The use of display ads is definitely worth the investment for companies. They result in a broad and targeted placement on the internet; they help consumers know and recognize the brand more easily, and remarketing with display ads generates high returns.
On average, the display ad click-through rate (CTR) is a fraction of the CTR of search ads. This is because, while we may target general interests and behaviors, we cannot directly target terms that prospective customers enter in the search box when they search for a product, service, or solution, as they do for paid search ads.
This means that if you want them to click on our display ads, you need outstanding visual creativity and compelling text. Many times we encounter the mistake that creatives sent by companies are not of good quality, not enough attention-grabbing and do not faithfully reflect the brand.
There are 4 main components of image ads that should appear on your creative:
- Company logo
- Image or visual representation of the product
- Value proposition
- Call to action
Of course, the two most important things that are constantly changing are the value proposition and the call to action. These are the most important to stand out from the ad.
Pricing of image ads
Image ads are usually priced on a CPM (cost-per-thousand impression) basis, which means advertisers pay for “impressions” or when the number of viewers targeted sees the ad. This type of bidding is recommended when, for example, the goal is to introduce a new brand to consumers. However, advertisers are moving towards a more favorable pricing model where they pay for conversions or clicks by clicking on your ad, not just impressions.
Types of image ads
Although display ads can take many forms, these are the most popular formats:
- Static: Immobile image, usually accompanied by text
- Animated: Uses 5-10 seconds of video or GIF. Do not exceed 30 seconds
- Interactive: Requires the viewer to participate, such as responding to a survey, playing a short game, or giving personal information.
- Video: As the name indicates, video ads use standalone videos to forward messages. Unlike animated display ads, which contain only a few seconds of footage, video ads are longer, though usually no longer than 30 seconds.
- Expand: Expanding display ads first becomes small and larger when a user performs a specific action, such as clicking or scrolling.
Where can we find display ads?
The following 3 platforms are responsible for placing the majority of display ads:
- Google Display Network: Google offers a state-of-the-art platform for brands to target the audience they want. If you use this network, don’t forget to keep in mind Google’s display ad specifications.
- Facebook audience network: Facebook ads are designed to boost revenue through creative ad formats and measurement solutions.
- Twitter audience platform: Although Twitter’s platform is not quite as behaved as Google and Facebook and is not widespread in our country, it still has considerable power in the world of display advertising. The Twitter Audience Platform boasts the reach of 700 million people– making it an effective network for display ads.
In general, the image sizes accepted for Google are 1200 x 628 and 1080 x 1080 or 1200 x 1200 pixels, while for Facebook they are 1080 x 1080 pixels, for the Facebook story they are 1080 x 1920 pixels.
It’s not easy to make up a punchy display ad from scratch. One of the best ways to create good ads is to study ads. That’s why we’ve picked up the best display ads we’ve seen so far in 2020, inspiring your next campaign.
Let’s see what are the best characteristics and features of the best display ads of 2020 so far
As mentioned above, the CTR for display ads is a fraction of search ads, 0.46percent, and the average search ads (CTR) is about 1/10. This can be a challenging marketing strategy for us, but if we do it right, the benefits of display ads will be comprehensive and durable. The following examples offer great visual advertising ideas and strategies to take advantage of these benefits without having to start from scratch and invent creatives.
1. Apple TV draws attention to itself with simplicity
Less is sometimes more. In many cases, it doesn’t take much or convincing text to attract attention with display advertising. Often, the simplicity of things is much better than, for example, in the case of the Apple display ad below.
Check out this Apple TV gift card ad. They highlight color cards and use a total of four words in the ad. This may seem like not enough, but word selection and usage will make this ad work well.
In addition to the above, the ad takes advantage of the current situation and trend: stay home and watch movies instead of going to the theater. Although “Learn More” isn’t the strongest call-to-action, the contrasting blue color in this environment is strong, and so it’s going to be a great ad.
The same campaign includes two square display ads in which emoticons are an interesting substitute for letters.
Both ads focus on the versatility of the gift card and how to use music, movies, or other entertainment on your Apple TV. In addition, the use of (proven) emoticons in ad text increases the CTR of ads, so why not us? If you want to stand out on the Google Display Network, let’s do it differently than the others. Emoji headlines capture the look without being noisy, annoying.
2. Geico uses color and contrast to highlight its new offering
If you want to advertise a new offer/service next to your existing one(s), let’s see how Geico does this.
Geico’s best-known product is car insurance, but many people don’t know about their home insurance. This display ad uses Geico’s brand name as a car insurance company to offer a better, cheaper product for home, combining car and home insurance.
Icons and color contrast communicate the concept of mixing two different worlds. This isn’t the only banner ad format created for this campaign. Below is a version of the square banner ads that use the same concept and uses the phrase “More than just car insurance:”
The ad is scaled to the size of the ad, rather than just resizing the house and car.
As evidenced by the Geico ad, with the right banner, delivery can be a great tool to spread the reputation of your new product or service.
3. The instapage goes straight to the point
In advertising, simplicity is a virtue. The potential buyer will not be interested in our product if it is not effectively and spectacularly communicating. Instapage’s ad simply states: “The most powerful landing page creator:”
This display ad focuses on the feature rather than the benefits (usually it’s not a good practice for display ads), the “why” CTA button refers to the value bid and draws attention to it.
Moreover, their target audience is quite technical, made up of marketing geeks who often see features as benefits. For example, it is not necessary to explain that a higher conversion rate means more money in the bank.
4. PlayerUnknown ad successfully breaks the rules
Sometimes it’s okay to break the rules. With games like Pubg, a simple visual and text might not deliver the message you want. An explosion is used to highlight the game’s rapid dynamics and active character.
It’s not the cleanest, most original, or creative, but it uses the brand’s familiarity and adapts well to its actual product. Of course, formats and standards depend on the advertising network, but that doesn’t stop you from being creative.
5. The New York Times takes advantage of the latest trends in messaging
In recent years, a lot of fake news has appeared on the Internet. A reliable and credible source of information is required. The New York Times is using it to fight a simple display ad.
Regardless of what you think of the NYT as a news provider, it’s a smart move. “We are the answer,” says this effective banner ad. The call to action, my ‘opportunities’, is personal and effective.
6. Lexus ad attracts attention
A human face can be a good and effective way to attract attention, as long as it is used in the right way.
Of course, it may seem strange at first for a car brand to use such a creative to introduce a new model, but they don’t actually advertise their car directly with this ad. Here they promote their latest innovation, the new speaker system in Lexus ES.
This becomes clear when we get to the landing page, where we find a dedicated video about human hearing sensations and sound design.
If the ad were to drive directly to a standard landing page, full of specifications for cars and engines, this ad wouldn’t work. Instead, image advertising and video together strengthen and help you learn about Lexus’ new innovation, which is already working effectively.
7. A clear message from Mount Sinai in difficult times
Advertising is about context. We can’t create an ad that doesn’t resonate with our audience. Mount Sinai knows what New York City residents are going through in this situation, and it knows how that affects hospitals’ annual inspections. The company has taken steps to address the situation and its display ad transmits this message well.
The headline and CTA are great. Although the main text is slightly longer and is difficult to read due to the small font size, it still achieves what they want.
8. The Polo Ralph Lauren Perfect Brand Ad
What best describes the brand’s style as models wearing the latest collection? The perfect setting.
The picture shows when people go out on the beach, but not to sun or swim, but rather to live a social life. This composition (friends colors, fun) is perfect for leisure brands like Polo. A great example of branding with display ads.
9. Merrell makes us go outdoors
Instead of showing off their shoes against an empty white or black background, Merrell, like many shoe companies, chose a forest environment.
Combining trees, green grass, and leaves with Ontario’s font choice, they create a desire to take our shoes and go outdoors. This ad promises a hiking experience, not the product itself. And, of course, if you want to go hiking, you’re going to need hiking boots.
10. Integral Ad Science’s Short and Punchy Message
This IAS display ad uses an attention-grabbing color world and a combination of it with a short and punchy message.
It’s incredibly simple, with a total of 9 words, without real pictures, icons, or graphics. But it works because of creativity, a good choice of color and font, and a balance of simplicity.
11. Square confirms that the KISS rule continues to work
For an ad to be effective, it doesn’t have to be revolutionary. Keeping things simple is often a recipe for success. The principle of the KISS rule is that the simpler and shorter we put it, the more we have won.
If you take the Square ad above in pieces, the image contains:
- Product image
- Call to action (not even a button)
As long as you have a good product image and a clear offer, you don’t need to be a creative genius.
12. SEMrush’s creativity is displayed with images, colors and animations combined
To create an attention-grabbing ad, you don’t have to take expensive photos with professional models in a professional studio. Creative use of icons or even stock photos can help you stand out from the crowd. SEMrush’s square image ad is perfect for eliminating “banner blindness.”
Instead of the general base for marking the tournament, SEMrush uses a chess figure inside an hourglass. The hourglass symbolizes the speed in the offer. The photos are edited to create a contrasting color world that attracts attention. With the appearance of HTML5, your display ad no longer needs to be a static image ad because it has all sorts of animation options.
In this banner, SEMrush uses smart graphics – gifs that symbolize climbing. The graphics are simple, but the movement is used to draw the user’s attention.
13. Sap’s perfect B2B advertisement
This animated headline from SAP is an example of great B2B marketing. The first headline is short and concise, and its message targets the problems of many companies: an independent workforce.
The following image then shows a solution that will help you nurture a successful workplace. The focus is on the underlying problem and the high level of benefits, rather than immersing in specific features.
If more B2B ads were so human, direct, and concise, “ad blindness” could be a minor problem in the market.
14. Workplace highlights the benefits of using their software
This Workplace animation ad really shows us the possibilities of animation in-display ads. With just a few simple guides and texts, he highlights the three most important advantages for managers and business owners.
When used correctly, the animation is a tool that can help us pass on more information to potential customers. In this ad, it’s not just about attracting attention, it’s about information.
15. PNC Bank advertises its app with dogs and humor
Humor is a great and often underused tool in the advertisers’ toolbox. PNC Bank’s short, animated ad is a great example of display ads.
The strict rules of the banking sector must be observed in our communication. Far fewer things are allowed than in other sectors. But as we can see in the example above, Humor works in content marketing if used wisely and purposely.
16. Constant Contact demonstrates technological opportunities with animation
Constant Contact’s ad uses simple animation to make your ad look smarter and more modern.
Because advertising is about automating smart email marketing, the added movement seems like a necessary addition. Almost in itself, multimedia acts as a promise that the ad is as smart as the service.
17. Bulldog Skincare proves that interstitial ads don’t have to be confusing either
Interstitial ads are the most controversial format. We have unprecedented opportunities to promote our messages, but there is a price to pay.
For this type of ad, the user is forced to view the ad and often accidentally clicks it while trying to close it. But if you plan and target the right banner ads, they can still be powerful marketing tools. Bulldog Skincare uses a humorous image and headline to counteract this.
What’s most important for a good display ad
The above ad examples have a wide variety of features that support a variety of marketing goals and intents. To help your image ad reach its destination effectively, we’ve compiled a list of key strategic steps:
- Call for current trends.
- Don’t over-compress it; less is often more than display ads.
- Use bright colors or high contrast to get attention.
- Replace words or even letters with emoticons.
- Make your ad a focal point.
- Match the ad (graphics, text) to the size you specify.
- Make your offer concise and straightforward.
- Find out who your target audience is.
- Add animation or video to the landing page associated with your ad.
- Try an ad that focuses on the brand, not a specific product.
- Test your unique ideas against the traditional version.
- CTA – customize the call-to-action button to better match your audience and bid.
- Advertise an experience, not a product.
- Use animation to convey more information.
- Find unique ways to collect icons and stock photos.
- Try to add humor to your ad.
- Don’t be afraid of interstitial ads.
Test and optimize to find the most effective display ad for your business
If you don’t have a strategy and you don’t know exactly what you want, display ads will only be newer money sinks. But if you have a purpose and follow the principles you’ve proven, you’ll succeed. But please remember and don’t be depressed that the first idea is rarely the winning idea. Create multiple cretins with different messages and test them for the best results. Constantly testing and optimizing Google Ads and Facebook is a reliable recipe for success.