1. Pick a Single Message. Many businesses try to include too many things in an advertisement. Too many words, too many images, too much stuff. And too much of everything leads to an ad that is ineffective.
2. Create a Clear Call to Action. What does your advertiser want users to do once they see it? The likely choice is to click the ad space and go to their website. But you must tell users to do it.
3. Use White Space. White space can help create an ad that people will actually see on the screen. The web can be full of clutter and a cluttered ad will get lost even more. White space is the advertiser’s friend. Studies have shown that a user’s eyes will go to the lightest or brightest areas of the screen first. Facebook advertising has always had a rule that frustrates many advertisers: No more than 20 percent of the space can include text. It’s actually a great design concept and constraint.
4. Do Something Odd or Silly. Sometimes the most memorable ads just break all the rules. They are silly and fun and don’t really seem to go with anything at all. (Think of insurance giant Geico, with the hump day camel.)
5. Use Simple Typography. Web ads are typically small. Use simple typography to aid readability. Opt for a sans serif and try to size the text properly for the space. It needs to be easy to see and read.
6. Give Users Something. Almost as important as a call to action is a gift for users. Every good advertisement will give the user something in return – a giggle, idea for a gift, contest entry, discount or coupon, etc.
7. Pick Images Carefully. Opt for faces or up-close images of products. Avoid images that have complicated patterns or backgrounds. Try this: Say out loud what visual would sum up your advertiser’s concept in a word. That’s your image.