Top 10 Paid Social Ads of 2022

Mary Boyagi
December 29, 2022

2022 Recap: Notable Trends & Learnings in Paid Social

  • This year has introduced a shift of power from established influencers to creators of all levels. Polished and safe content is out; UGC from Milwaukee moms is very much in. Work with content creators who are your audience for ads that really resonate.
  • New trends pop up by the hour as consumers use stickers, songs, tags, filters, glitter, and more to create engaging posts. Don’t hop on every trend train. Instead, pay attention to how people talk to each other. Ads that use native elements (headlines in Instagram fonts, TikTok transitions, Ask Me Anything Q&As) perform better.
  • Digital native consumers love digital native content. Ads that mimic interactions on our precious iPhones consistently perform. Most noteworthy are the ads that look like screenshots of the Notes App and iMessage conversations.
  • We’re hearing more song and sound-centric ads with the rise of TikTok and Reels. Adding a background soundtrack, a TikTok voiceover, and/or sound effects increases engagement as more people are now scrolling SOUND ON 🔊.
  • Format testing is so hot right now. We’ve noticed many a brand reworking concepts to be static or video, square or full screen, etc. to see which format performs best.

And now (🥁🥁🥁🥁), here are 10 brands who aren’t just paying attention and keeping up, but are evolving and leading in this ever-changing landscape of creative experimentation.

1. BetterHelp

Why has the 1-person-playing-2-people execution remained popular since the ancient days of Vine? For one, it’s easy to produce. Any creator can film in this style from anywhere. But doing it well is a more nuanced art. This ad is Ayesha Siddiqi’s quote, “be the person you needed when you were younger,” with product placement (and we don’t mean that in a bad way). So much humanity is packed into this fast-paced, funny, poignant, and relatable masterpiece. It is the pinnacle of what is possible for UGC work.

Full version here

2. Hopper

Hopper’s Ads Library page is a goldmine for paid social inspiration. Just about anyone with an iPhone is going to recognize the Notes app, while the “Overheard in…” format speaks the dialect of the target audience. Including prices is the icing on this layer cake of an ad.

3. Thesis

Reality TV tears for the hook! 🪝 Dramatic but relatable, Thesis speaks to a human truth and then backs it up. We’ve found that starting with a negative and following up with a positive is a solid formula. If you’ve got that raw emotion, flaunt it.

Full version here

4. Awkward Essentials

This spot is just dripping with innuendo. In less than 1 second you know you’ll be watching ‘til the end. Innuendo works in advertising because it is a form of indirect communication - skirting platform guidelines and making inside jokes with the audience. Awkward Essentials brilliantly balances it out with direct components like the 4-step how-to explanation and CTA.

Full version here

5. kencko

You get a smoothie! And you get a smoothie! Kencko uses a little self-aware humor to reach both its target audience (moms) and literally everyone else (unless you somehow were never a kid). It’s a delicious example of creative-based targeting that also rewards readers with a chuckle or two. Smooth.

6. Nurx

Ah, the good old sticky note approach! This is a strategy that’s surprisingly effective for UGC-style ads. An adorable pink square, a fat magic marker, the pleasure of the peel… it all just works! They make the content feel more organic, and you can’t not read them. Admit it — you’ve read a sticky on someone else’s desk as you walked past... You can’t help it. Here, Nurx sprinkles in a little motion to help catch your eye, too!

Full version here

7. sheertex

This striking visual gets your attention right away. Inverting color schemes with negatives is a brilliant and sexy way to highlight elasticity. Plus, there is plenty of shock factor at play as sharp objects showcase product durability. Language centered around limited availability and a closing window of opportunity (”WE’RE SELLING OUT FAST”) drives buying behavior for anyone who needs additional convincing.

Full version here

8. Solgaard

You know those TikTok trends that get millions of views? They’re effective in ads too. Solgaard uses the “throwing clothes” trend to stop the scroll without diverting attention away from the product featured front and center. A subtle demonstration and listed value props seal the deal. Any suitcase that keeps 229 plastic bottles out of our oceans piques our interest!

Full version here

9. Lovevery

Here’s a secret: starting with “here’s my secret…” is a sure way to get someone’s attention. But you better have a secret worth sharing or you’re going to lose your audience. This ad has tips for parents that actually feel authentic, which is a must when you’re making UGC content. Anything else feels cringy because no one likes a sellout. There’s also the brilliant angle at 0:31, where we really see the product’s effect on kids. From the direct tactics to the Petite Biscuit song, we can honestly say that we Lovevery part of this ad.

Full version here

10. The Ridge

This ad uses a tactic we’ve found to be very performant: starting with the negative. Drilling, cutting, blending (?) a shitty wallet definitely drives home the cons of a poorly made product. Filmed at home and edited with familiar techniques like the snap transition, the brand feels approachable. There’s also the inclusion of direct elements like testimonials and 5-star reviews. Even though they’re scrolled through quickly, they push you over the edge and into clicking the ATC button.

Full version here

Feeling ad envy?

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