As a follow up to my article “Four Steps to Successful Banner Ads“, it’s only apt that I address some best practices that should be followed for online advertising in general. From a usability point of view it is necessary to follow these best practices so that user’s are attracted to your ad and actually click it.
Target your audience
In order to drive traffic to your website the first step would be to identify a target audience and build your ad accordingly. For this you will have to take into consideration the relevance of your ad to your customers. Advertise only in areas where your business or service is available. Your ad should be clear and concise and have your company’s name in it.
Dove targetted real women without regard to age, shape, height or nationality, replacing the customary statuesque supermodels in this ad campaign.
Use keywords to narrow down customers
When you use specific keywords in your ad, you automatically weed out those who aren’t your customers. On the other hand it lets your customers know that your ad is relevant to them.
Focus on your product/business’ strengths
Highlight a special feature or a unique offer that your product or business has to offer. This will help you stand out from the rest of the competition. Make sure you include your brand name/logo in your ad. This helps give the customer a sense of trust in the brand.
Giving information about your product along with displaying the company’s logo will help the customer trust your brand
Keep it simple
Keep your ad simple, easy to read and grasp. Avoid the use of jargon, long sentences and complex punctuation. Do not attempt to advertise your product entirely in the ad. Leave the user enough curiosity to click the ad and read more
about your product/business.
Make sure the message is simple. If users can’t figure it out in literally one second, they’re moving on.
Call to action
Write your ad in a way that prompts the user to click the ad and get to your website. The ad should “call the user to action” to “Start Saving Now!” or “Register Now!”
This Harry Potter ad is an excellent example of engaging the user and prompting them to go ahead and click on the ad.
A picture speaks!
Adding an image to your ad will help distract users from the content of the website on which your ad sits. Needless to say your ad will need to establish a connection with the user, describe what users will have to do on the landing page and provide a call to action, all at once. David Szetela in his article Every Picture Tells a Story: Non-text Contextual Ads explores this facet of online advertising in detail.
The following is an example of how a good advertisement should look like.
Once your user has successfully clicked on your ad, it is essential that he is transported to a relevant landing page. This page must reflect your ad is some way and the user must not feel lost in any way. The call to action on your ad must be reflected on the landing page as well.
Landing pages must keep the user experience in mind and be easy to navigate and clear as far as the call to action is concerned. Make sure relevant information is on the top left portion of your page, as this is where users are most likely to look for information. Marketing Sherpa has an interesting article on landing pages, “5 Ways to Make Your Landing Pages Get Higher Conversions“.
A good landing page will be simple, contain reassuring elements of the company logo and tagline and give cusotmers a reason to share correct information