Digital Creative Best Practices For Display Ads: Set Up Campaign For Success

May 19, 2020

The display advertising world has evolved extensively. Marketers aim to personalize display ads rather than just putting them on the web pages in hopes of success. 

Designing high-performing display ads are a combination of both art and science. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but there is a formula for a good foundation that will set you up on the path to success.

So, what makes good display ads?

Good display ads have four elements: Message, Image, Design, and Variation. Let’s talk about each of them.

#1 Personalized Messaging

Tailor the message to your audience by making it relevant and compelling. Keep it short and catchy, with a solid call-to-action. Showing the right message to the right audience at the right time encourages the user to take the action you want. The goal of every message should be to enhance the consumer journey and move them one step further down the conversion funnel.

There are a couple of critical things to include in your messaging: Headline, Unique selling point, Price, and Promotion.

Your messaging should set your product or service apart from the competition. The consumer is essentially making their initial decision to take the next step towards conversion with their first click, and your landing page should be designed in a way that gives them the information to compel them to convert on-site.

#2 A Cohesive Visual Experience With The Compelling Image

Choose product photos or other compelling images that align with your brand guidelines and support the messaging. Using images of the same style within a campaign is recommended to create a cohesive visual experience as the user browses the web and sees multiple variations of your display ads. A consistent visual presence helps with brand recognition and encourages customer trust, which can be very influential when it comes to a customer’s decision to convert.

Utilizing floodlights, you can also retarget users with product photos or specific services that they have already seen and shown interest in on your site. This makes the ad feel more personal and relevant to the user. Be careful with retargeting, though, as there is a fine line between creating a personalized ad and creating an ad that feels invasive or creepy.

#3 Best Display Ads Design

In addition to image and messaging, there are other recommended elements to having the best display ads. Your logo and call-to-action button are essential in display ad design, and depending on the subject matter of the banner, you might also want to add a callout and/or disclaimer text.

When designing a good display ad, be aware of the hierarchy of elements and how you’d like the viewer to digest the information. For example, a viewer will see large, short headlines before they see small, longer copy. Use the headline to capture their attention and then tell the rest of the story with the smaller copy. This gives the user the most important information first while visually guiding them through your ad. Also, consider using sentence or title case as opposed to all-caps, as the shape of the word is recognized faster than actually reading the word, and using all-caps creates words that are all the same shape.

Be cognizant of color theory when selecting colors. For example, orange can be used to delineate value, and blue can create feelings of acceptance. Be aware of how the colors you choose work together, as they can also be a factor in designating hierarchy within the ad.

Part of the display ad design process includes HTML5 animation. Depending on the amount of content you want to display, you may have a short animation that moves the content into the display ad one element at a time, or you may have a longer animation that tells a story between multiple frames. Another benefit of HTML5 is that you can make your ads interactive (such as a game-play experience) or run in-banner videos as a way to entice your audience further. HTML5 animation is an easy way to make your ad more eye-catching as it fights for the user’s attention on the site it’s being served on.

#4 Display Ads Optimization With Dynamic Creative and Feeds

Use as many headlines, body copies, and images as possible to develop a campaign that you can test and optimize against many combinations. There’s no “magic formula” to digital creative that performs well. There are only learnings or digital creative best practices for each client and campaign. Marketers can leverage those learnings to optimize and constantly improve their digital creative approach.

When dealing with multiple variations, machine learning outperforms human-based analysis and optimizations. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is better at identifying patterns and faster at adapting, making it optimal for serving the best digital creative combinations at any given time.  

Feeds also simplify assigning creatives to the right audience in Display & Video 360 (DV360), which saves time and decreases the possibility of human error. You’ll have easy access to the data you need for any current campaigns, and the knowledge to drive future iterations and campaign development.

Digital Creative Best Practices: The True Path To Success 

When executing a display ad design, be sure to incorporate these best practices to build the best display ads for your business. This initial formula will set you up on a path to successful creative development. It’s now up to you to use the intelligence of your own data to continue iterating and optimizing your campaign’s creatives for improved performance, overall.


Ready to take your ads, and your business, to the next level? Get in touch with the DELVE team today.

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