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As Halloween approaches, marketers must be cautious to remember the tales of woe from the bad display ad campaigns of the past. Otherwise the ideas behind those failed campaigns may rise again to terrify users all over the web.

Protect your audience and ask yourself — are these scary creatures lurking beneath your advertising?

Antisocial Ads

Do your ads play well with others? Or do they tell your brand story in a vacuum? Social functions within ads can help grow social engagement. They can also make ads feel approachable and familiar. Yet, only 1-in-8 ads are socially enabled. This points to a major opportunity to create synergy between social channels and rich media. When you promote content at scale in rich media, users may want to share or follow your innovative campaign. Without the proper functionality or hashtags, you risk missing out on earned media and pushing them away.

Rotting, Stale Ads

How old is your ad creative or content? To accomplish big feats of storytelling, brands can start planning ad campaigns as long as a year in advance. As time gets closer to running the campaign, do the ideas and messages still seem like they will resonate? If not, maybe it's time for some retooling. Content on the web moves fast, so consider some level of agile marketing. Build in processes to ensure that when the time comes to tell your brand stories in ads, they’re not full of old, irrelevant ideas.

The Broke Gambler

Some unlucky advertisers bankrupt their campaigns by betting the entire media buy on a single creative. Why slot in your design and cross your fingers when creative optimization is so simple? When you test versions and optimize, you can make small investments that significantly improve overall campaign performance. Better yet, conduct smart experiments and you may discover best practices to use on future campaigns.

The Lifeless Ad

Is your ad a stoney, lifeless banner? A slogging zombie? Or is it an interactive experience with video, social elements and other enjoyable content? Beware if your ads feel dead inside because they don’t do anything, or offer anything of value. Your audience may sense the ad’s lack of soul, and stay away. But if you offer interactivity, information, and entertainment, your lively content can generate some real interest.

The Importance of Tricks and Treats

For kids, Halloween is a holiday centered around the delight of the imagination and the thrill of trick-of-treating. When users see your ad, don’t show them a boring dark house with the porch light off. Give away tricks and treats that will create a lasting memories.