How to Create an Effective Display Ad

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Often also known as 'call to action' advertising, display ads exist to pull potential customers like fish to the bait.  Although every company out there wants to hook in these leads, the path to creating an effective ad can be confusing and frustrating.  You want to ensure that your advertisement stands out, but you don't want to drive potential customers away with your advertising being too bright or obnoxious.

Fortunately for you, there’s a way around that!  Here’s how to create the best ad that will pull in your customers and make your job so much easier.

What Not To do

This factor is the most important thing to know when building an advertisement.  You have to avoid a few choice things if you want to be taken seriously, instead of ignored or straight up avoided online.

Don't try to shock people into clicking.  Mobile games are infamous for creating borderline inappropriate advertisements for anyone younger than 18 in an attempt to pique people's curiosity.  This plan comes off as unprofessional and sleazy and only works for specific brands.

Don't make insane, strange animations with colors that are oversaturated and bright.  People will instinctively look away from these and avoid clicking on them together.  You want your advertisement to stand out, and there are better ways to do this.

What Colors and Imagery to Use

The best colors for advertisements are contrasting colors together in some way.  A navy blue background with pale desaturated orange text will catch the eye faster than black words on a white background.  It would help if you also considered what colors match your brand and how you would like to be perceived.  There is the psychology behind color choices that you can dive into, but unless you're working through display advertising services, it might be too much to have to deal with.

If you need to include images in your advertisement, think about how you can show off your product in an exciting and fun way.  You don't have to try to break the mold or reinvent the wheel, but consider what kind of imagery would catch your customer's eye.

What Call To Action Is Best

Consider what text is going to be the most intriguing for your brand.  For example, if your brand sells organic honey, you could say that buying honey helps repopulate bees!  Using this type of phrasing on an advertisement for honey on an organic or health-aware site is likely to catch potential customers who care about this cause.  Consider where you're advertising and what would lull them into clicking through.

Don't promise anything that you can't follow through on.

A call to action could also be a coupon for users from that site or a discount code if they click through before a specific time.  There’s no guarantee that you’ll lure in every single person who views it, but telling people to click is often all it takes for some people to want to connect. 

The best display advertisement makes someone feel like they're the ones being done a favor, rather than being sold to.  Plan carefully and design with forethought, and you'll create an ad everyone will want to click.