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Creative Best Practices

Marketers often tell us that creative is a major pain point in the ad creation process. From conception to launch, ensuring that ads are creative and engaging can be a challenging and tedious process. If your ads are too generic, they won’t have much impact on sales or revenue generation. That’s lost time and money for your company.

Here at AdRoll, not only do we work with our clients and create optimized static and flash ads, but we’ve also been working to improve our own display ads. Check out below:


Our secret sauce? Hard work, high standards, and the idea that there is always room to learn and grow.

So what are some of the most important considerations for improving your own ads?

The more you know about your audience, the better you’ll be able to cater your ads to their specific interests. Regardless of your business offers or your campaign strategy, one thing is true of all retargeting campaign audiences: they’ve already been to your website.

It may seem obvious, but it makes a significant difference to the direction of your campaign’s creative. You are not engaging this audience for the first time; you are retargeting them. To this point, your ads should aim to do at least one of the following:

  • Refine the visitor’s understanding of your business

  • Remind the visitor of their interest

  • Justify the value of your offering

  • Highlight a product or feature that they may have missed the first time they visited your website

  • Provide additional incentive to convert

The key here is to provide your audience with fresh creative that reinvigorates their interest in what you have to offer.

Understanding what your audience is looking for is the number one key to knowing what to say, but there are some basic ideas that you could employ to increase your ad’s effectiveness. Following these key techniques will help to get you started, but remember: no one gets it perfect on their first try. Continuing to refresh and refine campaign creative will help you to  understand your audience better (what works? what doesn’t work?) and to maintain high campaign performance over time.

When creating web ads, think simple. The web is a very busy place, so keeping your image and message clean is the key to drawing your visitor’s eye. 

  • Keep things simple!

Your ad should be a balance of image and text. Identify your strongest selling point, and be concise. Any messaging should be reinforced by images used to compel that click.

  • Design boldly

 Your ad is competing not only with other ads, but website content. Use bold typography and strong, relevant images to make your ad pop. As a rule of thumb, white backgrounds rarely stand out.

  • Display your brand prominently

Clicks may be the strongest indicator of ad engagement, but seeing your brand prominently as they go about their business can have a huge impact on keeping your brand top of mind (and first in line when your visitor is ready to make that commitment). Make sure that your brand is prominent within your ad. Place your logo prominently, and use contrasting background colors to help it stand out.

  • Give your visitors a reason to click

If you’re going after that click, give your visitor an incentive to do so. Promotions such as exclusive discounts or free shipping are small tactics that go a long way to compel that click, get that customer back to your website, and drive that conversion.

  • Include a strong call to action

You’ve caught your visitor’s attention; now shouldn’t you let them know what you want them to do? A strong call to action helps give visitors that extra little push they need to click your ad.

When creating Facebook ads, remember the elements that you have available. You have title and body text (and for News Feed, an optional message) to work with, so make your ad copy (our fancy word for message) count. 

  • Encourage participation

Facebook is a social network, so encourage your visitors to be social. Ask questions in your message or title. Have your visitors “Like if you agree!” There are many ways to encourage interaction and the more interaction your visitors have with your ad, the more likely your post will start to appear naturally to others in their networks.

  • Use capitalization and punctuation with purpose

Capitalization can help draw attention to key words or ideas (for example, SALE or NEW or LIMITED), but excessive capitalization will work against you by making your ad appear spammy or may even cause Facebook to suspend your ad. The same goes for a well-placed exclamation mark!! Use these tools with purpose, and don’t overdo it.

  • Use a vibrant image and keep it fresh

Facebook’s website background is white, so use colorful images to draw the eye. Posts that have been seen before are likely to be skipped over, so make sure that you keep your campaign fresh by starting with variety of creative assets, and refreshing them periodically.

On web campaigns, we recommend that you create ads in at least the three most popular sizes (300x250, 160x600, and 728x90). Including ads in the other supported dimensions, though they may not serve as often, extends your reach.

But variety is not just limited to ad sizes. Having variety in Facebook campaigns is important, too. Different types of creative may appeal to different individuals in your audience pool. Increasing the variety of ads you have on your campaign can help to maximize your reach in terms of capturing and engaging your visitors—the key to successful retargeting.

Finally, it is important to consider variety in the long run. There is a phenomenon in display advertising called banner fatigue: the positive effect of an ad naturally diminishes over time, leading to the inevitable decline in engagement and, accordingly, engagement metrics such as click-through rates (CTR). In extreme cases, seeing the ad too often, for too long, can even lead to negative sentiments about your brand and business. To combat the onset of banner fatigue, make sure that you update your campaign creative periodically so your audience isn’t stuck seeing the same ad over, and over, and over, and over, and over….



Got ads? Read up on "Best Practices For Building Your Campaign" to get the most out of your retargeting campaign.