Part 2: Our guide to creating a killer digital ad

footsteps a long a beach
Love what you’ve read? Share it with your network.

Now that you understand the foundations of a digital ad from our last insights article (The basics of digital advertising), it’s time to learn how to make a really good one.

Ad Framework

Craft your message – create a message that clearly articulates what you want the audience to know but that still leaves them wanting more information. For example, when marketing an online education course, you might want your ad to convey that students can study at home while having endless access to support.

Make it engaging – Dynamic content captures audiences. Videos can work better than images, and carousels work better than videos. Regardless of which approach you use, make sure the content encourages your audience to engage with it.

Confirm your ad link destination – We strongly suggest linking ads to your website rather than a landing page. This allows customers to visit different pages on your website and educate themselves in their own time. A landing page provides limited information which means a visitor may also need to find your company’s website to access more information. It is always best to avoid directing traffic to two different websites.

Other inclusions – Make sure the ad is well branded with a clean design, includes a UTM code for tracking, and has a clear CTA such as a link for more information.

Final considerations

Once you have your ad framework finalised, you must set a realistic budget and determine the right campaign duration.

Budget – The beauty of digital is that you can optimise ads in real-time based on their performance. Rather than a print ad, digital allows you to adjust your ad based on its performance. However, it does take time for enough data to be collected before you can optimise the ad, so make sure you set a budget that supports the optimisation time required. Don’t be expecting to see results right away; it takes time to reach your target audience.

Duration – Campaign timeframes vary depending on the platform. For Google, you should be prepared to run a campaign for at least three months. This gives you a week or two to optimise the content and the remaining time to reach your audience. When it comes to Facebook, you will reach your target audience faster, which means you should refresh your ads approximately once a month to keep your audience engaged.

How to guide

The below steps to create a campaign build on the who, what, which and how of digital ads in our previous article, plus the ad framework outlined above.

Step 1 – Set your strategy

We invest a lot of time upfront working with our clients to help them define campaign goals and set appropriate metrics. We expand on any initial budget views that focus on arbitrary measures like cost per lead and instead ensure that our clients focus on more valuable metrics like cost per conversion to set their strategy up for success.

Step 2 – Define your audience

Since targeting is critical to successful digital ads, it’s important to have a clearly defined target audience to ensure your campaign will reach, and resonate with, the right people.

Step 3 – Set a budget

As mentioned, it’s important to set a realistic budget for a digital campaign – it must be long enough for the ad to be optimised and reach the target audience, but not so long that the ad becomes stale.

Step 4 – Design your ad

When it comes to creating an ad, the messaging and design need to reflect your brand, communicate your product or service’s unique selling point, and identify the pain points being addressed or the vision being sold. Again, remember to make the content visually appealing and dynamic (e.g., a video or carousel).

Step 5 – Determine where you send your audience

This step is overlooked too often! There’s not much point creating an amazing ad if you send your leads to a dead end. We recommend directing users to a website so they can undertake a further search. It’s important to use UTM codes to determine the specific amount of traffic that is coming from the campaign. Make sure your links work and the linked url is optimised for mobile, especially for Instagram ads.

Step 6 – Test, learn and refine

Test and track the return on investment (e.g. cost per acquisition). Record this data and use these learnings to improve future campaigns so you can continue to refine your digital advertising efforts with every campaign you create.


Still have questions? We have the answers. Contact us and we can help you create targeted ads that maximise your budget, reach your customers and yield results.

Woman skiing downhill

Enhance your competitive edge.
See how we can supercharge your growth.