An Aesthetic Design Doesn’t Make an Ad Effective

Design & Marketing are excellent skill sets.  Unfortunately they rarely reside in the same person.

One of the continual challenges of modern marketing is getting people to notice and act on your ads.  You have to fight banner blindness, battle cynicism to show your product/service does deliver on it’s promise and, slave over targeting options so your ad shows up in the right place in front of the right people.

Having beautiful design in an ad goes a very long way to getting the end result, but design alone won’t deliver results if a marketing approach isn’t applied.

And here’s an example of great design that could be vastly improved with some basic marketing.  This scenario is a little more common than you’d think.

I noticed this ad during my strictly work related internet browsing.5x5 gdn

The design caught my eye and I waited for the ad to change to the next graphic showing me who the company was or an offer or something.  It wasn’t a flash ad.  Just a static ad with the very generic “Custom WordPress Websites” ad copy.  I wondered if it was a web design company that stalked me, so I clicked.  To my surprise it was a company I’d referred a few clients to.  They had some pretty good looking websites that they’d created in the past.

This ad had good design, but was seriously lacking.

  1. What’s the company’s name?  It makes you suspicious when you can’t see who’s advertising
    • No Logo
    • No Branding
    • No Identifier
  2. What’s the point of difference?
    • It’s pretty rare that a web designer doesn’t offer a custom site…
  3. Where’s the call to action?
    • what should the user do?

But wait.  Maybe the company ranks really well for the term “Custom WordPress Websites” or at least is bidding on it with AdWords.

5x5 search gdn

Except – this company is nowhere to be seen (and other than students, who looks at page 2?).  This ad could potentially drive traffic to competitors websites!

But then, I was remarketed to.  With an ad you wouldn’t even know was from the same company unless you were writing a blog about it.  This is the ad:5x5 gdn 2

If there’s ever a time an place where your branding is most important – it’s your remarketing!

Remind people that they were at your site with your brand!

The whole point of remarketing is to bring people back to your site.  You need something to trigger a visitor’s memory, a logo or company name would be the best options here.  Otherwise this is just another ad about wordpress websites.  As you can see from the search results, a niche with some competition.

 How do you avoid this?

The nice thing is this.  It should be fairly simple improve performance.

Simply put, make sure you give designers a creative brief with some marketing caveats.

  1. Branding – it costs next to nothing to get your logo scattered across the internet – so attach your brand
  2. Have a call to action! – Tell people what you want them to do.

Neither of these should interfere with the aesthetic appeal of the ad.  The GDN is a great way to test things, like the call to action, design or the logo.  (here’s more about testing GDN ads)

To sum it all up. Turn creative and appealing design into effective ad design by ensuring your ads are recognized as yours and that you ask the viewer to do something.