Static Ads Playbook: Using Static Ads in Your Creative Strategy

Can you build an 8-figure DTC brand only using static ads? 


That’s what we learned from the founders of Obvi. 

And while all marketing advice is contextual (I personally love making video creative!), I found their story to challenge some of my long-held assumptions about needing to default to video ads. 

So if you’re looking for a faster path to revenue growth that never requires you to hit that red record button, you’ll enjoy today’s post all about static ads. 

How Obvi used static ads to reach $40M in sales

Ankit Patel and Ashvin Melwani are the dream performance team. 

They’ve spent a collective $100M on Facebook ads, helping some of the best brands in DTC grow like crazy.

They've also built their own company—bootstrapping their health and wellness brand Obvi to $40M in 40 months with over 250K global customers, physical distribution in Walmart, and a massively popular Obvi Facebook community with 80,000 members.

Why video ads might be slowing your DTC growth

“We used to be so heavy with video ads, especially during the UGC craze,” says Ashvin Melwani. 

Over time, the UGC video style became saturated. And they noticed a major change happening last summer. 

Their performance flattened. So they tried hiring a bunch of UGC creators to make new video content and spent a ton of money. But still, performance was sluggish. 

They needed to try something new. 

They remembered they had a large library of product shots they hadn’t done much with. 

Slowly, they started to turn that photography into static ads, adding more and more statics into their ad accounts. 

And so, the balance of video vs. static in their account started to shift. 

Today, the majority of their ads are statics. 

“In the past year, we’ve done a total of three video ads. The rest is static,” Ash told us.

This return to statics mirrors how they initially found traction. 

“We went from $200K in sales to $5M in the early days—all with static ads,” says Ash. “It wasn’t even until year three that we started adding video into our ad accounts. And those were not even polished videos, just UGC videos from influencers.”  

The lesson? 

You can completely build a brand in the early days almost entirely using static ads, especially if you are spending the majority of your spend on Facebook and Instagram ads. 

Three ways static ads can help you scale:  

  1. Statics give you speed. Videos are slower to make and include the complexity of managing creators and back-and-forth with editors. With statics, you can ship new creative every week with no dependencies.

  2. Statics are inexpensive. If a video creative flops, you’ve lost time and money. Statics are inexpensive and allow for a lot of creative volume, especially when you use product renders and AI image creation.
  3. Statics can turn into video content. You can take top-performing statics and make video content around them.

Adding creative diversity to your static ads

Statics are the simplest way to start filling your ad accounts. But you need to also make sure you have creative diversity.

“One of the reasons why our performance stalled before we went bigger on statics was that we had a creative diversity problem,” Ash explained. 

“When we looked at our accounts we realized all of our videos were lo-fi UGC style videos—we should have been creating many different types of creative rather than just banking on one video format.”

The best way to tell if you have a creative diversity problem is to map it out. 

Look at: 

  • Statics vs. video ads
  • Lo-fi vs. polished ads 
  • Emotional benefits vs. rational benefits 
  • Different types of messaging 

Do an audit of all the creatives in your ad accounts. Make sure you have creative hitting every one of the variables.

“No two ads should ever look the same,” says Ash. 

“You should be creating ads that are entirely different so you can hit different audiences, different types of messaging, different parts of the funnel.” 

Ideally, your creative mix should look something like this👇

If you’re leaning too far on one side (like Obvi was with the lo-fi UGC video), start filling in the gaps until you have a balanced matrix of content. 

Types of static ads you should be running 

These 8 static ad formats are what helped Obvi hit $40M in sales. 

The 8 static ads every DTC brand should runLifestyle Banner Ads UGC Banner Ads Render Banner AdsReview AdsCommunity AdsUs vs. Them Problem vs. Solution News / Media 

Static ad tear-down 

So should you abandon video ads? 

I don’t think so. Obviously, you need video ads to reach people on TikTok, plus certain products are just suited more for video.

But the Obvi crew made me rethink my assumption that video ads should be unquestionably the #1 creative priority. 

At Motion, we’re building our paid engine (to drive demos for our software). To date, we have seen statics beat our video ads. A static ad also takes 15 minutes to make—you are lucky if you get a video ad live in a week. 

So my takeaway from Obvi was putting more emphasis on improving our static game. 

Here are some live examples of ads we reviewed with the Obvi crew and their principles you can apply to become a Static God. 

Ad Tear-Down #1: Motion 

“This is a great ad but we can make some improvements,” said Ankit. 

The biggest gap, Ankit told us, is that the ad looks too curated and branded. 

With professional design, the tendency is to make everything look balanced and beautiful. But this tends to create blindness in the feed. 

Here’s how Ankit would re-work this static. 

  • Bump up the font size of the headline and reduce the word length. “Think of the information hierarchy—we want that headline to be bigger, shorter. So that it hits people right away.” So go with a bigger headline that is shorter like: “Spreadsheet killer.”
  • Bump up the font size of the three benefits. “You don’t want to totally destroy the negative space but there is room to make the benefits bigger,” Ankit told us.
  • Remove the logo. “I hate putting logos on the ads themselves as your profile logo is going be right beside the ad anyways in the feed.” 

Ad Tear-Down #2: Graymatter Labs 

Jim Phillips from the health and wellness brand Graymatter Labs shared the above ad with the Obvi crew. 

While Ash and Ankit both hated the ad, Jim told us that it has surprisingly performed well. Jim also has other statics that conform to the best practices shared above, so the performance surprised him as well. 

The lesson?

Sometimes—the audience will break your expectations. The home-spun approach of this ad might attract more of an audience looking for natural, non-commercial products. 

“The audience might also not want aesthetics and pretty ads—perhaps they are attracted to the science and facts, so have a higher tolerance for the small font and complex benefits,” said Ankit. 

That said, this ad is ripe for an iteration test. Ankit and Ash recommended making some tweaks (without destroying the spirit of the original) and launching a new iteration.  

“A good iteration to test would be reducing the benefits to three callouts. The font is very small, so someone scrolling Instagram on their phone is going to struggle to read them,” said Ash. 

Ad Tear-Down #3: Inno Supps 

If you create one ad this week, you should definitely test this listicle-style static from Inno Supps 👇

Like Obvi, Inno Supps spends a lot on Meta ads and leans heavily into statics. 

“I love how they used the spirit of the listicle format and almost made the ad into a mini landing page,” says Ankit. 

“It's clean and visually simple and the listicle format tells you exactly what the product is about and the core benefits it delivers,” Ash added. 

Ad Tear-Down #4: Obvi 

Finally, here are a few static ads from Obvi you can send to your creative team for inspiration.

I love this clean problem-solution ad. 

The information hierarchy is simple—you read down the list of problems and then land on the product as the hero. 

The high contrast in colors with the brand on the brighter side of the ad works well. 

This ad above illustrates many of the best practices that can guide your statics. 

  • Use a big headline with 2-3 words. You want the headline to stand out, so add a highlight color or anything to make it obvious that people should read the headline first.
  • Limit the supporting benefits to three benefits. As many people are viewing ads on their phones, you need the font to be big.
  • Don't be too curated. Professional designers will want to make everything cohere and blend together. Make sure you are thinking more about the hierarchy of information rather than your brand guidelines.  

Static ads vs video ads

While video ads are awesome, you can go further than you think with statics. 

Take a look at your ad account and ask: Could we spend the next few weeks doubling down on statics before moving into video content? 

You’ll get faster feedback loops and can then extend winning ideas with video. 

At the same time, don’t forget about creative diversity. 

You want to mix up static styles with different types of messaging, lo-fi and polished design, and then do the same once you’re using video ads. 

And if you’re worried about the tension between brand versus performance / ugly design—remember, you can do a lot of the branding lifting on your landing page, your Instagram grid, and your website. 

The job of the ad is to get attention and bring people to your site, so don’t worry about trying out dozens of different colors, fonts, and graphic styles that stray far from your brand. 

You can also remove your logo and reduce products to extremely simple benefits. 

Once people click into your website, you can then wow them with your branding, tell the rest of the story, and sell them with more social proof and additional benefits. 

🎬 Watch the full live session with Obvi here

Bonus: here are the slides they presented. 

Get a tour of Motion’s creative analytics platform. We’ll even build free sample reports for you using live data from your TikTok, Meta, and YouTube ad accounts.

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James Mulvey
Head of Content

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