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The Side Dish

5 Quick Wins for Digital Ad Conversion

David Gould / 11.8.2017

The digital advertising landscape is an increasingly complex place.

On one hand, companies are spending record numbers on digital advertising, thanks in large part to a booming mobile market. On the other hand, internet users are employing ad-blocking software at an increasing rate, posing challenges to advertisers and publishers alike. Destination websites like news portals and social media sites are becoming increasingly competitive and, often, expensive.

Given this quickly evolving ecosystem, it’s more important than ever that brands smartly execute on what they can control. Strong digital ad conversion rates start with making the ad content as compelling as possible for your audience.

Crowded News Home Page

It’s harder than ever to compete for a user’s attention.

Digital Ad Conversion Challenges

When designing and deploying a digital advertising campaign, there are a few key things to consider from the audience’s perspective:

You are distracting them from what they’re doing

The person seeing your ad most likely did not hop online intending to read up on your product or service. What you are offering needs to seem more valuable in the moment than what they set out to do.

You are competing for attention

Yours is likely one of multiple brands advertising on a given page. Tougher still, on social media, you’re likely competing for attention against pictures of newborn grandkids and viral cat videos.

Your customers are increasingly ad-savvy

Even for those who haven’t employed ad-blocking, audiences are more astute – and even cynical – about how they interact with online advertising. They are slow to trust advertising and have developed “banner blindness” to same-old, poorly executed display ads.

Given these challenges, here are some tips to make your ads as effective as possible with customers.

1. Keep It Short

Animated ad formats allow you to get creative with content, but avoid lengthy presentations. You only have a split second to capture a viewer’s attention; users may scroll by as your ad content slowly unfolds.

  • Avoid animations and effects that delay presentation of the main message
  • If the content absolutely requires a longer format, be sure that your brand or product is visible throughout
  • Even if a viewer doesn’t see the full messaging they are likely to recall the brand

Bad Examples for Digital Ad Conversion

Users are conditioned to ignore cluttered, text-heavy ads.

2. Limit the Text

Even large-format display ads have relatively little real estate for content. The temptation can be to squeeze in as much text copy a possible, but the result is often an ad that is busy, and ultimately less impactful. White space around key messages will help them stand out and leave more room for eye-catching graphics.

  • Keep the wording as concise as possible
  • Only include enough to compel a user to click
  • Let the target landing page do the heavy lifting for explanatory copy

3. Be Visual

It only takes milliseconds for users to begin visually processing your ad. That means before they’ve read a single word, they are forming an impression about it. Work to strike a balance between eye-catching, pleasing, and supporting your digital ad conversion rate.

  • Aim for colorful or high-contrast ads
  • Be mindful that busy graphics can compete with ad text
  • Don’t sacrifice the value and tone of your brand for gimmicky tricks to draw the eye

AirBnB Banner Ad

Simple messaging and attractive visuals can stand out amid a website’s text and clutter.

4. Focus on Benefit to Audience

The message of an ad must be compelling to divert a person’s attention from the site content they’re reading.

  • An attractive offer – highlight key figures like prices and percentages
  • A message that resonates with the user’s interests or values
  • Content that is entertaining enough to be enjoyed on its own merits

5. Have a Clear, Enticing Call to Action (CTA)

Congratulations, you’ve gotten their attention! Now include a clear next step along with an incentive to encourage users to click. This can be the most important step for digital ad conversion. Savvy internet users don’t want a hassle or a heavy-handed pitch, so use the CTA as an opportunity to mitigate that skepticism.

  • Avoid bland language like “Learn More” or “Click Here”
  • Highlight ease or lack of commitment like “Try It Free” or “Get Started in Under a Minute”
  • Make the CTA clear and distinct, not part of the general ad text

Putting It All Together

Here are some examples of clean, compelling ads that embody the best practices mentioned above.

Good Examples for Digital Ad Conversion

We see how these ads all manage to:

  • Include the brand prominently
  • Use compelling, representative visuals
  • Keep ad copy concise
  • Present user-focused benefits
  • Highlight next steps with a compelling CTA

Digital advertising can be a highly effective way to reach relevant audiences. Be sure you’re investing as much into how your creative represents your brand as you do to the technology, targeting and tactics they rely on.