Have there been times when you’re reading an article, and a banner ad catches your eye? Next thing you know, you’ve clicked on the ad and have found yourself browsing sports shoes.
That’s the power of a well-designed display ad — it captures attention and compels users to click on it, driving traffic to the landing page.
Owing to its wide reach, targeting capabilities, and remarketing opportunities, this paid media format is used to build awareness and improve brand visibility.
However, the rise of banner blindness is making it increasingly difficult to reach audiences. If you want to cut through the clutter, you have to design ads that stand out, effectively communicate the message, and induce action.
So, don’t let your efforts (and ad spend) go waste — here, take a look at six best practices to design display ads that convert.
Whether you’re designing a website, a display ad, or anything else — the key is to keep it simple. Unfortunately, not many practice this design principle.
Look at it this way: you have limited space to communicate your core message. Do you want to crowd it with various elements or keep it simple and focussed? Spoiler alert: the latter always wins.
So, choose a hero image, a non-distracting background, and relevant copy that appeals to your target audience and generates interest. Sticking to a simple layout lets viewers digest the information with ease.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is the arrangement of the design elements. Make sure you create a visual hierarchy that strategically guides the viewers’ eyes.
Here are some examples of simple yet effective display ad layouts by Primark.
Think of any iconic brand, and it’s sure to be characterized by contrasting colours.
Contrasting colours work because they stand out and attract greater appeal, making for more vibrant visuals. Apply the same principle to display ads — pick colours that evoke emotion and instill trust while staying true to your brand identity.
While choosing the colour scheme, make sure you consider that every colour has a personality of its own. For example, blue is synonymous with peace and calm, whereas red is associated with urgency and energy. So, choose colours that help you communicate your message effectively.
Here are some examples that showcase contrasting colours.
Relevant, High-Quality Imagery
Choosing an image for the display ad can get tricky. It’s like saying you have one last wish, and you have to make it count.
People are more drawn towards visuals, so pick an image that reflects your core message and is of high resolution. While brands selling tangible products have it easier, what happens to those selling intangible products and services?
In such cases, the key is to focus on buyer motivations and use powerful imagery to illustrate how the audience will benefit from the product or service.
Don’t limit yourself to stock imagery — consider using original graphics such as icons, illustrations, and even data visualization formats such as charts and graphs.
Here are some display ad examples by a software company, Tableau.
Crisp and Legible Copy
You might be tempted to say a lot through display ads but you rather not, as that will end up confusing the reader. With such little space and so much to say, you have to be tactful in framing your ad copy.
The ad needs to encompass the following:
- What is the value proposition you’re offering?
- What do you want users to take away from the ad?
Here are some tactics to write high-converting ad copy:
- Use words or ask questions to trigger emotions
- Highlight the benefits or value
- Leverage social proof in the form of reviews, testimonials or user stats
- Include numbers
- Address objections
Apart from this, it’s also important to ensure your ad copy reflects the content on your landing page you’re directing users to. The last thing you want is to mislead people into clicking on the ad only to be disappointed.
Here are some interesting display ad copy examples.
With so much noise out there, brand consistency is more important than ever. From the choice of colours and fonts to the logo, imagery, and tone of voice — brands need to build a consistent presence across all channels.
Consistent branding is an important aspect of brand building because it fosters recognition and builds trust by offering a consistent user experience across touchpoints.
So, design display ads that are aligned with your brand guidelines while keeping it fresh and relevant.
Here’s a good example of Mailchimp, a brand that’s successfully built a strong visual identity.
Running display ads without a clear call-to-action (CTA) is almost criminal. You’ve used an enticing image and coupled it with a compelling copy, but what next?
A clear and prominent CTA button is important because it exactly tells the viewers what’s expected of them. Whether it’s availing discounts, downloading a white paper, or signing up for a free trial — you need to spell it out on your display ad.
A strong CTA is one that induces action, so make sure you use action-oriented words and use a contrasting colour to make it pop and attract clicks.
Here are some examples of CTA buttons done well.
Design High-Converting Display Ads: The Takeaway
Now you know that you don’t have to have a graphic design background to know how to create high-converting display ads.
These six practices will help you combat banner blindness and create ads that are focussed on attracting attention, generating interest, and getting people to click.
In addition to this, make sure you create two versions of the display ad and do an A/B test to optimize your campaign and improve conversions.