5 Tips for Designing Digital Display Ads

5 Tips for Designing Digital Display Ads

Many businesses are going digital. Digital advertising is more cost effective than print, you can track the success of the ad, and there are endless places on the web to advertise on.  These types of ads have been around almost as long as the web and sometimes they don’t get the attention and modern look they deserve. The challenge with these ads is that they are tiny, and many designers struggle with the lack of space they have to work with. I see so many cluttered ads with old design elements that are distracting and give the impression of unprofessionalism because of their outdated look. Many of these include overly photoshopped photographs, heavy gradients, and outrageous flash banners that don’t send the right message. With these competing ads all over the web simple is ALWAYS better. Here are 5 creative ways to design display ads:

1. Design for clicks!

That’s the goal right? You want people to click on your ad. Don’t let people pass your ad by or scroll away from it. Let people know that image is clickable with a visual indicator. Use a clean icon of a cursor, a button that says “click now”, or “shop now”, or nice headline that says “click to BLANK”. If the image has no indication is clickable people may just see it as an image or ad, but not know that they can take action. Given the rise of video popularity, many successful ads are using play button icons with an intriguing image to get people to “play” the video.

2. Create a mystery people can’t help but solve.

Find creative ways to get people intrigued, challenge them, or show them a mystery of puzzle that they can’t help but solve. Some companies use an image or animation of a game, or some people use a fill in the word statement, and many ads use a partial image that is funny or mischievous that is only fully revealed when clicked. People love to participate in these challenges and discoveries and can results in hire clicks and conversions.

3. Use Simple typography.

You’ll see this design tip in almost every medium I discuss. Bold typography with a powerful message almost always wins. You just can’t beat simplicity amongst the clutter of ads, many that try to cram too much information in one tiny space. Creative typography or a simple message about your brand can really help get your message across in a clear way. These messages can be emotional, impactful, funny, or clever.

4. Be relevant.

Wherever your display ad takes the consumer, there must be some kind of relationship to the ad they clicked on. If there is a video play button, make sure the video they wanted to watch is on the page (at the top, don’t make them scroll) they are sent to. If the ad is taking the clicker to your corporate website, then use corporate branding in the ad. There needs to be a consistent experience from the banner ad to the landing page or web page that the user is sent to.

5. Show your product.

What is that your selling and why? Some of the most effective ads are simply displaying the product or service in a clean or creative way. They key to this approach is to not combine the product imagery with several other design elements or a ton of type. An ad that has a solid colored background with your product image and a “buy now” button may be your best approach. This especially works well if your product is unique and you just want to get the word out.