The Best Play for Display

How to Tackle Display Ads, Correctly

Simply leading a handful of players to the football field and saying “give it your best!” isn’t enough to win the game. Quality players in the right places – and a strategic game plan to back them – both go a long way.

The same idea can be applied to your display ads. You might have a few ads displayed in various places online, but if these ads are poorly placed, lack information, and are missing cohesive call to actions, visuals, and strategy, they won’t have the impact you’re hoping for. In other words, they’ll likely go unnoticed, and you won’t win over prospective customers. Whether they’re on a computer, tablet or mobile device, when set up and designed correctly, display ads can get your brand front and center quickly, with minimal effort and spend.

Game Play Stats

Generally, if display ads aren’t in your playbook, you may want to do a bit of re-strategizing. Over $500 billion is spent globally on advertising each year, and, not surprisingly, a large portion of that spend is used on the tried-and- true display ad – because it works. Currently, 84% of marketers are investing in display ads because they’re almost always within budget and can accurately target your specified audience (if you’re utilizing “good data”). According to SEMRush, Google’s Display Ad Network reaches 90% of global internet users and mobile advertising spend (which consists primarily of display ads) is now higher than TV advertising spend. Additionally, if you’re looking for lead conversions, retargeting ads are your best bet, with 53% more views than general display ads and 70% more likelihood of conversion.

The Rulebook

So, now that your eyes are on the end-zone, here are the key players to you should consider when creating your high-scoring display ads:

The Path to Touchdown – Include Eye-catching CTAs

The single most important thing on your ad is a relevant CTA that ties in directly with the creative. It can do wonders for your CTRs and provide a better sense of the info users can expect to see once they click on the ad. Most importantly, don’t overthink it. A simple button can get the job done.

Remember the Offensive Line – Design with a Mobile First Perspective

Did you know 70% of all ads are shown on mobile devices? That’s why we recommend designing your mobile ads first, then you can scale up into other sizes for desktops & laptops. Keep in mind that no matter what size you’re working with, brand logos and colors should be prevalent, each asset should have its own space, and you should avoid overlapping whenever possible.

Don’t Overcomplicate the Play – Keep Content Short & Sweet

While there are no strict limits, a general rule of thumb is that less is more when it comes to copy. Wordier ads can be harder to digest, especially if they’re viewed on smaller screens. And when in doubt, mirror your favorite billboard (or sideline) ad – short headlines that can be absorbed in just 1-2 seconds.

Recs & Specs

Although you may be tempted to utilize a trick play, it’s usually best to stick to the playbook. Here are the most common display ad sizes, with “leaderboard” size being the most popular (and we’re not surprised!).

And of course, along with leaderboard ad size, there are a few more MVPs. As a general rule, you should include the following sizes within any campaign:

Other Things to Consider Before Kickoff

While we’re not telling you to call an audible at the last second, there are still a few things to consider before kickoff. To eliminate the chance of a fumble, keep these practices in mind when finalizing your ads:

  • Acceptable file types include JPG, GIF or HTML5
  • Your max file size should be 150KB
  • Ads should be static or animated, non-expanding, non-rich media
  • JPG or GIF back-ups are required but shouldn’t be larger than 120KB
  • JPG or GIF back-ups must be submitted as files vs. embedded tags
  • 1 pt. borders are required and must be a color that’s different from the creative
  • Stay away from transparent backgrounds and anything that blends into screen content
  • GIF ads with partially black or white backgrounds need a border that’s different from the background
  • Strobing, flashing, or other distracting backgrounds are discouraged
  • Animation length should be 30 seconds or shorter
  • Animated GIF ads must have a frame rate of 5 frames per second or slower

Additional Draft Picks

Just like a good trade adds to an already prosperous team, display ads are even more effective when combined with omnichannel tactics like direct mail and/or email. In a study conducted by USPS, research showed that when combining direct mail and digital ads, 68% of industry professionals saw increased website visits, 63% noticed increased response rates, and 60% observed increased ROI.

The Hail Mary

In case you still need some visual representation, here are a few examples that follow the rulebook to a tee.

Ready to see your digital ad strategies cause a real spike in sales? Contact us to see how we can help with everything display ads, from creation to implementation.

Oh, and P.S…Go Eagles.

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