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Well-Designed Ads: A Beginner’s Guide to Conversion

Date published: April 27, 2021
Last updated: April 27, 2021

It’s difficult to imagine marketing activity without advertising. Advertising moves businesses forward and increases sales. One proven way to make your ads more effective is to upgrade their design. However, ad design requires a lot of creativity. If you plan to design your ads in-house, you must know your target audience cold.

When it comes time to invest in a new direction for your business, it’s challenging to know which way to turn. You’ll never know with 100% certainty whether you’ll realize a return on investment (ROI) or not. This is especially true when you enter the realm of advertising. It’s one thing to pay for ads, but it’s something entirely different to pay for well-designed ads.

Do Well-Designed Ads Make Any Difference for ROI?

Yes, absolutely. Here are a few key points to consider when investing in ad design:

  1. The new ad will help your company stand out from your competitors.
  2. Well-designed ads increase your organic reach.
  3. Effective ads help increase your conversion rate.
  4. Executed well, ads improve the perception of your brand.

Here are eight recommendations for moving your advertising from a level you find “acceptable” to one that features well-designed ads that produce a noticeable bump in sales.

1. Underline Your Message

To make an advertisement message clear, you first need to be clear on your actual selling proposition. Ads provide a wonderful opportunity to introduce a product or service with the help of different visual elements.

The primary goal of any ad message is to give your target audience a clear understanding of what you have to offer. The ad below, for example, features a sparse use of text and other visual cues to immediately convey what the business has to offer. If you can’t convey your message in just a few words, it’s time to do some more brainstorming.

Use framing to highlight your ad's call-to-action.

2. Test and Adopt a Branded Color Palette

Every brand has its own unique color palette that uses just a few colors to reinforce a brand's identity. Be sure to select your own color palette before you design any ads. Think about how it would be best to use those specific colors. Which should play as a background? Which one will be used as an accent? Experiment with variations of colors that can be reflected in ad design and make sure anyone designing company materials of any kind adheres to them.

3. Don't Forget to Add a Border to Your Ad’s Call-to-Action

Adding a border to any call-to-action (CTA) naturally draws the eye of the viewer. If you take a closer look at the ads you find most effective, you’re likely to see that they include borders or other graphic pointers to the ad’s CTA.

Borders create a “framing effect” that helps focus attention. This framing effect is widely used among artists and photographers. Artists use it to present objects in relation to their surroundings. Photographers use borders to draw people's attention to the primary subject of their photos.

In the case of marketing, the framing effect should focus a potential consumer's attention on a selling proposition. In the example below, a framed CTA strikes the eye and inclines the viewer to click a button to schedule an appointment.

Use borders to draw the eye to your call-to-action.

4. Well-Designed Ads Create Harmony

Our modern-day digital world offers many opportunities for the non-creative to create. A decade ago, you had to hire a designer to do any design job. Nowadays, there are plenty of easy-to-use online tools anyone can leverage for design work even if they have zero experience.

The best part is that using online design tools can help you create visual harmony through simplification. Harmony helps blend all visual elements smoothly.

Thus, when you design your ads, you should choose colors and visual elements that complement each other. Simply stated, if there is no logical reason to use a visual element, you shouldn’t include it. Otherwise, your selling proposition probably won't look unique. Note both the simplicity and effectiveness of this Autosaver ad.

Seek to create harmony between colors and graphic elements.

5. Use Systematized Naming Conventions

You won’t effectively design ads if you fail to pay attention to organization and the need for collaboration from the get-go. No one profits by wasting time playing “Where’s that file I used before?” You can hardly be too organized when it comes to well-designed ads.

If you start out using a naming convention system, you should be able to organize your design ad campaigns easily. Systematizing helps you name your projects and organize folders to keep your ads in one place. When the time comes, you won't have any issues finding and designing the exact ad you need. 

6. Run A/B Testing

You can never know how with 100% certainty how your ad will perform. This is why smart marketing specialists run A/B split tests to see which ad would work the best. The same happens with well-designed ads. By using specific graphic design software, you will be able to design and optimize your ads based on the results of A/B tests.

Do your best to think outside the box when conducting A/B split testing. Try multiple design solutions for each ad you're composing. See if your ad elicits more positive results with the earlier mentioned "frame around" visual element or without it. Play with different colors, layouts, fonts, images, etc. The goal of A/B testing is to find the most successful variation of the future ad and draw attention to the target CTA.

7. Well-Designed Ads Lean on Our Emotions

Advertising campaigns that evoke emotions are more effective than ads with plain text. A visually appealing ad has an approximately 31% response rate. Ads featuring rational content fall to a response rate of 17%. Why does this happen? Simply because well-designed ads appeal to the emotional life of the audience.

If your selling proposition engages with people's emotions, you can make effective use of sentimental images, suggesting the audience feel a sense of nostalgia that taps into our memories. Don't forget humor, which also works wonderfully to engage the heart.

Colors also play a huge part in evoking emotions. Take the time to discover which branded colors you could use effectively in ad design. Emotions trigger people to take action and should be considered as an essential part of any overall website marketing strategy.

Emotion and Brand Colors

8. Use Storytelling When Designing Ads

Consumers love it when brands tell their stories via advertising. Well-designed ads adopt the process of storytelling when creating ads.

Every story has a hero. In the case of ads, the hero should be a stand-in for your potential customer. This hero desires something good that your product or service can help deliver. The story creates sympathy for the hero and positions your company favorably.

Of course, every story also features a villain. For the purposes of your ad, the villain is whatever issue is troubling your potential customer. Well-designed ads act as a bridge that leads your hero (customer) to the solution (your product or service) that can help defeat the villain (issue).

Creating Well-Designed Ads in Six Simple Steps

Now that you’re familiar with eight basic concepts behind well-designed ads, it’s time to try your hand at creating one. You can dive right in if you like but it might help to start off by utilizing a free online ad maker tool just to get comfortable with the process.

1. Choose a Suitable Template for Your Ad

To design an eye-catching ad that converts to sales, choose a template to get off and running quickly. Make sure this template lines up with the goal of your ad and your brand identity.

Choose a suitable template for your ad.

2. Write Your Ad Copy

Think carefully about the message of your ad. The message should reflect a value proposition and contain one CTA. Keep it simple and pick your words carefully. Don’t overwhelm.

Write your ad copy.


3. Work With Ad Colors

As mentioned earlier, it’s important you choose the right colors for your ad. These colors must attract eyeballs and increase brand recognition. With an ad design editor, you can play with different colors and choose the right mix for your brand.

Work with ad colors.

4. Use Different Visuals

Sometimes it makes sense to add different visuals. These can be photos, illustrations, icons, or shapes. Whatever you want, as long as you keep in mind that all visuals must follow the message of the entire ad.

Use different visuals.

5. Don't Forget About Framing Your Call-to-Action

The framing effect works perfectly when you need people to pay attention to your CTA within the ad. Just choose the border that you think will be appropriate to your brand.

Frame your call-to-action,

6. Run A/B Testing

A/B tests allow you to see which advertisement will bring the best results. Create multiple duplicates of the same ad with slight changes for your testing sessions.

Run A/B testing.

Well-Designed Ads Never Lose Sight of Purpose

Ad design is an integral part of the overall process of creating ads. If you know how to create visually beautiful ads, you have a far better chance to increase your level of conversion. As you move forward, feel free to experiment. Maybe you will need to hire an agency, at least initially. You can even break the rules occasionally, as long as you can articulate why and to what purpose. The best ads garner attention before the audience can put up its guard. Pay close attention and seek to design your ads to the same standard.

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