Graphic design mockup of Rockwell's Late Night Happy Hour poster in a frame.

Advertising is big business. In the United States alone, approximately $219 billion a year is spent on advertising. Businesses understand that to be competitive in this highly global marketplace, spending money on marketing their brands is vital. However, the quality of an advertisement can vary widely.

More than likely, you have various types of ads both online and off. It’s very difficult to track just how effective a specific ad is, because everything works together to drive customers your way. While you might not ever know for certain if one ad was more effective than another, you can do everything in your power to make sure your advertisement has every element needed to draw in the consumer.

Unique Selling Proposition

Before you ever create an ad, you need to figure out what your unique selling proposition (USP) is. Your USP is the reason the consumer should buy your product or service. It might read something like this: “Buy ABC Widgets and solve your issue with ____.” Once you figure out your USP, it is easier to figure out the tone of your overall ad.


The average person is bombarded with advertising every day. You might see as many as 4,000 ads in a single day, but that number can vary, depending upon what you do for a living, your drive time, time online and many other factors. In an ocean of ads, it is important to find a way to stand out. This requires the ability to look at the world in a different way and present your ad so it captures the imagination of consumers. Want to see examples of our work? Click here to view our portfolio of select client works.

Great Photos

Photos can make or break an ad. About 90 percent of the information the brain processes is visual in nature. This is why an image alone can create an emotional response and help you connect with consumers without any or very few words. There is a very specific balance that has to be created between the emotions a photo evokes and overall creativity of the image.

The Right Placement

Advertising is about more than just the ad itself. Another important element is the placement of the ad. The perfect ad won’t gain any attention if you don’t place it in the correct publication or online venue. You must put the ad where your target audience is most likely to see it.

In addition to which publication you choose, you also need to decide where within that publication your ad should go. For example, if you are selling lotions and decide to place your ad in a women’s magazine, you will want that ad to go next to an article about dry skin or something along those lines. Online, you must decide where on the page you want your ad to appear – above the fold or in the header, for example.

Call to Action

Don’t forget the call to action (CTA) in your ad. You need to let the consumer know what you want him or her to do. Think about some of the famous ads that come to mind. “Drink milk.” “Just do it.” You likely know exactly what you are supposed to do when you hear these phrases. Your ad should have a similar CTA that drives the user to some type of action.

There is an entire science to creating a CTA. You can also tie it into your unique selling proposition. For example, “Drink milk, because it makes the body strong.”


Creating the perfect balance in your ad is not an easy task. Take the time to study what your competitors are doing and to thoroughly think through and see your ad through the eyes of the potential customer. Combining great photos, USP, CTA and creativity will allow your ads to have more impact than ever before.

About the Author of This Post

Lexie Lu is a graphic designer and blogger with a passion for the digital world. She spends most of her time working on logo mockups and creating websites for her clients. She also manages Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.