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To develop YouTube’s core ABCDs for creative effectiveness, Google and Ipsos1 studied and deconstructed the creative elements of 17,000 ads to understand which were key to an ad’s success. The study revealed that certain creative elements have a measurable impact on marketing objectives. From these, we determined the ABCDs for Action.

Driving conversions

If you’re already known to your audience and your product, service, or message is familiar to them, it’s time to close the deal. An action ad campaign is all about laying out the terms of your offer and getting the viewer to take you up on it.

To show how a creative team might apply the ABCDs for Action, let’s return to the Fishos storyboard.


A = Attention: Hook the viewer

Just as in the core ABCDs, make sure your ad hooks people right from the start. Try opening with a close-up, starting from the middle of a scene, or upping the contrast. With audio as your superpower, there are many ways to keep receptive audiences engaged.


B = Branding: Make the product the ad

Place all focus on the product. Make sure the product is visible throughout the ad, from start to finish. Use extreme close-ups to show what you’re selling. Try not to let moments of branding distract from the product, which should be the hero of your campaign.

Before: a splashy close-up on a Fisho treat. After: A close-up of a teal green shark fin, then a 3-panel split of a hand grabbing a Fisho from a bag, a splashy close-up on a Fisho treat, and a close-up on a dog’s mouth about to eat the Fisho.

C = Connection: Depict a use case

Be upfront, precise, and credible when explaining the offering. Illustrate specifics. Show and tell how the product will enhance the viewer’s life by depicting it in realistic situations.

In the “before” frame, a woman bends down to give her small dog, who wears a shark costume, a Fishos treat from the bag on the kitchen counter. In the “after” frame, the dog sits in the kitchen next to the enticement, “20 Fishos in every pack.”

D = Direction: Contextualize and incentivize

A call to action is only as strong as its context. Make sure yours relates to the product or offering. Leverage the power of discounts or special offers to turn viewers into customers.

Before: Fishos logo and call to action, “Pick some up at your pet store,” appears in bright, bold type next to a Fishos bag on a kitchen counter. After: A close-up of a dog eating a Fisho is next to the CTA, “Fishos. Treat your hungry Jaws today.”

Now compare the Action version of the ad with the first version. Which one leaves you more inclined to buy your first pack of Fishos?

In the Action version of the Fishos ad, the jaunty background music and standard CTA are replaced by a shark-inspired jingle and an enticing tout to inspire customers to head to the store.