This post was most recently updated on September 20th, 2019
There’s one big mistake designers make when creating online ads, and it may surprise you. No, it isn’t a technical matter like over-saturating their pictures, although there does need to be a base level of proficiency in any designer who is designing an ad. Nor is it a lack of creativity; even the dullest idea can be made into a brilliant ad in the hands of the right designer.
The single worst mistake a designer can make is the mistake that encapsulates all the biggest issues designers run into: it’s over-designing.
Why do you need to know this? Because as a publisher, the quality of the ads that run on your site directly affect your monetization ability. If you’re running overdesigned ads that do more harm than good, turning off your visitors from your websites and lowering hour click-through-rates.
“Huh?” you may ask, “What does over-designing an ad mean, anyway?” That’s a very good question, as this term is an inherently subjective one. There isn’t a single definition that would satisfy all conditions. But there are some general guidelines for determining whether or not an ad is over-designed.
Over-designing an ad is another way of saying that the designer over-thinks things. Think of it this way: at a store, you can either have a simple cash register and checkout station, or a long, convoluted process in which customers need to supply their passports, bank statements and more than one form of payment.
This is an over-exaggerated example to illustrate a point, but the concept is the same: a display ad that tries to be clever could cross over the line into gaudiness and tackiness. The fact of the matter is that ads should entice interest in your website viewers; they shouldn’t try to force your viewers to be interested in what they’re selling.
As we previously mentioned, over-designed ads can affect your site in that they can turn visitors off from your site and lower click-through rates. But did you know that they can also directly affect your ad revenue by increasing your page weight unnecessarily? There’s a direct correlation between the length of time it takes for your site to load and the number of ad impressions your site registers.
Of course, as with all rules, there are exceptions. For example, if a brand reaches out to you to sponsor your page with an art-directed campaign that’s eye-popping, interesting, and well-designed, then you shouldn’t write it off as “over-designed”. Just keep in mind that you need to use the right tool for the right job.
And that’s precisely the point: over-designed ads are ineffective because they don’t satisfactorily complete the job they’re “hired” to do: sell a product and entice interest.
If you notice gaudy ads on your website, investigate which ad network is running it. Get in contact with the ad network if possible, and if the ad network continues to run ads that don’t mesh well with your business, then you should reconsider whether the ad network is a good fit for your site after all.
Here’s the course that 300+ pubs used to scale their ad revenue.