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Key Tips For Designing Your First Display Ads

Discussion in 'Guides, Case Studies and Tutorials' started by Lindsay Arnold, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. Lindsay Arnold

    Lindsay Arnold Service Manager Service Manager affiliate

    Key Tips For Designing Your First Display Ads

    Today I want to show you how you can get the most out of your display ads. Don't forget to take full advantage of our exclusive WhatRunsWhere coupon here.

    Display Ads

    So you’ve decided on your target, found the perfect traffic source, and are excited to reach those goals you set. But how do you get a consumer to actually click on your ad? That’s where creative strategy comes in.

    Even if your traffic sources are highly populated with your target – if your creative leaves something to be desired, those conversions just aren’t going to happen. What can you do to make sure your display ads are engaging?

    To help get you started we’ll go through the main elements of a display ad, and break down what works vs. what doesn’t work.

    1. Less is more

    There may be a million things that you want to tell your consumers about— your limited time deal, your offer for free shipping, or that new product you just started promoting. While these certainly are valuable and useful messages to promote in your ads, just be sure not to stick them all in the same ad.

    Be sure to keep it to one message per ad. A display ad has less than 3 seconds to catch a consumer’s attention – if there’s too much to digest, the viewer will likely just look at something else instead.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Jenny Craig does a great job of this by using their ads individually for each promotion they have. One ad details getting 50% off a whole program, while the second is about getting 1 month free upon joining. While they are both deals by Jenny Craig, they’re still different and need their own ads.

    2. Tell your viewer exactly what to do

    Along with featuring only one message per ad, make sure your call-to-action (CTA) is simple and direct. The consumer may agree with or be interested in what your message is, but now it’s up to your CTA to tell them what to do next.

    It’s crucial to remember that your CTA, for optimal results, should be related to the message you’re using. For example, if you’re trying to drive consumers to a piece of content, “Read More” could be an effective CTA. Or for a free trial? “Get Started” or “Sign Up” are both good choices to consider. Always try your hardest to avoid the ambiguous “Click Here” – people want to know what they’re clicking for!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Both these ads include calls to action that are relevant to their message. The Daily Look calls the viewer to “Shop Now” – something that would be highly appealing to a someone interested in online shopping. Alternatively, the Match.com ad makes it evident to viewers exactly what they will be directed to after clicking the CTA button – that being photos on their platform.

    3. Finding the perfect graphics

    After establishing your message and what you want your consumers to do, you have to decide what you want your ads to actually look like. In this process you need to make some important decisions regarding graphics.

    For example…

    Should your ad feature a product shot, or a shot of a person actually using the product? Keep in mind whether the product speaks for itself in terms of image, or if it’s better explained showing it in use.

    Should your ads be animated to draw more attention or would a static image with no transitions be more successful? This is one is certainly worth testing. Be sure to consider each different traffic source that the ad will be placed on, and ask yourself how you can make your ads best stand out.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Check out these ads from Evernote—see how different each ad is? The first ad shows a range of their products, in an actual setting where they’d exist (ex. Socks in a sock drawer). However in the second ad they show a backpack isolated on a white background.

    Don’t get tied down to one ad creative. Customizing your ads to it’s promotion, traffic source, or unique audience will dramatically help your advertising performance.

    4. Branding vs. Message

    It’s always tempting to incorporate all of your branding onto every display ad you make. From logo, to tagline, to colour scheme, etc. After all, how else are consumers supposed to remember who you are later on?

    This is misguided in terms of effectiveness. Branding is definitely important, but must be applied strategically. There’s only so much room in a display ad for you to get the needed information across, so don’t waste room with gratuitous branding.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Travelocity is a great example of an advertiser that uses just the right amount of branding in their display ads. Their gnome mascot is highly recognizable, so they make sure to incorporate him into the majority of their ads for higher consumer recall. They do not, however, make him so dominant that it distracts the viewer from the main message of the ad – he simply complements what the viewer is being told.

    5. Testing Testing, 1, 2, 3.

    This can’t be emphasized enough – testing is key to success. You can and should test essentially everything, including: colors, CTA, ad copy, graphics, borders, etc. A small change could potentially make a huge difference, but you won’t know until you test it. Make sure that you’re only testing one component at a time, or else you won’t know specifically what worked and what didn’t.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    In these ads, VWO split tests their CTA wording, but that’s it. The layout, color, and branding all remain the same. This way, if they see positive (or negative) results they can trace it to the change in the CTA.

    So there you have it! Between the Beginner’s Guide To Media Buying and this intro to display ad design you’re on your way to successfully pulling off your first display ad campaign.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2014
    Hacker, jacobc, arunk89 and 2 others like this.
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