best-practices

A Winning Formula for Mobile App Banners

Pamela Corvino

Is there a formula for successful ad creatives?

For most people, an ad creative might be their first contact with a brand or an app; it’s the “book cover” that people use to judge the app’s content. Strong ad creatives can dramatically affect the performance of mobile marketing campaigns.

Which is why we are constantly asked by clients for banner design best practices. We recently covered the difference between User Acquisition and Retargeting ads. In this post, we want to go back to the basics and share some tips and insights on how to design mobile banners like a pro.

The formula to remember… Logo + Campaign specific (Copy+CTA) + Image

Logo

Always include the company logo. The logo makes the ad look legit, while it’s also a branding opportunity you don’t want to miss.

Copy

Keep it short, and goal oriented. Who are you targeting? What is the end goal? Are you showing the ad to people who haven’t downloaded the app yet? Are you showing the ad to users who haven’t completed a purchase? If you are targeting users who haven’t downloaded the app yet, be clear about what your app does. It doesn’t help me much to read “Free Delivery across the UK”, if I don’t know what you are delivering.

Call To Action (CTA)

This element is often overlooked, yet its presence plays a major role in ad performance. In the graph below, you can see how the same ad has a significantly higher CTR when the CTA is added.

CTA impact on CTR

Not just any CTA will do either. It needs to be specific to the campaign you are running. If it’s an App Install campaign, the desired action is INSTALL or DOWNLOAD. If it is a retargeting or engagement campaign, the CTA refers to the action you want the user to take inside the app, such as, BUY NOW or SUBSCRIBE.

Campaign specific CTA impact on CTR

If the user has already downloaded the app and you’re showing him a creative that says DOWNLOAD NOW, he or she will likely not click on it. Why would they?

Image

Unfortunately, there is no magic rule when it comes to ad images, but this is actually a good thing. It means that as long as the image is high res and in harmony with the rest of the ad, you are free to experiment. For those of you in search of guidance, here are a few tips:

  • Layout basics, for vertical ads place the logo near the top and the CTA near the bottom. We read from top to bottom, so it makes more sense: who is selling, what are they selling, how do I get it. It makes no sense to say BUY NOW and then tell them what you’re selling… Same logic applies to horizontal banners, logo on the left, CTA on the right.

Mobile App Banner Layout

  • Keep it simple, you sell awesome products and want to show them off, great! Just don’t show them all in the same ad. Mobile screens are small and they can look crowded very quickly. Limit the number of products you are showing per ad (definitely show your best selling stuff, since you know more people are into that). Since you’ll need to create 2-3 versions, you can use each version to show a different product / app functionality.

Mobile App Banner Variations

  • Contrasting CTA, Make sure the Call To Action stands out, its color should contrast with the rest of the ad. Attract the attention of users, call out to them, tell them to click and convert.

Mobile App Banner Call To Action (CTA)

Choose a high res image for native ads, otherwise they will look blurry on newer phones. For native ads you need to upload your logo, image, copy and CTA separately. Native ads adapt to the look and feel of the content that surrounds them. So they look different depending on their placement.

Examples of Native Ads

Native mobile ads outperform standard banners, they are more engaging, fun, relevant and interesting, while at the same time less intrusive and less irritating.

“Users spend 40% more time interacting with mobile native ads than with traditional ads.” - MMA 2016

Ok. Almost there…

Once you’ve created your ads it’s important to keep them updated. Even if an ad starts out performing really well, over time it will become less effective.

Native Ad CTR Evolution

And it makes sense! Users get “banner fatigue” and will ignore an ad they’ve seen over and over again.

WrAPPing Up

Here’s a short checklist to help you along,

  • Use your company logo.
  • Write specific copy for your audience.
  • Create a Call To Action (make it goal oriented and place it on a button that contrasts/stands out with the rest of your ad.)
  • Use attractive imagery
  • Provide separate assets for Native ads
  • Ensure your creatives are updated regularly

Ad-diagram

Remember the formula = Logo + Campaign specific (Copy+CTA) + Image