10 Tips for Designing Banner Ads That Drive Sales

Your ad creative may be the first time a customer interacts with your brand.  It's important to use these opportunities to make a lasting impression.  Everybody is different but there are some strategies you can use to help your ads stand out from the rest. 

Here are 10 tips for designing banner ads that drive sales.  

1. USE A HERO IMAGE

The image should be the focal point of the ad.  When presenting ads you are competing for your audiences' engagement, so make sure your image stands out and grabs attention.  Images of people's faces/lifestyle imagery tend to perform better than stand-alone product shots. 

2. HAVE A CLEAR CALL-TO-ACTION (CTA)

If you only follow one of these recommendations make sure it’s this one. Every ad should have a clear CTA. Keep the CTA short and sweet and be direct, for example “Shop Now”, “Buy Now”, “Sign Up”, or “Learn More.”

CTA’s are typically in the form of a button. This helps the CTA standout from the background color. If you choose not to use a button format, make the CTA a different color to help direct the eye of your audience.

3. ADD YOUR COMPANY LOGO

Branding consistency is key. Add your logo to your ad. This will help with brand continuity. Your logo will typically go in the top third of your ad depending on the composition of your image and placement of your copy.

4. ADD A STRONG HEADLINE

Even though the image is the focus of your ad, don't forget about the headline.  Your headline reinforces the image and can shape your audiences perspective about it's contents.  For product specific ads, include product keywords to tell your audience what you're promoting.  

5. ADD A PROMOTION

Promotions improve conversion rates.  If you are promoting a specific product, including promotional messaging like discount or free shipping will typically result in a higher click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate. 

6. INSTILL A SENSE OF URGENCY

If you see an ad online for a sale that ends in 24 hours and one that has no end date, what ad are you more likely to click on?  Human nature says you're more likely to click through to the offering that ends in 24 hours.  When possible, include messaging that provokes a sense of urgency.  Test different messaging like "Sale Ends Today," "Limited Time," "While Supplies Last," to see what performs best. 

7. MAINTAIN BRAND CONSISTENCY

Your ads should be an extension of your brand. Keep the branding of your ads consistent with your site design and color scheme. This consistency will ensure that anyone can easily tell your ad belongs to your brand.

Avoid using a white background. Most sites use a white/light background so banner ads tend to blend in and get lost if they are white. If you do opt to use a white background make sure there’s a border around your ad.

8. MAINTAIN MESSAGING CONSISTENCY

This is very important and often speaks directly to conversion rates. If your ad is promoting a 25% discount on a specific product, but the landing page you’re driving traffic to doesn’t speak to this promotion, customers might feel mislead, get frustrated and leave. Make sure the messaging in your ad reflects the messaging on your landing page.

9. TEST. OPTIMIZE. REPEAT.

Testing is the key to success. It’s impossible to know what works best for your site if you do not test and iterate on your best performing campaigns. There are immeasurable ways to A/B test your creative, so start with the foundation of your ad – CTA, images, messaging.

10. DON’T REINVENT THE WHEEL

Get your creative juices flowing by checking out other successful digital campaigns. Look for relevant ads in your industry, competitors’ campaigns, etc. Here are a few good places to start.

By following these 10 tips for designing ads that drive sales, you'll be on your way to converting a whole new wave of customers on your site.  Any additional tips?  Feel free to comment below.