build an animated ad in photoshop cs4.

Dos and Don'ts

Interactive Advertising Bureau studies on the effectiveness of online ads indicate that design plays a major role in getting users to interact with the ad. Here are some basic guidelines:

1. Know your audience

  • If your advertiser is selling to people, use emotion, incentives, animation and interactivity
  • If your advertiser is selling to other businesses, use less animation, emotion and interactivity.

2. Keep your animation subtle and sophisticated. Loud, in-your-face ads will turn people off.

loud colors are bad

3. Don't use more than two typefaces.

4. Use color wisely.

  • Avoid using minimal or weak color or people won't see the ad
  • Avoid using too strong a combination of color. This can turn people off, and may even chase them away from your site.
  • Be careful using red. A little goes a long way.
  • A medium range of color results in the most clicks.

medium color

5. Always put a message on the first frame of an animation. People will sometimes stop a page from loading before your ad has finished loading. If you don't have a message on your first frame, people will never know what you wanted to tell them.

message on first frame

6. Keep the message simple. If there is too much text, people will not read.

7. Reward the customer. Let them know what they are going to get before they click on an ad. It may be  a coupon or discount, or simply more information like a menu.

8. Include a call to action. "Click for..."

9. Link directly to the content advertised. Nothing will annoy a potential customer more than landing on an advertiser's home page and having to hunt for the content that was promised.

10. Use the word "Free" carefully. People distrust free offers and may avoid your ad. The exception is a free offer that lists its limitations. For example, people are likely to click on something that offers a free software demo if it fulfills a need.

free is a bad word in ads

11. Refresh your ads regularly. A small change of color or typeface can prevent an ad from becoming wallpaper after a couple of weeks.

12. Be tasteful. The ads on your site reflect on you. An offensive ad can make someone decide to avoid your site.