How to Make Great Display Ads with No Special Knowledge

 So far I have been talking a lot about search and social media ads. However one of the first thing people think of when hearing digital marketing is banners. Let’s face it, almost every website we regularly visit is showing display ads. There are plenty of opportunities to get this ad format wrong, but don’t worry – it’s actually easier than you think.

Audience. If you are just starting with Displayed advertising on Google, I would recommend you to begin with remarking(Check my previous article for more details here). There are many techniques on how to choose who to market to. Some of them are: customer email lists, URL rules to target particular page visitors, demographics, geography, affinity groups and in makers segments. This is where you have to start when creating your strategy – to who you want to show what message. When choosing audience, I would recommend you not to over-layer, i.e. target by keywords, remarketing, demographic info and etc, – this will only reduce your audience and your chances to get conversions.

Design. You don’t have to be a design genius in order to create a well converting banner. There are some free tools lI uses for my first campaigns like Canva and Bannersnack. They do have premium versions if you want access for more than one person or if you want to use certain designs. What I love about Canva is that all designs are pre-made and look really good. Both platforms are super user friendly and no prior experience is required. Also you can create great designs for your social media posts and email headers there. 

 I created the banner on the top for less than 5 minutes on Bannersnack using a ready image and a few shapes. The one below is free ready made by Canva and can be easily modified to suit your needs:

When it comes to design best practices, stick to simplicity. Make sure your call to action is readable and clear. There are 5 sizes which Google uses and I always recommend you to take advantage of all of them. Both, Bannersnack and Canva allow you to create animated banner – a simple slideshow which is quite eye-catching.

Bidding. Here we come to the serious matter. This is where most of your success lies. Finding the right bidding does require some trials and error knowledge, as it is specific for every product and country. For example, if you have a strong list of managed placements, allocate more of your budget towards this campaign.  Then separate the different placements into their own ad groups. In this way you can feed more money into the ad groups that contain the placement providing the best return.

Placements. These are the websites where your ads will appear, so choose wisely.  One way to start is to check Google Analytics and see which your top referral websites are. If you don’t manage your placements yet, take time to go through the placements which Google automatically would choose for you. Take out the ones which are not very relevant, because they would take from your budget. The weather.com website, for example is not likely to provide a lot of conversions. People only check it quickly once a day.

Like negative keywords, you can ad negative placements – websites you don’t want to appear on.I usually take out adult content and anything related to cruelty, but you can go granular and exclude mobile applications for example. Soon you can have top placement lists, which you can separate in campaigns with more budget to avoid losing your budget on less converting placements. Also like keywords you can raise and decrease bids on certain websites, depending on the conversion rates you see:

And finally, take time to test different strategies, designs and placements. It is all a fragile balance dependent on many factors and is unique for each business. I wish you success !