more challenging than ever?

Testing, testing - why creative testing is your best friend in 2023

Targeting niche and/or specific audiences has become increasingly difficult following a multitude of changes to privacy and tracking. Enter creative testing. This is one of the best ways to circumvent the difficulties posed by the issues of finding your consumers among broad audiences, allowing you to reduce reliance on liquidity and machine learning and ensure you’re still able to get in front of the right customers.

Keep it human and relatable

You should aim to create something that’s impactful as an ad creative, but also authentic. Here, influencers and user generated content (UGC) is your friend. A key trend in social advertising is POV shots, so we always recommend trying to get a mix of these and other styles, like having someone talk directly to camera.

Utilising people in your ads is not only relatable, but consumer UGC and influencers send a key trust signal about your and your product or service. We talk a lot more about this in our recent blog on what it means to humanise your brand.

When choosing people to feature in your ads, try to showcase your audience in your creative, reflect them back at themselves so they too can see a world where they will use and benefit from your product or service. For example, if your product appeals to Gen Z, feature them in that creative work with the use of Gen Z influencers. Similarly, if your product appeals to a broad range of customers, make sure diversity is highlighted.

As we mentioned in our blog about levelling up your social ad creative, if appropriate for your brand, be sure to cater for a range of ages, sizes, ethnicities, family setups, and even varied pet breeds - not everyone has a golden retriever!

So, what kind of creative will have the best chances of disrupting the feed and grabbing the attention of your audience. Without further ado, here are our social media experts’ six ad creative types for you to try out on your D2C brand.

6 social media ad creative styles & ideas to try as a B2C brand

1. The problem solver

In the fight for brand equity and market share, your brand has to be the one most adept at answering consumer questions and being the one to solve whatever their current problem is. Show them in your creative what your product is going to do to make their lives that bit easier, save them time, or boost their productivity.

A great example from the Extreme client portfolio is this ad created by our client Numatic International, home of the iconic Henry vacuum. When launching the new stick vacuum, they’ve simply and effectively pointed out why this vac is a good idea and highlighted its benefits when compared with traditional units.

A simple example of ad creative showing the problem solved by Henry Quick vacuum cleaner - dust-free emptying.
Example of an ad showing how a product can solve a problem.

2. The feature call out

This format works really well across multiple industries. Focus on features that you consider to be the key benefits and add value to the customer. Think about what you want to tell your customers, but also think about what they’d be looking for. If there is a specific feature you want to maximise awareness of because you know it will appeal, put it front and centre.

Our client Bonza offers nutritionally balanced vegan dog food, so we made this post to showcase its benefits when stacked against a traditional dog food product. This is a simple, effective way to get across very quickly all the reasons why owners should or might consider switching and for anyone on the fence, this kind of post can really stop the scroll and get people thinking/converted!

An example of ad creative showing the features of Bonza’s dog food range over average dog food.
Example of ad showing product features.
Example of ad showing product features.
Example of ad showing product features.
Example of ad showing product features.

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3. The education ad

Not everyone is ready to buy right now, so the hard sell doesn’t always work. Rather than trying to sell your customers something, teach them something instead. This works really well for placements like Reels and TikTok, as often a customer could be halfway through the video before realising it’s an ad. This provides a heightened customer experience; you’re creating an approachable brand and product whilst also educating the customer why your product is for them.


Do you follow a plant-based or flexitarian diet? Ever thought about feeding your dog the same? Introducing Bonza, the newest plant-based pet food brand! @Bonza #bonzadogfood#dogsofbonza#dognutrition#plantbasednutrition#vegandog#savetheplanet#vegandogfood

♬ Stories - Lux-Inspira

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4. The founder story

Are you a small business or start up? Is your founder passionate about what they do? Now is the time to employ the human element of the brand we spoke about earlier. This is a great way to make your brand relatable, interesting and to make consumers feel like they know you, which is important for trust building.

Owing to the fact that there are very personal reasons behind the creation of this brand, Bonza again does this brilliantly, aiming to celebrate good health for dogs and for the planet.

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5. The social proof ad

This is one of the most powerful kinds of creative and it involves letting your customers do the selling for you. This means reviews and testimonials - social proof. Your new, soon-to-be customer will always trust another user or consumer over you, so let them speak for you. Build those passionate connections filled with warm and fuzzy feelings and lots of trust and loyalty!

An example of social media ad creative showing good use of social proof and user-generated content.

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6. The incentive ad

This is perhaps the obvious one, but that does not mean you shouldn’t utilise it. This might mean free delivery, money off, subscribe and save, etc. When it comes down to it, sometimes customers need an incentive to get them over the line - remember they have external circumstances and pressures all the time like waiting for payday! Don’t be afraid to put this front and centre, but do make sure your website is optimised to make checkout easier so you don’t lose them at the final hurdle.

An example of social media ad creative from Bonza with a 30% off discount incentive.
Example of ad showing incentive to purchase.
Example of ad showing incentive to purchase.

Succeeding with your D2C social ad campaigns: engage, inspire and inform

When people aged 16 to 64 were asked what their main reasons for using social media were, nearly 28% indicated that it was to find inspiration for things to do or buy - so you need to be there and be committed to drawing their focus and funds to your products.

Naturally there are other important considerations and things you must do as well as generate great creative. For example, don’t forget to tag your products, utilise things such as TikTok product catalogues, and don’t neglect your landing pages. If your consumers have made that click through then reward them with a simple process to get what they came for and checkout simply, or your efforts risk being wasted.

If you think you could benefit from a helping hand with all this, our team of social media experts would be delighted to help. Use the button below or reach us through our contact page.

Looking for some expert advice and assistance reaching your audiences?

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Post by

Laura col


Paid Social Strategist

Laura joined Team Extreme in 2017 and through the years has refined her social media skills to become our Paid Social Strategist. She works with our social clients to plan and execute content across a broad range of sectors and channels, helping clients maximise their results and ROI.

Post by

Sally W headshot cropped


Social Media Designer

As our dedicated Social Media Designer, you'll find Sally behind either behind a screen or behind the lense capturing the essense of all the brands we work with. As Extreme's star baker, you might also find her in the kitchen cooking and styling dishes to look mouthwateringly delicious. If you ever find yourself drooling on your phone, that's probably one of Sally's creations!

Post by

Headshot Donna col


Head of Social

Since forming Extreme’s social media department back in 2012, our Head of Social Donna and her team’s work has been recognised nationally. With extensive experience spanning mutiple sectors, Donna specialises in social strategy, ideation and paid social advertising.

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