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  • Christie Clark

6 pitfalls to avoid when building ads

Updated: Aug 18

As digital ad specialists, we (far too often) see digital creative treated as an afterthought and just delivered as part of a blanket approach by teams without digital specialism. More than we’d care to admit, this leads to creative that’s badly designed for digital and just throws campaigns, timelines, and quality off track.


As ads are our bread and butter, we know the costly mistakes that can be made when building for digital and are keen to share are our top 6 pitfalls to avoid.



1. Just using plain, old, photos



You need to keep in mind that digital ads are a visual marketing platform. Engagement with any ad you create is, undeniably, going to be impacted by the imagery that you chose to employ within it. So, wherever possible, use imagery that contains bold colours and shapes that will really pop on the end-user’s device screen.


Movement is also a great way to catch the eye of the passive scroller-by so utilising parallax effects, panning movements, zooms and animations (with purpose) can massively increase eventual engagement with your content.

You should try to vary the way that you employ visual assets in your ads, depending on the type of ad that you’re working on. You always want to make sure that the imagery you have to hand gets used in the most effective way possible for the campaign you’re working on.


When building a project like a retail ad, you could look to focus on displaying one main product by zooming in to a singular visual asset or try using a gallery effect to swipe through and showcase photography of multiple products. Alternatively, when building something like a travel ad, you could easily use a parallax effect on a main image asset to draw the users’ eye to the photography of the destination that you’re promoting.



2. Forgetting about the size of your visual assets



Digital ads can be made in lots of different shapes and sizes but, when it comes to maximising their eventual rendering and display performance, it’s always best to employ a ‘small but mighty’ file-size approach.


Visual assets with a small file size, that are clear and visually crisp, are the golden standard for use within digital ad building platforms (like Celtra). If you make sure to use the smallest possible .png (to keep the overall asset size compressed) and check that all of your assets, once compressed to a lower file size, haven’t lost their quality you set yourself up for success in building a beautiful ad.


A great way to ensure that your image files always upload as crisply as possible is to make sure that you always use retina images (double-size) because they can be sized-down once uploaded inside of most ad building platforms.



3. Ignoring the weight of your video files



When saving video files, for you to use later on in your build-process (when using a tool like After Effects), you have to make sure that you check the size of the video before uploading. Video files add huge weight to digital ads so, much like with static visual assets, you should try to keep the file sizes as small as possible.


Saving your video files using a media encoder and removing the sound from them will allow you to decrease the size by some megabytes. You’ll still always need to make sure that they are the correct size for the ad in question and are no bigger than necessary.



4. Failing to check on your individual components



When uploading your assets to a digital ad building platform you must make sure that they are all compressed within the relevant ‘assets’ sections of the platform.


If you’re using any components (i.e visual effects) you should check to see how much weight they’ll add to the overall ad build. This may dictate if it is worth using the visual effect or not.


As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the ad, the slower it will load. Users tend not to wait more than 8 seconds for an ad to load so, if it's going to add a significant delay to the ad’s loading-time, you might have to reconsider adding that final visual effect component.



5. Not reviewing the clarity of your CTA



It’s super easy to lose the call-to-action of an ad amidst busy visual so make sure that you use bold fonts, vibrant colours or a hover state to really make it stand out and make the final step of your QA asking the question, ‘can i see the CTA?’


Also, make sure you don’t use too many CTAs. You’ll always see better performance when users are presented with just one bold CTA, it prevents users from feeling confused about which button to click.


When deciding on the CTA you should really start by asking yourself, what is the ad performance measured on? That’s a great jumping-off point for deciding how the CTA should promote the ad and visa-versa.



6. Failing to design with responsive in mind



Platforms like Celtra are perfect for designing your ads because your builds will always render responsively no matter their size. If you’re working on a mini-scroller you can rest easy knowing that it will present both at the width of a desktop screen and down to mobile size.


Even if your only ad display variation is going to be from that of an iPhone 12 screen to that of an iPhone 8 screen (which is highly unlikely) - most tools will do a lot of the heavy lifting for you but you should always be aware of the responsive nature of your ads at each step of the design process. You need to keep in mind the size of the eventual user’s screen and proof your ad, and how it will work, across all of the sizes available to ensure that your work looks amazing no matter where it's seen.

7. And (of course) cheeky pitfall number seven...


It goes without saying that the biggest mistake you can make when building your digital ads is not saving yourself time and money by employing a dedicated team of digital ad experts to do the work for you!


Working with specialists like Deviceful means that you get faster, smarter, and more scalable ads that bridge the gap brilliantly between creative and media.


So, don’t let your creative let you down - speak to our specialists to stay ahead!

Want to find out if we can take your Digital Creative to the next level?

New Broad Street House, London, EC2M 1NH

T: 07866478788
E: info@deviceful.co.uk

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