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What are advertisements?

Ads have proven to be useful modes of communication irrespective of the medium or the platform. Whether it be radio commercials, social media endorsement ads, newspaper ads, google ads, billboards, or even branded t-shirts.

Advertisements are constructed messages that convince, persuade, and motivate the viewers to take the desired action. And over time, the ads have gotten more and more creative, and our expectations from them are pretty high.

A well-designed advertisement breaks through the clutter and demands the attention of the audience. From pop-up ads to the printing press, ads have time and again proven to generate results and also increase sales.

Evolution of Ads

Being surrounded by ads on all sides, there’s a good chance that you know what an ad looks like. But they weren’t always like the ones we have now.

In fact, the oldest confirmed piece of advertising dates back to 3,000 B.C. To understand how ads function and its purpose, let’s look back in time and look at where it all started.

1472 – the poster ad was placed on a London church door.

1650 – the first newspaper ad was published.

1704 – the Boston News Letter encouraged people to post ads in its paper.

1870 – Power’s style of ad copy was born. This style included a short, to-the-point convincing and truthful copy. Powers, in his style, focused on why the consumer should buy the product/service. This focus in ad copies can be seen to date since it resonates with the audience for a good reason.

1880 – postcards had become one of the trendiest ways to reach your target audience.

1902 – Unilever created history by forming the “longest client-agency relationship in advertising.” Unilever had hired J. Walter Thompson Company to advertise its product – a Lifebuoy soap.

And it was in the same year (1902) when Mellins Food became the first brand to spread brand awareness using 25 airship flights with its brand name plastered across them.

1904 – when the focus shifted from single ads to an ad campaign. And this shift in focus was created from the birth of the Campbell’s Kids.

1922 – Radio ads were born, where businesses get 10 mins for $100.

1924 – businesses increased their investments in radio advertising and sponsored an entire show. This concept is known as “sponsored content” that is used till date across various mediums.

1975 – the VCRs were introduced, where people would record shows and skip ads entirely.

1990 – there was a burst of computers. Computers became popular and easily accessible at home, with over 5 million homes connected over the internet.

1994 – businesses started using the internet to advertise their products/services. It was the year when the first spam campaign was launched. It was also the year when banner ads were first introduced.

1995 – marks the birth of search engines like Yahoo! And Alta Vista.

1997 – Ask Jeeves was launched.

1998 – one of the most popular search engines today, Google was launched.

2005 – the launch of Facebook (only for students) and YouTube in 2005 opened up opportunities for businesses to promote their products/services and create brand awareness.

2008 – when businesses ended up realizing the power of online presence. Procter and Gamble (P&G) piloted a content hub concept with the launch of their website – BeingGirl.com.

2012 – online video content reached over 170 million viewers.

2013 – platforms like Instagram and Pinterest came to exist. The impact of these platforms encouraged businesses to come up with marketing strategies that involved them as well.

Present – Ads continue to dominate digital platforms, including podcasts, PPC (pay-per-click), social media platforms, and many more. And the growth of smartphones has shown rapid growth in SMS marketing and mobile ads.

An overview of the history of ads shows how advertising is an ever-evolving concept. Things in advertising are moving quickly due to research and technological advancements.

From postcards 140 years ago, businesses are coming up with chatbots and blending artificial intelligence into their marketing platforms to help brands grow.

How do ads help a brand?

Ads have proven to be useful modes of communication irrespective of the era, medium or the platform. They help brands in a lot of different ways, depending on their goals.

Ads help in:

  • Introducing a new product(s) and or service(s).
  • Creating brand awareness.
  • Promoting sales of your product(s) and or service(s).
  • Making your product/service stand out from your competitors.
  • Generating traffic.

Ads are the ideal tools to reach your audience organically and convert potential customers to solid leads. They are one of the easiest ways of going viral and reach a wider audience – fast!

Difference between Marketing and Advertising

Most people tend to use advertising and marketing terms interchangeably. They believe that if not the same, these words are synonymous. But that is most definitely not the case. These terms mean two different things.

Advertising is all about the process of constructing messages that encourages the audiences to take the desired action. In comparison, marketing focuses on the big picture of how a business plans to convince the audience to take action and raise brand awareness.

Marketing includes various channels such as email marketing, social media marketing, SEO, paid advertising, and public relations. And one of the most influential subsets of marketing is advertising.

That is, a business’s overall marketing strategy will include an advertising plan. Since advertising specifically focuses on the process of generating and publishing persuasive messages for fulfilling marketing goals.

Methods of Advertising

From the types of ads to the advertising method, advertising has changed, and to keep up with it, knowledge of what methods already exist and what is currently trending is crucial.

Here are two major methods of advertising that are currently used by small and big businesses across the world to promote their brand, products, and or services:

1. Offline advertising

Offline advertising is also referred to as ‘traditional advertising,’ uses the following mediums to convey messages to the audience:

  • Print ads

Two of the most popular forms of printed advertising are newspaper and magazine ads. And the other forms of print ads include everything from flyers, posters, to mailers, postcards, and many other physically-printed ads.

  • Radio ads

Radio Ads are spoken advertisements that are aired on radio stations, between music and other shows. This particular method of advertising is powerful when targeting local and or regional audiences.

  • Television ads

Television advertisements have a wider reach and provide audiences with multi-sensory advertising experience. It is still one of the most widely used methods of advertising due to the fact that they not only have a wider reach but also makes it easy to target audiences worldwide.

  • Billboards and Transit ads

Billboard Advertising is a part of print advertising but on a much larger scale. The design, placement, cost, and size of these ads make billboards and public transit ads different from print ads.

2. Online advertising

Online advertising refers to the use of all of the internet and digital-based mediums, such as the following, to convey messages to a broader audience:

  • Banner and Display ads

Banner ads can be typically seen on the horizontal boxes placed on top of web pages. Whereas display ads are comparatively smaller than banner ads and can be seen placed on the screen’s side.

  • Social Media ads

Social media advertisements put your content right in front of your chosen target audience and encourage them to click-through. This encourages the audience to buy, engage with businesses, and help them in generating traffic to their website.

  • Paid search ads

Paid search ads refer to pay-per-click (PPC) ads and include focusing extensively on keywords to place the ads on top or sides of search results. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, have their own paid advertising and different algorithms to choose which ads will be prioritized.

Many brands even use blogs and articles to primarily entertain and inform, while also mentioning their brand/products/services a few times. It is an ideal way to promote your brand, product, and or service in content that your audience is already interested in and familiar with.

Choosing the method of advertising is a crucial decision that the marketing department of businesses have to take. While choosing your method, make sure that the advertising method fulfils all your marketing goals and effectively reaches and conveys your message to the target audience.

A closer look at social media advertising

Ads are for the masses, and the majority of the masses are on social media platforms. Brands worldwide are using these platforms to reach a wider audience and spread brand awareness.

There is a rapid growth of how brands are using social media as an opportunity to increase revenue, generate traffic, and convert them to leads. Social media ads offer your brand a platform to people worldwide and target a particular type of audience that might be interested in your product or service.

In fact, it has also been seen that there has been a 40% increase in the amount spent on social media ads, which is equivalent to almost over 2 million dollars. And this is because it gets the desired results quickly and almost immediate feedback about what works and what doesn’t.

Overview of social media platforms ad specs

Social media platforms have a set of established rules and guidelines on how the ads should be designed, written, and displayed. Every platform requires different ad sizes, dimensions, and pixels. Your social media ads’ right ad size will help you drive engagement and get the desired results.

To help you out, we have broken down the specs of various social media platforms for ads:

Facebook

With more than 1.45 billion daily active users and 2.20 billion monthly active users, Facebook is used by brands worldwide to raise brand awareness and promote their products/services.

Facebook Feed Ads:

  1. Image Ads:

Image size: 1200 x 628 pixels

Width and height: 600 pixels

  1. Video Ads:

Dimensions: 600 x 315 pixels

Video length: 240 minutes

File size: 4GB

Facebook Carousel Ads:

  1. Image Ads:

Image size: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Width and height: 600 pixels

Number of cards: 2 – 10 (maximum)

Image size: 30MB/per image (maximum)

  1. Video Ads:

Video size: 1080 x 1080 pixels

File size: 4GB

Video length: 240 minutes

Width and height: 600 pixels

Facebook Collection Ads:

  1. Image Ads:

Image size: 1200 x 628 pixels

Width and length: 600 pixels

Image size: 30MB (maximum)

  1. Video Ads:

Video size: 1200 x 628 pixels

File size: 4GB

Video length: 120 minutes (maximum)

Facebook Right Column Ads:

Image size: 1200 x 628 pixels

Width and length: 600 pixels

Instagram

It is a platform that offers various features like IGTV, Instagram Reels, Instagram Stories, Instagram Live, etc. and has over 1 billion monthly active users.

Feed Ads:

  1. Image Ads:

Landscape photo size: 1200 x 628 pixels

Square photo size: 1080 x 1080 pixels

File size: 30MB (maximum)

  1. Video Ads:

Landscape video size: 600 x 315 pixels

Square video size: 600 x 600 pixels

Video length: 60 seconds (maximum)

File size: 4GB

Instagram Feed Carousel Ads:

  1. Image Ads:

Image size: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Number of cards: 2 – 10 (maximum)

File Size: 30MB/per image (maximum)

  1. Video Ads:

Landscape video size: 600 x 315 pixels

Square video size: 600 x 600 pixels

Video resolution: 600 x 600 pixels – 1080 x 1080 pixels (maximum)

Video length: 60 seconds (maximum)

File size: 4GB

Instagram Stories Ads:

Image/Video size: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Length: 15 seconds (maximum)

LinkedIn

With over 562 million registered users and 294 monthly active users, it offers brands opportunities to communicate B2B and grow their network effectively.

  1. Sponsored Content:

Image size: 1200 x 627 pixels

Image width size: more than 200 pixels

  1. Sponsored InMail:

Image size: 300 x 250 pixels

File size: 40KB

  1. Dynamic Ads:

Image size: 100 x 100 pixels

Twitter

Twitter is a fast-paced platform with over 320 million active users that focuses majorly on real-time information and is the ideal platform for brands that publish original content regularly.

  1. Summary Card:

Large photo size: 280 x 150 pixels

Image size: 120 x 120 pixels (minimum)

  1. Website Card:

Image size for 1:91:1 aspect ratio: 800 x 418 pixels

Image size for 1:1 aspect ratio: 800 x 800 pixels

  1. App Card:

For images with the 1:91:1 aspect ratio: 800 x 418 pixels

For images with the 1:1 aspect ratio: 800 x 800 pixels

Pinterest

With over 175 million monthly users, it helps in generating leads and increasing traffic to your website.

Promoted Pins:

  1. Image Pins:

Image width: 600 pixels (minimum)

Image height: 1000 x 1500 pixels

Small thumbnail: 69 x 69 pixels

Large thumbnail: 216 x 146 pixels

  1. Video Pins:

Video size: Shorter than 1:2; taller than 1:91:1

Social media platforms are a great way to get your ads seen by a relevant audience. But the key to that is getting the design right. Keeping these specs in mind will help you create an aesthetically pleasing as well as a functional ad design.

A closer look at banner advertising

Web banner ads are advertisements with images embedded in web pages that showcase a product, service, or brand. These images are linked to the advertiser’s website and are used to generate traffic.

It is one of the most popular advertising tools since they are measurable, effective, and affordable medium. They are efficient tools to increase brand awareness. Banner ads also help in communicating effectively with the audience.

5 Rules to follow while creating a banner ad design

To get the desired results from banner ads is not as easy as it sounds. To create a banner ad design that will get more clicks, we have curated a list of 10 tips that you can use while designing:

1. Placement

Placement of the banners is a crucial aspect of banner ad design. Ensure that you purchase the space on a website that is above the fold and close to the main content.

2. Size

Sizes of banner ads that are getting the desired results for brands worldwide:

  • Leaderboard: 728 x 90 px
  • Half page: 300 x 600 px
  • Medium rectangle: 300 x 250 px
  • Large rectangle: 336 x 280 px

3. Frame

Frames clearly defined with visual graphics extended to the box’s edge make for an effective banner ad. For instance, if your ad design is white, most designers put a 1-pixel gray border around the ad to define it.

4. Hierarchy

Hierarchy in design comes from finding the right balance between your brand’s logo, product/service, and call-to-action. The hierarchy should be created in a way that increases brand awareness and drives traffic to your website.

5. Buttons

Buttons help in increasing the click-through rate (CTR) of your ad. Try placing them after your design copy in the lower right corner using a contrasting color.

Keeping these rules in mind while creating your banner ad design will ensure that your ad design is spot on and gets the desired results.

14 Inspiring ad examples from brands worldwide

Aesthetically please and eye-catching ads are the need of the hour, especially when you’re trying to capture the slightest of attention during today’s digital age. And so to help you out, we have curated a list of 14 creative, inspirational ad design from top brands across the globe:

1. Apple (banner ad)

2. Lexus (banner ad)

3. Fanta (banner ad)

4. Red Bull (banner ad)

5. Microsoft Azure (banner ad)

6. Hilton Hotels & Resorts (banner ad)

7. Kinder Joy (banner ad)

8. Mint Vinetu Bookstore (social media ad)

9. Harley Davidson (social media ad)

10. Faber-Castell (social media ad)

11. IKEA (social media ad)

12. Crusoe (social media ad)

13. Lego (social media ad)

14. World Wildlife Fund (social media ad)

Whether you use bold colors to make a statement, use minimalistic elements, or just go with in-your-face concepts, it’s time to use your creativity to design ads that set themselves apart from the crowd and grab the attention of the masses.

And now that you’ve checked out some of the best, creative ads, its time to create your own!