display ad ideas

5 Super Creative, Crazy Effective Display Ad Ideas

5 Super Creative, Crazy Effective Display Ad Ideas

Here are 5 creative, effective display ad ideas to explore, using real examples from our own marketing campaigns and client accounts and backed by real data.

Consider Your Venue

It’s critical that you consider the platform on which you are displaying an ad before you design it. When it comes to social ads, you’re not just competing with other paid content, you’re competing with the users’ entire social network.
WordStream’s Paid Social Specialist, Brett McHale, says that social ads should “blend in AND stand out” on the page. Sounds pretty contradictory, huh? He goes on to explain that social content should be contextually relevant (meaning that it doesn’t look like an advertisement) and still grab readers’ attention with entertaining images and design elements like contrasting colors and negative space.
Using stock photos in social media ads will kill your performance. Instead, we recommend following Krista Neher’s “three R” strategy to drive your social content. Use real pictures of real things taken by real people. You can even solicit photos from your audience to use in these ads.

Speak to Your Target Demographic

With display ad ideas, you have the opportunity to segment your audience based on their demographic details. Take advantage of this level of granularity and build ads that will resonate with each segment of your target audience.
Taking a “one size fits all” approach rarely yields great results for advertisers. For example, imagine a jeweler who specializes in women’s jewelry. He may be inclined to create ads geared toward a female audience, thinking this is the target persona. However, upon examining his audience segments on a deeper level, he may find that a good portion of his audience is male and these men order more expensive items, likely as gifts. The jeweler should absolutely create another set of ads that resonate with a male audience.


Leveraging emotional triggers in ad copy is one of the most effective ways to connect with your audience. According to Courtney Seiter, Content Marketing Manager at Buffer, the four “basic” emotions are happiness, sadness, surprise and anger or disgust. Humans respond to each of these emotions differently, but they all incite them to take action.

Implement a Feel-Good Discount

To truly determine what resonates with your audience, experiment with multiple offers. In the example below, you can see that we experimented with two different options, Free Shipping and 50% off. The client’s click-through rates DOUBLED when we switched to the second offer. Another example might be to test a 50% discount versus $10 off the order. Of course, you’ll need to be mindful of which offers to make the most sense for your business model, but this tactic is definitely worth exploring!

Pick Your Color Palette Wisely

Every detail matters when you’re building your image ads and color choice is no exception. To choose the main color for your ad, consider the psychological association we have with different colors.
Once you’ve chosen your primary color, pair it with a contrasting color to ensure that your text is easy to read and your CTA button is highly visible. Use the handy chart below for help picking the perfect combination.

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