How to design an online advert

It’s biz Tuesday and to continue from my last week’s post about design adverts for print today I want to shift the attention to online advertising. Now, if you have purchased My Planner 2015 via my KB Shop you also received a FREE Online Marketing Fundamentals where I clearly defined the difference between traditional/print marketing and online marketing. I won’t go in detail here because this post would be WAY too long but the core difference is basically this: with traditional marketing you promote and sell your products or services, but with online marketing you build credibility and trust which you nurture before you promote and sell. So how do you design and online ad with this mind?If you already have a blog then that’s great because you already are delivering value to your audience and you are growing your brand’s online presence. I think in this case you are also ready to sell your products/services (see my ads above as examples).

If not,  pay special attention to some of the following points. And if I were you I would promote only “free stuff” like e-books, PDFs, videos etc. I do that all the time via Facebook ads. In fact I have just finished one of my campaigns on FB which looked like this:


Now, this is only the graphics without the actual text. The ad had a title, description and a specific call to action. I created this with these 7 steps:

STEP 1. Decide on the end goal – do you want to increase your social media followers, build you list, build your credibility or drive traffic to your site?

STEP 2. Branding – select the best looking image that represents your brand. Remember you’re not selling as much, you want to build trust first and bring people over to your site first. Would you buy a product from someone you don’t know. Me personally I’m always wary of companies I don’t know so think about how you would feel when you saw your ad first time.

STEP 3. DO NOT OVERLOAD your ad with too much text – don’t do it. Online marketing ad is all about images with which you grab attention first. Besides, it can also send out how desperate you are for sales kind of message. Keep it clean! Think 20% of text and 80% visuals/images.

STEP 4. Contact details and website address are NOT necessary to include. Last week I talked about the importance of having at least your phone number and website address on your printed ad but online it’s different.

STEP 5. Include grabbing headline – same as with printed version, you need to stand out and grab viewers attention. You can read more about it here. Use headers and banners. Highlight the text.

STEP 6. Ideally use gif version of your ad. If you are creating an ad for a banner or sidebar, include at least 2 – 3 images so they rotate within few seconds apart on auto pilot. If you don’t know what gif is,  go on my KB Shop where I rotate 3 images.

STEP 7. Have a clear CTA – call to action. What do you want people to do when they see your ad – “click here”, “download this”, “shop now”etc.

STEP 8. Keep the visuals consistent – you ad should be consistent with the page people land on after they take CTA. There is nothing worst that ruining your efforts by directing viewers to a page that doesn’t look anything like your ad. Keep it on similar waveland. So taking my FB ad as an example, this is the cover image of my FREE Guide.

See how similar it is? Just keep it consistent. And to give you another example. Here is my sidebar ad which I’m still running now on my blog.


And finally I want to show you my banner which I have on my site after CTA. Note this is only part of the page with this image on it. To view the full page, you can have a look at it here. I’m currently redesigning it with Lead Pages so the style might change if you are looking at it way after this post was published.

And that’s it for today’s post. Any questions? Leave a comment below. Are you a small business owner trying to figure out online marketing? Let me know that you read this. Did you or did you NOT find this helpful? Leave me a feedback! Should I carry on with this biz series or should I stop it for the time being because you don’t find it interesting or useful? Do you rather see more design and my projects types of posts?

Do tell!

Karolina Barnes Studio


PS. If you want to check out my Free Guide graphics and learn more about how I design my freebies, just click here to download it. I’m happy for you to use it as an example.