How to design attention-grabbing digital banner ads

Are you planning to design (or brief an agency to design) a digital display campaign for your brand? Or perhaps you’re trying to understand why a current or previous campaign didn’t deliver the results you were expecting?

With over six years’ experience designing thousands of successful campaigns for happy clients, we thought we’d share our advice on how to design digital banner ads that attract users’ attention, and encourage them to click through and buy.

The four elements every successful banner ad needs

We’ve honed our advice down to four simple elements that every successful, attention-grabbing digital banner ad needs.

1) Your logo

The one element absolutely every ad needs is your logo. A logo is what sticks in a customer’s mind long after visiting a store or website, and if they had a positive experience it’s what they’ll be looking for when planning a returning trip.

Some companies are so well known that they can rely on the products themselves to gain an audience (for example, Disney’s mouse ears or Lego’s famous mini-figures). But even so, they’ll always include the logo in an easy-to-read impactful space.

Your logo should be noticeable from the viewer’s first glance, and be present throughout the duration of the banner, up to the final frame leading to a click or purchase. This is even more important if you’re a relatively unknown or new company, as it’s your chance to make a great first impression and get your logo out into the competitive world of advertising.

2) Your products

It’s also essential to make the viewer aware of what it is you’re selling. A logo will always be trumped by the quality of the company product. For example, the public often have negative things to say about Uber, yet will still use the service because of its convenience.

The same applies to your banner ads. If a viewer sees a product they like, 9 times out of 10 they will ignore the brand altogether and just aim to find out more information about the desired product.

In most banners we create, we try to show the viewer as much of the product as possible, with the desired information that will get that BUY NOW click to the website. For example, if a product has a lengthy description, it might be worth ditching this on the banner, leaving room for the product title and the all-important “BUY NOW” button.

In some cases, showing variety in products can also be a great addition to your banner. We use a product slider, which showcases a selection of products on an animated rotation, allowing the viewer to see either items from different categories of the site, or items in similar categories if the viewer has already clicked and been retargeted with a specific product.

Either way, you want to create a big impact with your product, so allowing enough space within the banner to do so is always important.

3) An offer

So, the viewer has spotted your amazing product, and they’ve made a mental note of your logo, but for some reason have yet to click through. What you need now is something extra to offer them as a lure to the CTA button.

In 2017, 96% of Americans admitted to purchasing online during advertised sales or event days like Cyber Monday or Black Friday. For most of us, the best thing about online shopping is being able to sit in your pyjamas watching the television, while also being first in line to the sale you’ve been waiting for since payday.

So why not maximise this love of lazy purchasing? By showing clear messaging in your banner ads about upcoming or current sales, or new releases, your customers can immediately click through to rummage among the bargains on offer, without having to be taken away from their routine or activity.

Calls to action like “UP TO 50% OFF SHIRTS” or “FREE NEXT DAY DELIVERY FOR 24 HOURS” are a fantastic way of raking in last-minute customers, especially when used on sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The casual scroller on their bus home or stuck on the tube is the perfect candidate for clicking through on enticing offers and getting you those extra purchases.

4) Personalisation

It’s easy to feel like you’re just another customer to brands. Or are being served ads that aren’t truly targeted at you personally. So an easy way to cut through the noise online, is to make users feel special.

And to do that, we use personalised dynamic ads. They’ve fast become our clients’ most popular form of campaign building, and who can blame them? Our average CTR through dynamic campaigns is 300% more than regular campaigns.

What’s great about personalisation is that there are just so many opportunities to use it within advertising. It could be something as little as using cookies to find out what gaming console a consumer owns, to having a billboard banner showing Google street-view of a viewer’s road, along with augmented reality technology to show a brand new car sat on their own driveway.

With each viewer getting their own unique experience of an advert, there’s nothing stopping that same advert from showing different content again if the user gets a repeat ad.

Of course, it’s important to consider what would be most relevant to your product, as it’s sometimes easy to go overboard on these special effects and lose track of the customer journey towards the CTA button. Just remember to question how and why that form of personalisation would be relevant for you, and whether you would feel impacted by its use if you were targeted with the same.

Do you need help designing banner ads that attract attention and encourage users to click through and buy? We’d be very happy to explain how we can help you. To find out, call us on 020 7821 6864 or email Jon Weeks.