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How to Create Display Ads that Get Clicks

Much of today’s advertising has moved from print to the top, bottom and sides of the web pages we read every day. Good digital ads don’t only need to be attractive and clever, but they need to break through readers’ ennui and intrigue them enough so that they click through to the advertiser’s website. Creating such ads is an art form. However, there are basic steps to creating display ads that generate clicks that even a novice digital marketer can master.


Types of Display Ads

Display ads come in a myriad of shapes, sizes and formats. However, there are a few that you see again and again on web pages. There’s a good reason for this; these ads yield good results.

  • Banner ads. Banner ads are the wide, horizontal ads you find at the top and the bottom of web pages.
  • Native ads. These are the ads that you see scattered among the paragraphs of a web article or social media news feed.
  • Animated ads. As the name implies, these ads “come to life” when a reader hovers over the ads

Composition

Good composition is essential to creating high converting display ads. One basic industry tenet is that “less is more.” Most good banner ads use minimalism to showcase the message they want to convey to the reader. Reducing your marketing message to its bare essence makes it stand out more to the reader and makes it easier for him or her to understand what you’re trying to convey.

When planning your ad composition, you’ll also want your ad to be attractive on a variety of screen sizes. With more and more consumers using mobile devices to surf the web and make buying decisions, your ad must be as attractive on a small screen as it is on a more-traditional laptop screen.

Lastly, don’t forget to include your call to action. Even the most attractive ad is worthless if it’s unclear to the reader what you want them to do next. Phrases like “Read more about xx here,” or “Click for more details,” or “Get a free copy of our ebook” are necessary to drive potential customers to your website.

Segmenting Audience

If your product appeals to a broad range of demographics, you may want to create several versions of your display ad, one targeted to each major demographic group. For example, if you sell cars, you may want a version of your ad that appeals to young buyers, another that appeals to moms with young children and another to retirees. Each of these ads will be placed on sites that appeal to the target demographic.

Color

The colors you use in your display ad play a major part in what emotions your ad evokes in the reader. Color patterns set a mood for an ad. For example, a black and white motif sets a vintage, classic mood, whereas a monochromatic color palette gives the impression of being elegant and classy.

Different colors evoke specific emotions. For example, reds, oranges and yellows are attention-getting, whereas blues and greens are calming and serene. Purple conveys creativeness and innovation, pink gives a feeling of youthfulness and fun, and green is also associated with being environmentally friendly.

Typography

There’s no one “best font for banner ads.” The font you choose for your ad, just like your color choice, depends on what feeling you want to evoke. However, one universal rule is to use the same font throughout your ad. Otherwise, your ad will look busy and have a kind of “ransom note” look. You can vary the font you choose by using different sizes, italics and bolding.

Some fonts have universal appeal. Helvetica is arguably the most popular font in the world. Other often-used fonts include Arial, Futura and Calibri. For specific emotions, use script fonts to evoke creativity and fun, Cambria or TNR to evoke a feeling of stability and Impact or Georgia to be assertive.

Learning how to make a banner ad doesn’t have to be impossible. Start with a good marketing message. Refine it to its bare essence, and then use color, design and typography to reinforce your message.

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About The Author

Elton Mayfield

Elton's career spans media, production, digital and building industry expertise. His diverse experience makes him nimble, innovative, and curious – always pushing the envelope to create extraordinary work that delivers real results for our clients.

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