Creative best practices for display ads

To create a successful display ad, you need to break through the distractions to create an ad experience that is engaging and hits just the right tone.

At Cendyn, successful display ad campaigns include several departments including our Creative Services division, which designs and animates the ad, and our strategy department, who ensures your ad gets in front of the right consumer at the right time. Accurate targeting increases our chances of catching the eye of a qualified potential guest and getting them to convert via your preferred channel (aka – your website).
Before the ad goes live, it’s up to Creative Services to write, design, and animate each display ad. To achieve this, we work directly with our clients to ensure we have the right assets (logos, photography, style guides) as well as other specific information about branding, the target audience, the campaign’s specific goals and other valuable information.
Regardless of size, all display ads created at Cendyn include 5 basic components:
  • Design & layout (including logos)
  • Copy/messaging
  • Photography
  • Animation
  • Call to action: CTA
Now, we’ll go through each component one by one and explain some basic Do’s and Don’ts.

Design & layout (including logos)

Keep your text and images complementary and visually balanced. You’ll want to aim for equal parts what you say and what you see to appeal to the widest audience. Above all, be compelling. Banners must be eye catching to attract attention.
  • Display ads should be 3-5 frames maximum in length.
  • Ads should feature a high-quality logo on every frame if possible, and ensure it is legible at small sizes. This is critical and often requires revising your logo (.eps is preferable).
  • Ad creatives should have clearly defined borders to ensure your content does not blend in with the web page it appears on.


The most important guideline when it comes to display ad messaging is “be concise.” Each display ad is made up of several individual slides that roughly appear for two seconds each. If you try to stuff too many long words or extended messages into a single slide, it will change before the reader has a chance to finish reading it.
  • Make sure your message is concise, specific, and sticks with your reader.
  • Use language that reflects your unique brand voice.
  • Choose a target audience for each ad write specifically for that group. There isn’t enough space for all your main selling points, focus on one or two features that speak directly to that audience.


Using quality photography is the best way to ensure your ad is seen and stands out on a web page.
  • Using a mix of property and lifestyle shots is suggested to “show” what a guest can expect and “imply” what they can hope to experience.
  • Consider the sizes – The three main ad sizes are 300×250, 728×90 & 160×600, when choosing photos, please keep this in mind.


Animation is a great way to grab a reader’s attention, but it’s important not to overdo the interactive elements on your ad, or they will end up distracting the reader from your messaging and call to action (CTA) instead of enhancing them.
  • Be cognizant that the total animation time should be under 15 seconds.
  • Transitions should be related to the design.

Call to Action/CTA

Your banner should have a h2 call to action (CTA), as well as something that is obviously clickable, such as an easily identifiable button that hyperlinks the ad to your offer or landing page.
  • Warm colors like red, orange and yellow create a sense of urgency and have a higher click thru rate.
  • Unusual button sizes and shapes increase clicks.
  • Button language should convey value, create urgency and be direct. For Example: Explore Now, Sale Ends Today, Book Now!
  • If your ad is based around selling a specific package, create concise offer language that provides an obvious value.
  • According to Google, 85% of the time, the end frame (where the CTA appears) is all that the consumer will see, so make sure it is impactful!

Complimentary analysis

For a free assessment of one of your digital marketing assets using our Digital Marketing Impact Analysis tools, fill out the form below to connect with one of our analysts who will follow-up to schedule a complimentary evaluation. You don’t have to be a current Cendyn client to take advantage of this offer.


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