Now before you start, check the WADS for the character limit in the ads. For example, at the time of this writing, Bing allows 25 characters in the headline and 71 characters in the copy, which gets split over two lines. This is your framework to write in.
Now grab your persona sheet that you created in the last step. If you didn't do it, go back and do it now. You'll need it to write effective ads.
You must know your audience. Who are you talking to? What are their needs? What are their pain and pleasure points? Why are they searching for this product? How does this product solve their problem?
At this stage I prefer to go analog. Good old pencil and spiral bound paper notebook. I don't want any technology getting between me and my ideas.
First I jot down all the emotions associated with the product. I list all the negative emotions of the problem. I list all the positive emotions when the problem is solved. How they feel now, compared to how they'll feel after.
"Michael W. Campbell isn't just a master of creative ideas that generate clicks, he's uniquely adept at converting them into paying customers."
Write as many ideas as you can. Jot down a dozen or so headlines leaving room underneath each for the ad copy. Within 10 minutes of brainstorming, you should have at least a couple of ads to copy and paste into the WADS.
Keep in mind that we just want to get our ads up and running as quickly as possible. That's why we do the text ads first.
If you want to start retargeting right away, go fo it. Check the offer page in the affiliate network for display ads. Snag whatever the merchant provided, or whip up a couple of 300x250 pixel medium rectangle ads using your favorite graphics software.
But I don't bother creating my own display ads at this stage. I usually wait a few days. I want to be sure the merchant doesn't pull the offer, so I don't end up doing unnecessary work. And I want to see how well the offer converts. Once I'm confident, I'll create display ads in all the standard IAB sizes.
There is a place for data and research and algorithms, but it still all comes down to a blank page and an idea. The art in advertising is observing human nature, understanding the heart of a brand and seeing the possibilities of creating a connection.