The essential elements of successful display ads

Display ads are a great way to get your business in front of your target demographic. We show you how to design successful display ads.
6 minute read
Ruchi Bhargava @RuchiBhargava1
Technical Co-pilot
Cover photo for The essential elements of successful display ads

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How to design display ads customers can't ignore

You've tried everything and nothing seems to work.

SEO is taking too much time, and PPC ads somehow don’t seem to attract the crowd with the right kind of intent for your business. You're bleeding money in order to run advertising campaigns on search and social media; your competitors are raking in the customers, and you're left wondering how they're doing it.

But have you tried display ads?

Display ads are the perfect way for you to bring your business to the forefront of your target demographic's attention. Cheaper than most PPC ads, display ads enable your advertising campaign to soar to greater heights at a fraction of the cost it would take you to launch a full-scale search ad campaign.

Using display ads, you can build awareness, generate leads, and bring the spotlight onto your business in a very short amount of time. But just running any display campaign won’t guarantee success.

Display ads are as effective as other avenues of online advertising, if not more. But that’s only if they're done right. Creating the perfect display ad is a matter of getting multiple elements to align correctly. One misstep and the entire campaign can go sideways, and plunge your business into greater depths of ignominy.

In this article, we're going to tell you about the most essential elements for running that perfect display ads campaign, and how you can use display ads to give wind to the sails of your business.

So, let’s begin without further delay.

The elements that make display ads tick

As mentioned above, display ads are a perfect way to attract the right attention, but they need to be done right to get proper results. Here we are going to mention some of the elements that you must pay attention to when you are creating your display ad campaign.

Know your audience

The first step to creating a great display ad campaign is to know who you're going to display your ads to. If you want to get the most out of your display ads, it's imperative that you identify your target audience at the very beginning.

Different targeting options such as geographical location-based segmentation and behavioral analysis can help you decide what kind of ad your audience is more likely to click on.

Keeping the right audience target insight helps you to narrow down your clicks to the traffic with the right intent. This, in turn, helps to drive better ROI.

Define your goals

After the audience definition, the next element that goes into creating that perfect display ad campaign is narrowing down your goals. Based on your goals, the very nature of your ads will change. For example, you won’t want to run the same ads for driving broad awareness as you would for garnering clicks that convert. Your CPM (cost per thousand impressions) will also vary depending on your goals.

The right language is key

Like SEM campaigns, display ads also allow you to target specific demographic groups. Now each group has its own specific characteristics, and the language you use to communicate with them cannot be the same in each case.

As an example, consider the following case: suppose you're an online video-on-demand platform that has content for all age categories. You’ll certainly not get the right kind of attention if you try to target the senior crowd with young adult content.

Therefore, in order to make your display ads effective, you need to run demographic as well as psychographic analysis of your target audience, and tailor your ads to their preferences. Avoid buzzwords, be clear and concise, and you’ll be able to get your message across effectively.

Copy is king

Display ads are, by nature, visual. Still, ad copy plays as vital a role here as in text ads. In fact, in display ads, your language should be visual as well. For example, using compelling words such as now and need can convey urgency and the sense to act quickly on an offer.

Other elements of successful display copy can include using numbers and symbols to grab your viewers’ attention. Stats are a good bet in this case. The right numbers can cause people to take the intended action.

Also, don’t be afraid to experiment; use bold typography to stand out from the crowd; ask questions to make your audience curious, and reach out to them in the right voice.

READ MORE: Ad copy that sells

An image is worth a thousand words

We humans are visual beings, and images speak to us in ways that mere words can never hope to achieve. The right imagery can get the message across to your target audience with ease.

However, the imagery that you use should be free of clutter, simple and, most importantly, be suitable for your brand. You can also use photos for your display ads, in which case you must make sure they resonate with the message you're trying to convey.

Illustrations, animations and videos are also wonderful devices to get your message across. The right imagery can successfully grab the attention of your target demographic and give them that nudge in the right direction.

Calls to action are essential

Calls to action, or CTAs, are one of the most essential elements of your display ads. You need to let your target customers know what action they need to take in response to your ads. And just like on your website pages, PPC ads or any other marketing channel, a CTA must play a prominent part.

You can add this CTA as a part of the copy, or even as a separate element like a button. Internet users have been exposed to these elements for years, and you can expect them to interact with these of their own accord.

READ MORE: How to write compelling CTAs

The landing page matters

So, you’ve crafted that perfect ad, and potential customers are clicking! But now comes the most important part of all: converting this traffic into paying customers. And in order to do that you need to pay special attention to the most important part of your display campaign: the landing page.

Although landing pages are not directly a part of the ads displayed, they form the backbone of your display ad campaign. For display ads, landing pages hold special significance as they need to enhance the promise and appeal of the visual ads that bring traffic to them.

But just creating any landing page is not enough to ensure that you retain visitors. It’s very important for your landing page to have a purpose and convey a clear message to your audience. If possible, you can also create separate landing pages for different demographic sections.

Also important is the fact that the message of the landing page must match that of the ads displayed. The journey from the ads to the landing pages must be a seamless and fluid one. The copy and visual cues of the ad and landing page have to be congruent to get a matching message across.

Remember, a landing page experience that's disjointed from the ads can confuse your audience. And this ultimately hurts conversions in the long run. So, make sure that the journey from the ad to the landing page is a smooth one.

READ MORE: The elements of a great landing page

Keep track

Even after you've crafted a great ad campaign, you need to track and measure the engagement with your display ads. Remember, don’t get mired in unnecessary metrics while trying to make sense of everything.

Clicks and impressions are no doubt indicative of the progress of your campaign, but at the end of the day, remember to focus only on conversions as the key performance indicator. Tracking your progress will help you to decide how you can improve on your campaign, and what steps you can take to make sure that the next set of ads kills it.

And finally…

Be patient! Like everything good, display ads need time before they begin to show results. As display ads are more of a visual medium than text-based ads, you can expect to see faster responses.

Nevertheless, remember that patience is key to any marketing campaign. And if you do display ads correctly, then results are sure to come. The elements mentioned above all go into making that perfect display campaign.

And, most of all, if you don't have experience creating display ad campaigns, get some help from someone who does. A skilled graphic designer can help craft compelling visuals that grab viewers' attention, and a good copywriter can help you write ad copy that makes your offer impossible to resist. The best way to get a great campaign is to work together with the designer and copywriter to come up with a creative concept, and then bring the visuals and copy together to make a display ad that'll send your sales soaring.

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