A Checklist for Creating Effective Display Ads

adelement | February 22, 2012

Define your campaign objective

Before setting up a display campaign it is important to decide on the objective of the campaign. What is the objective? Do you want to generate awareness, drive traffic, generate leads, or sales?

Choose an appropriate call to action

A call-to-action phrase or button encourages users to click on your ad and clearly lets them know what is coming next and is one of the most important elements of the ad. Your call to action must be in accordance with your campaign objective. For example, if you want to sell your product then your call to action could have a call out of “Buy Now”. You should always test different call outs and colours for call to actions.

Tailor and target

All users are not same and internet is a medium that allows for high level of personalization. In general the more finely tuned your audience segments and the messaging the better the performance. You should think of your audience and figure out if you need to segment it by demographic, geographic, behaviour, interests. Once you identify the segments, target each with different messages, images, call to actions. Experimenting using different messages & images gives insight into the behavioural and emotional profile of the target segment which can be used to further improve performance. If you have a lot of segments or products Dynamic Ads can be a powerful tool for instantly generating distinct and personalized messages applicable to each user segment based on behavior, geographic, search intent attributes etc.

Prioritize content

Before you start designing your ad, think about your overall message. Don’t fill your ad with all the material you have. Instead, prioritize what’s most important. For example, if you have discounts and other promotional offers then the slogan is most important, on the other hand if you are looking to promote specific product then your product image/animation should be on top of the priority list. You should think of and experiment with different ad layouts concording with the objective of campaign.

Define and specify value proportion

Include a clear, compelling and concise message highlighting the benefit of your product or service. Resist the urge to explain your entire product in the ad, instead focus on a core message and limit the amount of text. If your ad is animated, consider presenting a value proposition in each frame. Users should feel as though they are missing out on something by not clicking.

Finalize colour scheme

Researchers have shown that different colours have different emotional impact on people. For example red creates a sense of urgency, pink can be used to market product and services to women and young girls, blue creates a sense of trust and security, Black is often seen as luxurious and sophisticated. Choose the colour scheme of your display ad according to the brand image you want to create, Your target audience and product. For example if you are advertising a car or jewellery then black or gray colour should be a good choice. On the other hand if your product is apparel or grocery then you should choose bright colours like yellow or sky blue. You should experiment different color schemes and figure out which color scheme provides the best responses for each audience segment.

Balance image/ animation with text

Take advantage of both text and images/ animations to convey your message. Text and images are processed by different parts of the brain. Integrating both into your ad – harmoniously – can help you influence viewers cognitively and emotionally. Research has shown complementary text and images helps viewers remember your ad long after they have seen it. Usually animation or some motion in the ad helps draw the users eye and get his attention, but don’t go overboard and create something annoyingly flashy. Avoid telling a story through animation, it usually doesn’t work. Instead focus on the core message and keep it simple .

Choose the right typeface

Just like colours, fonts also add different emotions to the message. You should select appropriate font for the category of the product the target audience. Typography can be used to enhance the sophistication or playfullness of your message and can also convey a sense of security or modernity. Chose the font that matches the brand image and the message you want to convey.

Test, test & test

Constant experimentation and testing of the ads is very important for continuous improvement of a display ad campaign. Test different combinations of layouts, backgrounds, images, headlines, call to actions. Test ads live and find which ones work and create variations of the “Winning” ads. Most campaigns/ experiments fail make sure you learn quickly and iterate. And remember you are paying for “Data” not “Traffic”.



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