Best Practices for Graphics in Native Ads
How many ads do you think you’ve seen today? How many ads did you act upon? We’re guessing the answers are “a whole lot,” and “very few,” respectively. Marketers and advertisers fight an uphill battle daily, with countless ads to compete with and limited attention spans to vie for.
So, with such stiff competition, how do you stand out? High-quality, relevant images (creatives) are a big part of the picture. With first impressions playing such a big role in an ads’ success, graphics are an important consideration for grabbing your audience’s attention and conveying your brand’s message.
Consider implementing the following best practices for creatives to boost your native ad clickthrough rates and performance:
Align the Image with the Native Ad’s Surroundings
One of the primary strengths of native ads is that they can meld with the content around them —blending paid content in as organic editorial content. However, this is only a strength if you plan for it. For your ad’s graphic to fit in naturally with the style and appearance of the content surrounding it, you need to be cognizant of the context in which your ad will be shown. Prior to running a campaign, research the style of the publisher’s website, including fonts, image dimensions, color schemes and page layout, so that you can anticipate what design features need to be included in your graphic for it to match the website’s aesthetics.
Help the Audience Relate to Your Product
Lead generation should not merely be about generating as many leads as possible, but rather how to attract the right type of lead. When your audience sees your ad, you want them to feel that it’s relatable and approachable. For this reason, we encourage including people whenever possible in your native ad creative. The people used should be representative of your ideal audience, with similar demographics and psychographics. This way, consumers can feel connected to the graphic, and by virtue of that they will feel a certain connection to your brand. Building upon this, if your ad is promoting a product, you can show a person using the product, thus helping the audience visualize themselves using it.
Use Graphics that are Authentic to Your Landing Page
If you are able to convince the consumer to click through to your landing page, but your page doesn’t deliver on the promise your ad made, the consumer will most likely close the tab. This form of disingenuity can leave a bad taste in peoples’ mouths and impact your brand reputation.
By being genuine and transparent in your native ad graphics, you ensure that your audience will get what they expect from your landing page. Your ad creative can accomplish this by clearly displaying the product or experience that you’re selling, giving the audience a clear vision of what they should expect when they click on your link.
The Nitty-Gritty of Native Ad Graphics
In combination with the above best practices, be sure to follow these rules of thumb:
- Only use high-resolution images.
- Always comply with the ad size specifications and dimensions of the site you’re advertising on.
- Avoid using images that are overcrowded with text and promotional messaging — allow your text in the body of the ad to do the heavy lifting.
- Incorporate your brand’s colors.
- Avoid cartoon illustrations or images that are clearly stock photography.
Helpful Graphic Design and Stock Photo Tools
If you’re interested in tools to spruce up your native ad creatives, there are a few free options worth investigating:
Canva is a free graphic design platform with templates, icons and stock photo libraries that come in handy when developing graphics. Canva has a user-friendly interface, so you can prepare high-quality visuals with little to no design experience. It offers both a free and a paid membership option.
If you need high-resolution photos and don’t have the resources to take them yourself, be sure to check out Unsplash. This free tool has thousands of high-quality images, contributed by creators across the world. This is a handy resource to find an appealing image for your campaign without any monetary investment.
We hope this article will help guide your graphic selection and editing process moving forward, and lead you to make the most effective native ads possible.