Selecting the most appropriate type of advertisement for your business situation is a marketing decision. Will you be using print ads in media publications? Display ads such as signage and billboards? Will you be producing mailers, flyers, and brochures? Perhaps your marketing plan calls for point of purchase displays or even video ads.
Once you have chosen the format and channel for your advertisement, it is time to create the ad itself. Regardless of the media or target audience, it is essential that the design of your advertisement should be memorable.
Print and display advertisements
Print ads are advertisements that will be printed in magazines, on billboards, or even vinyl vehicle wraps. This type of advertisement usually contains a certain amount of text, from a catchy phrase or “blurb” to extensive ad copy. When they include images, such advertisements are often described as display ads, in contrast to “classified ads” which have no graphics. The term “display advertising” may also refer to online advertisement graphics, such as banner ads and column ads that are displayed on websites as part of a paid-placement arrangement.
The most prominent feature of many print ads is an eye-catching visual image. Images in an advertisement grab the attention of prospective customers and draw them in. A catchy headline and a photo that fills most of your ad are much more likely to attract readers than an ad filled with uniform, plain text. Frequently this type of image is a stock photo of a model: typically an attractive person who represents the target audience and reflects positively on the brand promise of the advertisement. For product-specific advertisements where the product features are a primary selling point, a photo of the product itself might take up most of the advertisement. For example, you may notice that advertisements for food products typically feature the product itself with a close-up, whereas an advertisement for a service, such as dental care or a cell phone network service provider, will usually show how the service makes its customers feel, by showing an image of a smiling, happy, satisfied customer.
If you have a unique product, facility, or staff to showcase, you may wish to arrange for a professional photographer to come out for a photo shoot, using the appropriate tools and techniques, and giving due consideration to lighting, perspective, and those technical photographer things like shutter speed and f-stop. If you don’t have a photographer, Mardesco will be happy to make the arrangements for you.
With online advertising, many marketers engage in A/B testing. In this process, alternate versions of an advertisement are displayed to similar audiences before the campaign is launched on a larger scale. The version of the ad that gets the best results (usually measured as clickthrough rate) is the version that will be used in the full-scale campaign.
If you are advertising your product or service in a text-based online format such as Google AdWords, your concern is catching attention, conveying a message, and sparking an interest to know more, all in a blurb shorter than a single SMS text message or “Tweet.” This is more about wording than layout design, but many of the same principles and considerations apply.