How to Craft Scintillating Ad Visuals: A Beginner’s Guide

4. Texture, focal points, Whitespace, Direct Gazes and Non-Verbal Cues

The texture generally describes how the art element feels when touched. It represents the qualities of the surface (smooth or rough) and can be used to communicate different feelings.

For instance, lines can be smooth or rough.

texture, lines

Image from: thevirtualinstructor.com

Next, we have focal points. They are the areas of emphasis in a composition and catch the attention of the viewer. In your visual ad, you should have at least one dominant element that draws attention through its high visual weight. This will be the first point of interest for a prospect. But you can have additional focal points in your image as well.

For instance, in the image below, the red squares and the big red circle are all focal points. The circle though is the chief focal point.

focal points

Image from: smashingmagazine.com

For your visual advert, most consumers won’t make it past the most dominant focal point. So use it to convey the important info about your offer.

Other important info can be communicated in the second and third level of focal point hierarchy (based on visual weight).

In the print ad below for Alzas Bajas magazine, there are 3 focal points.

Can you guess which ones?

Alzas Bajas print ad, ad visuals

Image from: creativebloq.com

That’s right, the three colorful animals.

Occasionally, whitespace might be used to draw attention to the most important points in the design. In the Volkswagen ad below, the white background helps in directing your attention towards the key grooves with trees and safari.

Volkswagen ad, visuals in advertising

Image from: creativebloq.com

Lastly, visual cues can be more direct. For instance, you must have definitely seen this baby picture. It’s a subtle way to call attention towards your CTA (Call to Action).

visual cues, CTA

Image from: adespresso.com

If the gaze of the baby is towards the visitors, then you’ll see a lower amount of attention towards the text that contains your value proposition.

visual cues

Image from: adespresso.com

So direct the visitor in making the correct eye movements and you might just open doors to more conversions.

Similarly, you should pay attention to the body language of the models in your ad visuals. The facial expression, gestures, and postures significantly influence the perception of consumers based on the context.

Let me show you a couple of examples. Power poses, in the image below, are shown to convey confidence.

body language in ad visuals

Image from: people.hbs.edu

Ads that show a food product out of their package will increase the cravings of the consumer.

oikos ad, visuals in advertising

Image from: scienceofpeople.com

Compare that with an ad that shows a packaged product.

yogurt ad visuals

Image from: scienceofpeople.com

Doesn’t really excite your taste buds, does it?

5. Spaced Repetition

Generally, repetition in advertising refers to exposing the viewer repeatedly to specific images. You can repeatedly use your logo to create familiarity with your brand. It has also been found to make your product appear high-quality in the eyes of the consumer.

On social media, you can leverage this phenomenon with remarketing ads. When a user visits your website, you can cookie him and follow him around on social media.

Most visitors don’t convert on the first visit. And the average eCommerce shopping cart abandonment rate is 68.63%. So following around the first-time visitors isn’t a bad idea.

Neil Patel has used remarketing ads to increase his deal closing ratio by 28% by using ads like the one below.

neil patel remarketing ad

The best part is that you can send targeted and relevant ads in the feeds of such visitors.

Baremetrics use the following set of banner retargeting ads.

spaced repetition, saas analytics, targeted ads

Image from: baremetrics.com

And they have managed to make $650 for every $6 they spend.

wordstream client data

And the cost of running these remarketing ads is generally low than search ads, especially in competitive industries. Here’s some example data from WordStream customers.

Image from: wordstream.com

Word of caution: Don’t maintain such a rigorous ad schedule that your audience gets creeped out viewing the same ads.

You can create different visuals for different sections of your target audience and rotate your ads at regular intervals. This will ensure that you create an emotional bond and remain at the top of your audience’s mind and not lead to consumer fatigue.

AdEspresso data on 500 campaigns found that the CPC increases and CTR decreases at a higher frequency. There isn’t a one-size, fits all number for all industries, though. Just monitor your ad frequency and change your visuals when there’s a significant decay of performance.

ad frequency

Image from: adespresso.com

It’s a wrap!

The visual advertising boom on the web is only going to continue. So you need to craft adverts with beautiful visuals that complement your value proposition and elevate your brand identity.

The creative possibilities with visuals in advertising are infinite. I touched on only a few basic strategies with example visual ads in the article. Hope that these will help you in designing a compelling ad visual for your next campaign.

Now it’s your turn:

I am sure you might be using other design strategies for your ad visuals. Share them in the comments below.

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Written by Chintan Zalani

Chintan Zalani's work has been published in major international newspapers, blogs and websites namely Times of India, Aol Huffington Media’s CoolAge.in, Android Authority, AdPushup, ShoutmeLoud and LinkOLogy.