The Complete Guide to Product Ads (2023)

So you’ve got a product to sell and the World Wide Web at your disposal. Both of those are favorable spots to be in:
  • Today, around 76% of U.S. adults shop online. (Cloudwards)
  • It’s estimated that online shops will generate about $563.4 billion in revenue in the U.S. by 2025. (Cloudwards)
  • The global e-commerce market is expected to total $6.3 trillion in 2023, and bounce (way up) to $8.1 trillion by 2026. (Forbes)
With those mouthwatering numbers in mind, let’s take a look at how you can tap into the current and future potential of product marketing using product ads.

Product Advertising and Marketing in a Nutshell

Product marketing is the process of promoting and selling a product to a target market, involving market research, product development, pricing strategies, promotion, and sales. Its purpose is to launch successful products and drive revenue growth.
Product advertising focuses on promoting and creating awareness of a specific product to potential customers through various advertising channels, including word of mouth, digital vehicles, social media, print, and broadcast media. As a subcategory of product marketing, its objective is also to drive sales, as well as to create a strong brand image.
Within product advertising, there are three categories, or types, each of which serves a specific purpose:
  1. Comparative advertising juxtaposes your product with one or more other brands, focusing on specific attributes or features to help people make informed purchase decisions by understanding their options.
  2. Competitive advertising attempts to generate demand for a brand, focusing on the qualities of a product that might not be available in other brands’ similar products. The goal here is to convince consumers that the company’s products are better than its competitors’ options.
  3. Pioneering advertising generates initial demand for a new product. It typically showcases a product’s benefits with the goal of improving awareness.

When to Use Product Advertising

A business should utilize product advertising when:
  • Launching a new product
  • Rebranding an existing product
  • Promoting a high-value or seasonal product
  • Entering a new market
  • Facing increased competition
  • Reviving a declining product line
  • Building brand image and awareness
That being said, a product's stage within the product life cycle determines which type of product advertising to use and when. That life cycle is comprised of five phases:


Purpose: Create a new product.
Objective: Meet customer needs and position for success in the market.
Characterized by: Idea generation, concept testing, business analysis, design and prototyping, testing and refinement, and pre-launch preparation.

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Purpose: Launch the product.
Objective: Establish the product in the market, generate initial sales, and build brand recognition.
Characterized by: Launching the product, building awareness, establishing distribution, acquiring early adopters, and ramping up sales.


Purpose: Increase market share of the product and generate significant revenue.
Objective: Continue driving demand and expanding the product's reach, leading to continued growth and profitability.
Characterized by: Expansion of distribution, market share gains, product differentiation, increased marketing and promotion, and expansion into new market segments.


Purpose: Maintain profitability while proactively identifying and taking advantage of new growth opportunities.
Objective: Extend the product's life and profitability through cost control, product improvements, and market segmentation.
Characterized by: Market saturation, increased competition, cost control, product improvements, market segmentation, and diversification.


Purpose: Make important decisions about the future of the product.
Objective: Manage the decline and extract as much value as possible from the product while minimizing losses.
Characterized by: Decreased demand, price reductions, cost cutting, product discontinuation, harvesting (ie, producing the product and earning revenue without further investment).
With your life-cycle phase ascertained, you’re in the proper position to begin planning and developing your ad campaign. Depending on your target audience and your informed sense of how to reach them, you can then choose one or more of these ad types to convey your messaging:
  1. Digital ads (banner, social media, search)
  2. Influencer marketing
  3. Product placement
  4. Broadcast TV commercials
  5. Print ads (magazines, newspapers)
  6. Out-of-home ads (billboards, transit)
  7. Event sponsorship
  8. Direct mail
  9. Radio commercials
  10. Public relations

Why and How Product Ads Are Different

So, what makes product ads unique compared to other types of ads?
  • Product ads focus on promoting a specific product.
  • Other ads (e.g., brand and corporate ads) focus on promoting overall brand image.
  • Product ads aim to drive sales and generate revenue.
  • Other ads aim to create brand awareness or change consumer behavior.
  • Product ads frequently include product features, benefits and pricing.
  • Other ads focus on creating emotional connections or establishing a brand identity.
  • Product ad success is often measured by sales.
  • Other ads measured by brand recall, awareness, attitudes.
Target audience
  • Product ads target a specific market segment that is more likely to buy.
  • Other ads often target a broader audience.

Benefits of Product Marketing

Through effective promotion and positioning, product marketing and advertising help to build brand equity, increase customer engagement, and drive sales growth. Here’s how that’s accomplished:
  • Increased brand awareness and recognition leads to higher customer consideration, improved customer loyalty, increased sales, and a competitive advantage — and, in turn, enhances the marketing effectiveness and increases the value of the brand, known as brand equity.
  • Increased sales and revenue directly results from successful product positioning, pricing, promotion, and distribution strategies. Effective product marketing can drive demand, increase market share, and ultimately lead to higher sales and revenue for a business.
  • Differentiation from competitors helps a product stand out in the market, making it more attractive to potential customers and increasing brand recognition. By effectively communicating unique value propositions, product marketing can position the product as the preferred choice and set it apart from similar offerings, leading to a competitive advantage.
  • Creation of a positive image and reputation enhances the perception of the brand in the minds of customers, stakeholders, and the market overall. This leads to increased brand equity, trust, and loyalty, which can result in higher customer lifetime value and improved marketing outcomes.
  • Improved customer perception and loyalty results from effective communication of a product's unique value proposition and brand image. This leads to increased customer satisfaction, repeat purchases, and positive word-of-mouth referrals, which can drive demand and support long-term business growth.
  • Increased market share and profitability results from successful product positioning, pricing, promotion, and distribution strategies. By effectively reaching and resonating with the target audience, product marketing can drive demand, increase market share, and ultimately lead to higher sales and revenue, leading to improved profitability.
  • The ability to reach and target specific audiences allows for more effective and efficient allocation of resources and promotion efforts. By understanding and segmenting target audiences, product marketing can tailor messages and offers to specific groups, leading to higher conversion rates and improved marketing outcomes.

What to Pay Attention to When Creating Product Ads

While the creation of product ads is best served by a combination of creativity and pragmatism, the overarching goal is to effectively communicate the value and benefits of the product to potential customers and thereby drive purchase intent. So you want to capture attention, create an emotional connection, highlight the unique benefits and features of the product, and present a clear call-to-action.
Once you’re in ad creation mode, be sure to consider these best practices:
  • Target your audience: Ensure your ad is tailored to your target market and addresses their needs, preferences and pain points.
  • Include a unique value prop: Highlight unique benefits and value that it offers, particularly compared to competitors.
  • Include a strong call to action (CTA): Encourage the audience to make a move — for example, Buy Now, Visit Website, etc.
  • Support your brand image: Ensure your ad reflects your brand’s values, tone, and visual identity.
  • Infuse relevance: Your ad should matter to your target audience, so be cognizant of their needs, interests, and dispositions, along with current events, trends, and cultural context.
  • Leverage timing: Plan timing based on audience behavior and when your potential customers are most likely to purchase.
  • Define measurable objectives: Set clear, measurable goals for your campaign and closely track its performance.
  • Determine a budget: Allocate sufficient spend for your campaign to reach your target audience effectively and achieve the desired results of your objective.

What Great Product Ads and Campaigns Have in Common

Outcomes don’t lie: The consumer world knows and shows when a genius product campaign has been delivered to them. Products “scream off the shelf,” revenue figures go ballistic, awards pour in. Some of the most prime examples, (well worth emulating, by the way): Apple’s “Think Different;” Nike’s “Just Do It”; Samsung’s “The Next Big Thing;” and De Beers: “A Diamond Is Forever.”
While each of those differ significantly from each other, they all share this set of commonalities:
  • Emotional appeal
  • Simple, memorable messaging
  • Unique brand identity
  • Relevance to the target audience
  • Creativity
  • Consistency (in messaging, visuals, tone)
  • Strong CTAs
  • Reiteration and reinforcement
Even at the smallest scale, nothing stands in the way of your business using the same set of gold-standard nuts and bolts to set your brand up for a shot at supercharged results. Emulation is free for anyone to pursue.

Why Snapchat is Ideal for Product Advertising

Whether or not you have experience in the wild world of product marketing, Snapchat Ads can help you accelerate the success of what it is your business brings to market. We offer:
  • A massive and highly engaged worldwide user base, particularly among younger generations.
  • Interactive ad formats such as Lenses, Filters, and AR experiences that allow for immersive and engaging brand experiences.
  • Highly targeted, objective-driven ad campaigns based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and location.
  • Detailed metrics and analytics to measure the performance of ad campaigns and track key metrics such as reach, engagement, and conversions.
  • Dynamic creative that can be updated in real-time based on user behavior and performance data.