Let’s face it – the internet is full of ads. Just about every page has them, and whether you scroll through or click out of them, ads are a part of our browsing culture. It’s been estimated that the average online viewer is exposed to around 5,000 ad messages per day; now that’s a lot of ads!
And yet, most advertisers don’t realize that a sea of mediocre banners can actually be used to your advantage. If you can create a relevant and engaging message that is targeted to a specific audience, you have the potential to win a positive impression, or maybe even a click.
The following are four main guidelines to producing great ad creative:
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Every advertiser should know their target audience, but more importantly they should know their online audience. Is it a specific audience of your brand? Perhaps a younger, more educated, or niche group of consumers? Why would they be online, what are they into, and most importantly, what would bring them to your site?
If your audience is so large that it has different segments, know that you have the option to create separate ads for those unique audiences. The overall goal should not be to design an ad for your general audience, but instead to display engaging creative that is unique and relevant to your consumers online.
CRAFT YOUR MESSAGE
While you’ll likely want to get the viewer to buy your product, sign up for event, or learn more about your company, that’s not always the message that will resonate with them and, in turn, get them to engage. Ask yourself: what would bring that viewer to your site? What would catch their attention or make them think twice about your brand?
The online world is blanketed with generic statements about products with the same CTAs such as “Click Here Now” or “Learn More,” but if you can think of a creative way to engage your audience, or add value for them clicking on the ad, you will see a true difference in the results. Give the viewer a reason to click!
IBM does a great job of crafting a unique call to action
KEEP IT INTERESTING
Since you’re competing in a crowded space, your ad should visually stand out above the rest. Not only can the aesthetics of the ad attract viewers, but any invitation to learn more within the unit (i.e. “Hover to Explore,” “Click To Play Video”) can give you more real estate and make for an interesting ad experience.
British Columbia Department of Tourism takes advantage of interactive ad elements
If your budget calls for standard ads, keep in mind that while “flashy” ads or bright colors might help it stand out, it can also deter your audience, as our eyes have more or less become trained to ignore these annoying ads. Creative choices are important, so work with a great designer or a certified rich media vendor and your results will pay off in the end.
FOLLOW INDUSTRY AD SPECS
While you may create a really cool unit, no one will see it if it’s not built in compliance with the IAB guidelines. Make sure to keep these specs in mind when designing the unit so you’re not left with something you can’t use.
Not only should build it in the correct format, but you should build it in more than a few creative sizes. Due to the vast size of online display inventory, which now include mobile placements, you’ll want to make sure you are able to reach your audience wherever they are.
Retargeter’s recommended Ad Specs
While online advertising provides an easy outlet to display branded ads, competition is tough. Ad units that perform the best are often not just aesthetically pleasing, but also serve an engaging and relevant message to targeted audience. So do your homework (know your online audience), find a good designer, then let the creative take it from there.