Retargeter Blog

Banner Design for Retargeting: When Should the Product Be the Hero?

Banner design is one of the most important pillars of any online display campaign. A good banner ad employs simple design and concise messaging. When a marketer sets out to create an ad focused on brand awareness, the tenets of simplicity and succinctness are easy to incorporate: simply add a logo and a slogan and incorporate your brand’s colors and fonts.

Retargeting has changed the way marketers approach creative design because it allows marketers to advertise to users further down the funnel. A retargeted ad can feature the products someone looked at or left abandoned in a shopping cart. Often, marketers will incorporate these retargeting specific elements into their branded banners, resulting in a cluttered and unreadable ad. When is it a good idea to choose product over branding, and how can marketers continue to tell their story with retargeted ads without breaking banner rules?

Keep It Simple

Marketers often try to cram as much information as possible into the space allotted. This method of designing banners will only distract your audience and won’t serve the purpose of the ad: to win their attention and keep it. You want to be memorable, so that even if your audience doesn’t click your ad, it stays with them. Often, creating memorable ads is best achieved by keeping copy minimal and design simple.

If your goal is to familiarize your audience with your brand it could be most effective to utilize simple messaging, your slogan, your logo and your colors into the banner. If you’re retargeting people who have looked at a pair of shoes on your website, you might want to show them the shoes in the ad.

Applying the Rules to Retargeting

Retargeting allows you to advertise to an audience that you know is qualified, because they’ve already engaged with your brand. When designing ads for retargeting campaigns, you can skip the introduction because your audience already knows who you are.

With the rising popularity of rich media ads, more and more brands are incorporating interactive elements into their banners. Retailers interested in reclaiming abandoned shopping carts can dynamically retarget their audience with a “product carousel” that shows them the items they had in their cart. Adding too many additional elements like logos and slogans will only distract from the product. When using dynamic retargeting, incorporate only simple elements from the brand like your name and brand colors, and let the product speak for itself.

Where Do Brands Go Wrong?

As part of our Attacking Bad Banners series, we found Volkswagen guilty of creating a cluttered and ineffective banner. In an ad designed to show off customizable car covers Volkswagen packed a ton of copy, an image, a button, and a logo into a 728×90 ad. The result was an unreadable, cluttered, and confusing banner. Sure, the logo told you this was a Volkswagen ad, but that wasn’t the point. Incorporating so much copy was ineffective, as it forced Volkswagen to shrink the image of the product they set out to highlight.

Volkswagen could have avoided this problem easily. By eliminating some of the copy and leaving only the “Das Auto” logo, brand recognition is accomplished in far fewer pixels. The rest of the space can then be dedicated to the product. The final banner is simple, succinct, and far more memorable than the initial ad.

Philosophy of Experimentation

If you’re not sure whether you should advertise for brand or product, try A/B testing your banners. Design one simple ad for your company with bright colors, a bold call to action, and your logo. Design another ad around a product you’re hoping to sell. Keep your brand colors in the ad, but use a smaller logo and ditch the slogan. Run both banners side by side to see which ad is more effective.

There are many ways to go about designing your banners, but it is most important to choose the direction that is best for your goals. Whether you’re looking to increase brand awareness or sell more widgets this year, you’re going to need a design strategy that fits.

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