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Best Practices When Creating Display Ads

So you’ve decided to expand your paid search account to include the display network and display ads because they’re cost-effective, easily measured, and a great way to increase your overall brand awareness. Utilizing the display network gives you the opportunity to serve your offers to potential customers in a more visually appealing format.

At first, it may seem like creating a display ad is quite simple, but in fact, there are a lot of factors that can determine the effectiveness of banner and display ads. In today’s blog post, I’ll review best practices when creating new display ads as well as other ways that you can set yourself apart from your direct competition.

Google has a ton of banner size options available, so which ones should I use or start my campaign with?

Google offers a wide variety of ad sizes that can be used on the display network. If you’re starting a new display campaign, I suggest creating ads using the most effective banner sizes then moving from there based on campaign effectiveness.

To the right are the five top-performing banner sizes according to Google AdSense and a brief description of each one. These ad sizes are the best places to start when creating any new display campaign.

What components make up a good display ad?

The answer to this question can be debated, but I believe that these four components are a great way to build a highly clickable display ad:

  1. Brand logo: This should go without saying: Display ads build brand awareness and recognition, so don’t forget this key component!
  1. Value proposition: To put it in simpler terms, the value proposition is the offer you’re delivering and should be the first thing that draws the attention of your potential customer. This is where you showcase your product and instill a sense of urgency. This has to be the most prominent element of your ad!
  1. Ad copy: This can be a tricky part of the ad creation process. Ideally, you want your ad to have great copy, but you also don’t want it to be too long or wordy. Give the customer enough information to pique their interest and thus earn their click. Display ads with too much copy or that take longer than a few seconds to read will cause your potential customers to disregard your ad.
  1. Call to Action: This is also a critical part of your display ad. Without telling your potential customer what to do, how will they know what you want them to do? This may sound basic, but not including a strong call to action on display ads will absolutely cause your click-through rates to plummet. Your call to action can be text or a button that simply says Buy Now, Shop Now, or Click for More Information. Whatever call to action you choose, just make sure that your visitors know what they’re going to get for their click.

Should I incorporate a button in my ad?

Absolutely! Incorporating a button into your ad design and working together with your call to action will go a long way to increasing your click-through rate.

When adding a button to your ad, make sure that your message is relevant and clear and has a strong call to action. Create a benefit for your potential customers so they should click your button.

The shape of the button can also be a determining factor when someone is looking at your ad. Rounded-corner buttons have shown to settle the subconscious due to the fact that we’re programmed to avoid sharp edges and they take less effort to see.

Google and Apple have recently been using a more flat design for their buttons, which they say offers a more friendly approach.

Color also plays a big role when designing your button. Using a bright color such as orange or red will trigger more attention from your shoppers.

Regardless of what button style and color you choose, you should always test to ensure that you’re serving the most clickable ad you can.

Should I create my display ads with the landing page in mind?

I believe this part of the design process is the easiest to overlook. Since you’re focused on creating the best display ad you can, the landing page is often forgot but still very important.

When creating any banner, make sure that the design is consistent with your company’s branding and the landing page. Not having a consistent message can cause customer confusion and high bounce rates. The last thing you want to do is cause uncertainty with any customer, especially if they’re seeing your ads for the first time.

When they click through your ad and see a landing page that’s styled differently from the ad and doesn’t use brand colors or logo, this can cause them to bounce and forget all about you. A clear and consistent message across all advertising is the best way to instill customer confidence in your company and brand.

Using these best practices when creating your display ads will certainly help to increase click-through rates and drive brand awareness. The most important thing to remember when creating your display ads is to create a clear, concise message that’s consistent with your brand and offers a strong call to action for potential customers.


Stream’s Kick-Start Step

Before creating your next display ads, make a checklist of the items that you need to include and want to include. Creating this checklist will ensure that you don’t miss any important elements and will keep you on track when it comes to creating your ad.


Stream can help you achieve your hard-to-reach paid search and display network goals. We offer a wide variety of digital marketing services, so feel free to contact us or schedule your FREE 20-Minute Marketing Health Assessment!

Your friend in paid search,

—Jason Schell is a Paid Search Specialist at Stream Companies, a full-service Philadelphia-area advertising agency