The Dos and Don'ts of Ad Design On Search and Social

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The Dos and Don'ts of Ad Design On Search and Social

PPC and online ads can be one of the most powerful tools when used correctly. Or it can be a money pit in the wrong hands. A lot of it is about finding the right keywords, excluding the wrong ones, and bidding on the right terms for the right price. However, in many cases, poorly designed ads are at fault. But not everybody has the luxury of hiring someone for their ads and you might not know how to create ads that will not only attract potential customers but eventually convert them. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts for anyone using social media or search for ads.

Don’t Neglect Images

You should never underestimate the power of images when it comes to social media marketing. Make sure that you use images that will catch your readers’ attention. Using shock is a tactic a lot of people use, but you have to tread lightly as it can come off as distasteful.

The first thing you have to do is make sure that you use the proper size. You don’t want the picture to be badly cropped, have unfinished text, or have wrong sized logos in it. You need to project a credible and professional image, and a bad photo will ruin that instantly. You also have to make sure that it doesn’t contain more than 20% text if you’re posting the ad on Facebook, as it is against their rules.

Another trick is making sure that you include images of real people in your ads. Our brains are still wired to respond to images of faces, and if you manage to include people who are in your target audience’s demographic, you’ll get better response rates. Also make sure that you make the pictures as bright as possible and use warm colors people respond to, like red and orange, for instance.

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Do Anticipate the Intent of Searchers

Keywords don’t always tell the full picture and can be misleading. Take a word like “New York Bagels”. This could be anything from someone looking for good bagels in NYC or someone living in Colorado looking for good New York-style bagels in their area.

If you ship nationally, then just adding the word “anywhere” after New York bagels could make a world of difference. And while adding something like “buy New York bagels” might seem more specific, it won’t tell buyers exactly where you will be shipping to. Make sure that you are specific and give as much information as you can with the limited characters you have.

Don’t Waste Characters

Speaking of which, you should also make sure that you prune your ads so no characters are being wasted when creating headlines. You only have around 25 characters to catch your readers’ attention, so use them wisely.

You should be able to convey your value proposition straight from the headline. If you’re known for your huge selection, let it be known. Or if you have a special promotion or offer free shipping, do it too. Your readers shouldn’t have to click through to know why they should buy from you.

Do use Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Dynamic keyword insertion can be a very powerful tool, but it can also be tricky. In some cases, the final headline can look like a mess. But when you use it right, it can be highly relevant to a wide variety of searches.

For instance, an ad like “save on our selection of {keyword}” could read as “save on our selection of drapes” or “save on our selection of window treatments”. You’ll also have to make sure that you have some default text in case the headline ends up having too many characters. Also, it is recommended that you only use this option if your ad groups contain closely related terms.

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Don’t Trick Your Audience

A lot of people try to get more traffic by targeting keywords that don’t relate to them exactly and craft their ads in order to trick people into thinking it’s relevant. However, you’ll only end up losing money if you try doing this. The whole goal of PPC is to target specific audiences. Don’t waste money on people who will just bounce out and make sure that your message, headline, and landing page are congruent.

Do Test and Retest

You should always keep an eye on which ads are performing and pause poor performers. Some of your ads may have worked historically, but people change, and you have to adapt your ads to your current market’s realities. Check which ads are not performing as they should and see how pausing them affects your ROI.

Google also advises that you should have at least three ads in your ad groups to get the best results. So, use them to test different variations, try different extensions or see if dynamic keyword insertions are working.

Don’t Stuff Keywords

Keywords in ads are good. But too many keywords will spoil the dish. Make sure that your main keyword appears somewhere in the headline and copy if it makes sense, but not more than once in each. People don’t want to just see what they searched for a bunch of time. They want to see why they should go to you and nowhere else, so use this space to advertise other features and benefits.

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Do Have a Clear Call to Action

The call to action is one of the most crucial parts of any ad copy, and online ads are no exception. Two words could make the difference between someone skimming over your ad and someone actually clicking it. So, make sure that you ask the customer to perform the exact action you want them to in clear terms in our copy.


Understanding good ad design takes time, practice, and some trial and error. However, when used correctly, online ads can be a great way to build awareness for your brand, get leads, and convert visitors into buyers.