Display ads often yield abysmal click-through rates and even lower conversion rates. What accounts for their disappointing performance? It’s a matter of inbound vs. outbound marketing: Unlike search ads, display ads are not served to searchers who are actively looking for something.

#1: Consider Your Venue

It’s critical that you consider the platform on which you are displaying an ad before you design it. When it comes to social ads, you’re not just competing with other paid content, you’re competing with the users’ entire social network.

#2: Speak to Your Target Demographic

With display advertising, you have the opportunity to segment your audience based on their demographic details. Take advantage of this level of granularity and build ads that will resonate with each segment of your target audience.


#3: Get Your Mind IN the Gutter

We’ve all heard it—sex sells. In fact, invoking sexual innuendo is one of the strongest and most effective marketing tactics. Of course, this tactic is nothing new. We can track it all the way back to 1871, when Pearl Tobacco began printing naked maidens on their packaging, leading to an abrupt uptick in sales. Fellow marketers took note and the strategy spread like…wildfire.

#4: Channel Your Inner Comedian

Leveraging emotional triggers in ad copy is one of the most effective ways to connect with your audience. According to Courtney Seiter, Content Marketing Manager at Buffer, the four “basic” emotions are happiness, sadness, surprise and anger or disgust. Humans respond to each of these emotions differently, but they all incite them to take action.

#5: Pick Your Color Palette Wisely

Every detail matters when you’re building your image ads and color choice is no exception. To choose the main color for your ad, consider the psychological association we have with different colors.
Once you’ve chosen your primary color, pair it with a contrasting color to ensure that your text is easy to read and your CTA button is highly visible. Use the handy chart below for help picking the perfect combination.