You want to start to deal with display ads but don’t know how to make it well ? Or, you already started, and you don’t get the results expected ?

Making efficient display ads is not that easy. More and more businesses are turning to online advertisement, as it is the most effective medium for reaching their target audience today.

To stand your business out in this sea of ads, there are a few practices to follow, which I'm going to share with you in this article.

When To Use Display Ads?

Display ads are combinations of images, texts, and URLs that visually showcase your products or brands online on various platforms (blogs, websites, social media, and applications). Different display ads include banner, interactive, video, animated, and expandable ads.

Through these ads, you can reach the perfect audience at the perfect time and urge them to visit landing pages, fill out a form, or make a purchase. Display ads can also increase your brand's awareness, and it would be best to use them at the earliest stages of your advertising funnel.

As compared to other advertisement strategies, display ads will be the best choice if your objectives are:

  • Boost Traffic And Sale: With display ads, you can reach targeted locations, demographics, and behaviors. In this way, you focus only on traffic that can be easily converted. So, you are not throwing your ads into the digital abyss but placing them where they count, eventually increasing your organic traffic and sales.
  • Increase Webinar Subscription: Display ads specifically target an audience searching for websites related to your webinar's topic. This active targeting approach increases your webinar's visibility and lets you effectively reach those actively involved in the content related to your event. Display ads are considered one of the best and most effective ways to increase webinar subscriptions.
  • Retargeting: Many people visit your website but do not purchase anything, and if you aim to retarget them, get help from remarketing with display ads. For instance, after visiting a website, you used to receive an ad from that website while searching for something else on search engines. It is retargeting. Likewise, remarketing with display ads lets you reach potential customers who have never used your services.
  • Cross-Channel Marketing: Display advertising complements other forms of digital marketing and pay-per-click advertisements. You can use multiple online advertisements to boost your brand's awareness and promote your products.

When Can We Consider Display Ads Effective?

Your car's dashboard provides vital information to monitor your driving progress. In the same way, the display ad metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are the marketing dashboard. They help you navigate the marketing landscape and ensure you are not driving blindly.

So, if you have invested in display advertising but are not tracking the KPIs and metrics, you are driving without a dashboard. This way, you cannot know where you are heading and how long it will take you to reach your destination. Likewise, your marketing efforts will become ineffective and directionless without the right metrics.

So, let’s talk about different KPIs (key performance indicators) before discussing the best display ads practices. All of the metrics and KPIs will help you measure how effective each of your ads is, and you can also design your display ads strategy depending upon them:

Objectives Achieved:

If you want to measure the effectiveness of your display ads campaign, determine whether it raised your brand awareness and improved sales. If yes, you have hit your goal.

Display ads ensure that your ads appear on relevant platforms and reach the targeted audience. People who see your ads on different platforms multiple times remember you and become familiar with your brand. Ultimately, they start trusting you, which boosts brand awareness and drives more sales.

Conversion Rate:

Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors that you were able to convert into sales. Or, the rate tells you about the percentage of the users who have taken the desired action of clicking on your ad, filling out the form, or making a purchase. The average conversion rate for the display ads is 0.59%.

It is another parameter for measuring the success of your display ads campaign. You can easily determine whether your display ad campaigns generate a high enough return from this rate. If the performance is not expected, you can troubleshoot the issues and hope for better results in the future. Besides that, you can also make advertising decisions based on the conversion rate.

Return On Investment (ROI):

Measuring a campaign's success based on ROI (return on investment) is a common practice. For instance, if the return on investment (ROI) is positive, the advertising is financially effective and going well.

Return on investment (ROI) can be calculated from the number of consumers who clicked on or viewed your ads and how much you earned through purchases. However, this calculation will be meaningless as you cannot guess how many sales have occurred without any advertisement.

Remember that some of the sales included in these calculations would have happened even if you hadn't spent a single penny on a marketing campaign. So, by including them, you will get unrealistic results. If you make decisions based on these results and make more investments, you may not get the results as expected.

So, to get accurate results, you must divide the campaign into two groups, including:

  • One group who views your ads
  • And another group who do not view your ads

It will tell you about the additional revenue you have generated by running the ads. By targeting your audience, you can maximize your ROI.


Marketers consider “audience engagement” an effective metric for assessing the effectiveness of display advertisements. 54% rely on engagement indicators such as likes, shares, and comments to understand how the audience interacts with their ads.

The other advantage of engagement is that it reveals when your audience is active, which gives you a clear idea about the right time to post. You can optimize your social media campaigns by posting at the perfect time.

Increased Traffic:

The display advertising traffic gives you valuable insights into the effectiveness of your display ads. For instance, if the ads increase the traffic on the advertiser's website, it proves a successful advertisement campaign.

It also reveals that your decision to invest in display advertising was right, as it has increased your brand's awareness and attracted the relevant audience to your website. Traffic can also give you an idea of how impactful the creative elements (such as images) are for your marketing campaign and the overall impact of ads on the website's traffic.

Consistency With Campaign Objectives:

Set your objective before designing and starting your display ads campaign. For instance, mention your marketing goals, such as what you want to achieve and whom you want to reach via these display ads.

To measure your campaign's effectiveness after execution, you should measure its consistency with your advertising campaign's goals or objectives. After the evaluation, you can make the necessary changes if you don't find it effective or need to keep it engaging and relevant for the target audience.

What Are The Best Practices To Make Ads Effective?

Let’s look over your big and easier cheat sheet for Google display ads without wasting another second:

#1. Make A Simple Design

While browsing the web, users will likely have a few seconds (8 to 12) to look over your ads, and your display ad design should grab their attention in that period. It is only possible if the design is simple both visually and content-wise. The users can easily get to know your brand and core message. Not many people can remember your message if you have a very complex design.

Below is how you can embrace the simplicity in your designs:

  • By Improving Readability: The contrasting colors and negative space make it easier for the users to get your message easily.
  • Focusing On One Image: Instead of using multiple images, you must use single, clear images. It will help you effectively communicate with your target customers and convey your ideas easily!
  • By Enforcing Consistency, you can improve brand awareness across several campaigns by using unique and memorable images.
  • By Using Custom Images: You should create your custom images instead of taking the design elements from online sources.

Besides that, ensure that your design has the following:

  • A Call To Action
  • A headline (must be of less than five words)
  • A brand logo
  • The real-life product shot

#2. Use A Clear Message

You need to understand that your ad message greatly impacts your success rate. It would help if you used a strong headline to get the audience's attention with your banner ads. Always provide the details of your offer in a "short description" and offer more details on the "landing page."

Most importantly, craft a powerful CTA (call to action) that urges people to take action (click on ads or make a purchase). When this powerful messaging is coupled with a catchy design, it will make someone stop and click on your ad.

#3. Present A Clear-Value Proposition

The value proposition is all that your brand promises to the target audience if they accept your offers. Remember that they will only click on your ad and purchase your services if they feel you can solve their issue or understand their pain. Your value proposition should be clear, showcase your services, tell about the best features of your products, and directly talk to the desires and needs of the targeted audience.

So, when you are working on your value proposition, ask yourself:

  • What makes you stand out from competitors?
  • Why should users click on your ads? For instance, the reason could be free shipping or a 50% discount.

Make the proposition the major part of your ad and bold it so that it becomes the first thing people see, and they instantly get attracted to your offer.

#4. Use Attractive Images

The human brain processes images more quickly than text. So, be mindful when selecting your ad's image and ensure it is attractive, clear, and high-quality. Eye-catching and clear images can quickly grab the user's attention and showcase your services or products in the best possible way. It is also suggested that color-inverted or excessively filtered images be avoided.

You should also follow the Google’s image guidelines. With responsive ads, you can upload 15 images in 3 aspect ratios:

  • Portrait (9:16)

Recommended Size: 900 x 1600

Minimum Size: 600 x 1067

  • Landscape Image (1.91:1)

Recommended Size: 1200 x 628

Minimum Size: 600 x 314

  • Square (1:1)

Recommended Size: 1200 x 1200

Minimum Size: 300 x 300

#5. Use Colors That Make Contrast

When creating the ad, you must choose the colors carefully. But did you know that color contrast is more important than color selection? Yes, you heard it right. For instance, think of the CTA (call to action) button.

Should it be distinguishable from the rest of the ad? Of course, it should be so the user can easily see and click on it. Also, the contrasting colors will help you stand out on the page and get viewers' attention.

Also, contrasting colors will help you stand out on the page and grab viewers' attention. Plus, use the same colors throughout your marketing (as it is the best way to represent your brand).

#6. Use Easy-To-Read Font

One of the worst mistakes most brands make is selecting hard-to-read fonts. Avoid cursive fonts, uppercase copy, and small or extremely thin fonts when selecting fonts. Instead, use distinctive sizes or fonts for the headers and descriptions. Also, don't use long texts. When choosing the font color, ensure that it contrasts with the background.

Remember that a user sees several ads while scrolling on different platforms. How will he be able to remember your message if he struggles while reading it and fails to understand what you are selling? It is why, out of 200,000 fonts, the brands stick to only a few.

Below, you can find the best fonts for readability:

  • Arial
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica
  • Sans-serif
  • Verdana

#7. Use A Clear CTA

The strong “Call To Action (CTA)" urges the viewer to click on the ad and take action as your ad suggests. CTA is usually placed at the bottom half of the ad, and the most common phrases used are watch now, click here, or learn more.

The “action” part of CTA can be:

  • Getting the free trial for the product
  • Providing the email (for remarketing or retargeting)
  • Downloading the eBooks, white paper, or any other lead magnet

When you are writing the “Call To Action (CTA)" for your ad, keep the following points in your mind:

  • Providing Value: Show Me How, Get My Custom Plan, Save Big
  • Using The Action Verbs: Include the action verbs as Buy Now, Get the eBook, or Download the Guide
  • Using Striking Design: As stated earlier, your CTA should stand out, and to that end, you should use contrasting colors, icons, and fonts to draw users' attention.
  • Starting With Imperative Verb: Your Demo Is Waiting or Get My Free Demo

You can only skip the CTA if the creative visuals in your ad are engaging and compelling enough to attract the audience. Or if your ad campaign prioritizes awareness and you are just trying to get impressions, not clicks. But until then, having the CTA at the end of the ad will be a safe bet!

#8. Use The FOMO (Ex: Limited Offers)

FOMO creates a sense of urgency as the audience believes something is available only for a specific time. This urgency speeds up decision-making and encourages potential customers to purchase quickly. So, if you have a sale, let people know about it.

There are several terms you can make great use of. For instance, you can use different terms like special offer, discount, sale, promo code, or coupons. Besides that, use big fonts for these terms and always position such tempting deals strategically within the ad so that viewers can look over it and not resist your offers.

#9. Use Social Proof

Undoubtedly, using social proof will be one of the Google display ads best practices. The most common social proof you can use is the customer testimonial. These testimonials are like positive reviews but are used differently. They can be quotes that explain the benefits of your goods or the advantages of your services.

You can also use video testimonials, which are considered more effective marketing strategies. These can convert the lead into a customer. You can also add customer quotes from your landing pages, celebrity endorsements, social media shares, and positive endorsements you get from Business Insider or Forbes.

#10. Use Seasonality To Give Your Ad A Context

One of the great tactics to reach potential customers throughout the year in different ways is to use the seasonality in your ads.

For instance, you have a standard ad you promote yearly. Suppose Halloween is coming. Now, you can add a fun element to your ad and make it more compelling for the occasion. It will pay off, and you will see a clear spike in your conversion rate and CTR (click-through rates). You turn this ad off after Halloween is over.

Likewise, you can change your ads on Christmas and other holidays. But, when you are making these themed-based ads, be considerate of your location. For example, when Australia is going to cool off for winter, Boston is heating up for summer. So, keep that in mind.

#11. Don't Take Your Ideas And Intuitions For Granted

It may sound strange and surprising, but yes, it's a fact that when you design your display ad campaign, never take your ideas and intuition for granted. Whenever you face challenges while making decisions, it is always better to listen to your inner voice and consider your gut feelings. Sometimes, our intuition guides us to the right path and helps us navigate challenging situations.

#12. Maintain Your Brand’s Visual Identity

The display advertisement aims to create unique brand awareness and traffic. The logo is key in building brand awareness and should be a major part of your ads.

Remember that whenever people see your ad with your logo, your products and brand will come to their minds even if they don't take any action. Also, they will think about your products whenever they need them and might click and take action (make a purchase) anytime they see your ad.

But remember that you cannot paste your logo anywhere in the ad. Here are some considerations that you need to keep in mind. For instance:

  • The logo should not have a colorful background or extra flair
  • Always stick to the accepted ratios (1:1 or 4:1)
  • The logo should have images of high quality which can be later adjusted or cropped

#13. Use Multiple Formats

Our CEO Alessandro uses to say: "it's almost a crime not to make multi-format for your display ads." It is because it greatly impacts the results of your campaigns. The more ad formats you include in your mix, the more impressions you will get for your ads. More than 40 display ad formats are available.

Creating multiple banner variations in all of the available sizes is not necessary. At least, focus on the standard sizes available that are effective.

#14. Segment And Personalize Your Ads

In segmentation, you split the display ads into different groups depending on location or age. The more personalized your ads are for the specific audience, the more easily the audience can identify them. This eventually increases the chances of conversion.

For instance, you are selling a nutrition and exercise plan for men (who are in their 30s). Within that group, you can divide the audience into different groups depending on the sites they are visiting, like:

  • Business websites
  • Fitness websites
  • Recipe websites

And each of these segments will see a different part of your ad. But, you will target the fitness website with a message about the importance of diet with exercise. For the recipe website viewers, you will provide information about exercise along with a healthy diet. It is suggested that you create different ad versions for each segment you have in the campaign.

#15. Use Specific Targeting

Specific targeting is another effective strategy for reaching out to your target audience. This method allows you to target the right people at the right time based on their stored data, such as gender, age, location, marital status, parental status, home ownership status, educational level, and employment status.

Narrowing down your digital audience increases the chances of ROI (return on investment) and conversion. Google AdWords demographic targeting also lets you adjust your ad copy, bids, and post-click landing pages for specific groups. This technique is helpful for search campaigns and can improve prospects' ad experience.

#16. Use Retargeting

Retargeting or remarketing is targeting an audience with ads based on their past behavior. You will target only visitors who have already visited your website. Retargeting helps you increase brand exposure and target potential buyers who already know about your products. It can significantly improve ROI and amplify your ad campaigns.

#17. AB Test Your Creatives

The best way to find what works and does not work for you is to AB test different creatives. For this purpose, you can try different backgrounds, ad copies, multiple calls to action, and several images to find which ad works for you. Likewise, you can also test whether animated banners, search ads, rich media ads, or performing ads work for you.

The key to success for AB testing is to keep the number of tests minimum and focus on only one thing at a time. In this way, you will pinpoint what makes the difference for you.

#18. Track Performance And Optimize

Display ads are the most common type of online advertisement. The best thing about display ads is that they let you reach your target customers, drive traffic to the website, and enhance brand awareness. But to make your display ad campaign a success story, it is crucial to analyze its performance and then make decisions accordingly to optimize it.

Well, there are various parameters to track or evaluate the performance of display ads, such as:

  • Impressions And Clicks: Impressions tell you how many times your ads are shown, and clicks tell you how many times they are clicked.
  • ROI And Cost: This information can help you estimate your spending and earnings, indicating your marketing strategy's success or failure.
  • Conversions And Revenue: This information tells you about the people who click on your ads and take the desired actions, ultimately revealing how effective your ad campaign is.
  • Reach And Frequency: It tells you how many unique people look over your ads (reach) and how often they see them (frequency).
  • Engagement And Quality: It tracks how well your ads are performing in terms of quality and how much your audience engages with them.

With all of these metrics, you can easily evaluate the success rate of your ad campaign and then take the necessary actions to boost it in the future.

#19. Personalize Your Ads According To User's Past Behavior

First, you must collect data such as previous queries, location, and visited sites or apps. Then, you can analyze this data and personalize the ads to target your specific audience, creating a more engaging experience for your potential customers. This strategy effectively enhances advertising relevance and improves the ROI for the advertisers.

#20. Test And Modify Only One Element At A Time

How can you know which ad will be most successful if you don't test? It would help to run different ads to determine what works for you. But when you are testing the ads, test one element at a time.

For instance, if you want to test the messaging, change the copy but keep the same design. Once you have found the best-performing headline, keep the other factors the same, but change the CTA to find the best one. It is about testing each part of your ad to see which option works.

BONUS: The Essential Tool For Your Ad Campaigns

All the display advertising best practices mentioned above are effective and should help you achieve your goals.

But it's all a full-time job that requires time and/or human resources. Something you may not have at your disposal.

Abyssale will enable you to reduce the time needed to create, analyze and optimize your display ads by 90%. The tool facilitates collaborative working, giving marketers autonomy in creative production and freeing designers from tedious tasks.

You'll be able to launch your campaigns more quickly, without having to recruit more staff or spend much more time on them.

In short, Abyssale automates creation. So you can :

  • create multi-format designs in one click from a single template
  • customize your ads
  • automate your creative workflow for smoother production
  • A/B test and optimize your ads without spending too much time on them.

You know everything. So, go ahead !

You've just discovered all the secrets of display ads to help your marketing campaigns perform.

However, theory is worth nothing without implementation. So get started! It's the first step to success.

Best of luck to you.