In 1994: Wired.com, then known as HotWired, invented the web banner ad and since then the importance of having an effective display advertising design to achieve the preferred actions has been essential to driving business impact. 

HubSpot’s definition of advertising has a simple principle — “get people interested in a product being sold.” Incorporating some of these creative best practices makes it possible to get people interested in your product and significantly improve ROI by arousing interest and persuading people to purchase your products. 

1. Know Your Advertising Goals 

Identify the key objectives for your campaign and then develop a clear story. Start by understanding the campaign and the general context and pick the most important goal. Set clear, realistic and measurable goals and objectives. Display advertising can be divided into two broad categories: awareness and action. 

Awareness display ads are created to develop an understanding and awareness of the solution that your business has to offer. These ads are simply associating your brand with a solution. Action ads are meant to drive conversions. They should be something of value to the viewer and both strategies, when performed well, drive an emotional impact on your audience. 

2. Create Compelling Content

Your display advertising campaigns are an excellent way to build your brand and improve brand resonance. Understanding what customers live and breathe, you can tailor your ad to their current situation, and let your creative be relevant to their needs and wants. Use rich media, animations and video to boost engagement rates and interaction. Static ads are a thing of the past and stand no chance of grabbing viewers’ attention. Always ask yourself if you would tap and engage with this banner, is my message authentic and am I adding real value to the viewer?

3. Favour Uncluttered Design

Display ads have a small canvas to work with and it is important to present only the most relevant information most clearly. The space for banner ads on websites or cell phones can be quite tight and display ads compete with a lot of other content and attention. It is important to present only the most relevant information and guide the user through the ad with distinct brand design and typography. 

Ensure that the layout and ad navigation are consistently using buttons with a clear call to action that is readable and easily tapped on when displayed on smaller screens. The ad should communicate exactly what the viewer needs to know in as little time and space as possible.

4. Create a Seamless and Responsive Experience

A responsive ad takes advantage of the full-screen size available when the ad is displayed. This enables a better user experience across desktops and various mobile devices. 

Do your ad’s look and feel differ significantly from the campaign landing page? If so, it can annoy the user and cause them to drop off the page without converting. The clearer you express your expectation for the viewer in your ad design, the more seamless experience you create, leading to more conversions and an improved brand experience. The importance lies in creating something compelling enough to entice the viewer to learn more on their own. 

5. Test, Test, launch

Marketing is all about experimentation, and this is especially true when it comes to displaying ads. The assumption is the enemy of a well-planned ad campaign, there is always room for improvement. 

You can minimise risks and find your own creative best practices by running A/B testing and splitting your traffic between two different ad creatives.

The performance differences between multiple variants will show valuable insights into the most efficient location, call to action, device type, ad format and even where the users are clicking the ad. 

On too many occasions brands put out a single version of their ad, and after disappointing results decide that the display campaign didn’t work for them. Once you understand what works best, you can feel confident that your campaign will garner the results you require. 

Key Takeaway

Poor quality ad creative will make or break your ad campaigns. By designing thumb-stopping, compelling display ads you will attract more visitors and have a higher engagement rate leading to more conversions.  

Good design is only the beginning. For your display ad to grab attention, you need to ensure that you serve relevant and compelling content to the correct audience, and that starts with a solid strategy setting comprehensive display advertising goals.