No two forms of digital advertising are the same. Display ads, also called banner ads, are distinctly unique compared to text ads. When text ads are created this content shows up in search results, while display ads are content which appears on other websites. The overall goal of display ads is to engage the consumer. Display ads can take the form of interactive displays or animations that catch the eye of the consumer. So, how can marketers use this knowledge to create successful display ads?
Understand the Role of Display Ads in Marketing
As mentioned above, the goal of display ads is to capture the attention of consumers surfing around from page to page online. Display ads are primary component to paid marketing schemes and not only increase brand awareness with their appearance, but also engage or even retarget customers by helping to filter them into existing marketing filters with a single click. Display ads are built upon the concept of click-worthy media that then directs that viewer to a landing page.
1. Prioritize Structure and Flow
First and foremost, designing a good display requires prioritizing the information provided and the flow of the ad. These ads have limited space to work with, so it's important the right info is included in the design. In order of importance, make sure the following features make it into the design of the ad:
- Company name and logo. If the company name is already incorporated into the graphic of the logo, then just use the logo.
- Offer a value proposition to get users clicking.
- Include a visual representation of the product/service.
- Don't forget a CTA button for users to click.
2. Be Bold with a Call-to-Action
Speaking of that CTA, it's important that the actual call-to-action button is big and bold for the user. A good call-to-action button does two things for the customer. First, it reduces friction. They don't have to guess what to do or how to redeem a value proposition. They know to simply click the button. Second, it increases the click-through rate on the ad. If possible, avoid commonly used CTAs such as "sign up," "buy now," or "subscribe here." Subtle, clever CTAs feel less promotional and tend to perform better.
3. Be Smart with Images
Images are a central function of display ads. Consumers aren't drawn to display ads because of influential text, and there isn't room in most display ads for much text anyway. To create a successful display ad, focus on using strong imagery. However, remember that there is good imagery and bad imagery. Users on social media, in particular, have shown an aversion to bland, stock images. Stick to images of the product or service in question actually being used by customers. If possible, use moving images to make the display ad pop and catch the eye of customers online.
4. Know Your Sizes
When it comes to display ads, size matters. There are various display ad sizes available, but some have a proven track record for performance. Entrepreneur cites evidence from Google AdSense that lays out which ad sizes and locations perform best:
- Leaderboard 728x90
- Half-page 300x600
- Large rectangle 336x280
- Medium rectangle 300x250
- Large mobile banner 320x100
5. Keep it Simple
Display ads offer little visual space to work with and just a few seconds of time to catch the eye of consumers. The more complicated a display ad, the less likely it is to grab a consumer's attention. Keep the design and messaging of the display ad as simple as possible while still getting the point across!
6. Don't be Afraid to Adapt
If at first you don't succeed, try again! Display ads are constantly changing. The longer an ad is in use, even a good one, the more familiar it becomes to customers and might be viewed as annoying. Don't be afraid to constantly test, tweak, and roll out display ads to remain fresh.