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Mobile Ad Design

5 Tips to Design Great Mobile Ads

Mobile advertising design is not a ‘nice-to-have’ it is an essential component of any ad campaign. People are spending more time accessing the internet on their mobile device than from a desktop so it is critical that any online marketing campaign include made for mobile banner advertisements.

Check out these stats:

— According to Pew Global, 70 percent of adults in the U.S. are smartphone users.

— And, 60 percent of their digital time use is spent on mobile apps.

— Finally, mobile Internet use overtakes desktop Internet use at 51.2 percent.

The conclusion from these figures is that mobile advertising continues to increase in its importance and if you want to speak to your consumers and potential customers you’re your marketing communication needs to be designed for a mobile screen. The best banners are those designed specifically for the mobile device and responsive to different screen sizes. 


 Before we get to the five tips for effectively designing mobile ads, consider first how mobile use further impacts an ad campaign’s return on investment.


Adding to the above numbers, mobile apps triumph over mobile web and desktop Internet with higher engagement and conversion rates. TechCrunch suggests apps convert at rates 100 to 300 percent higher.

In fact, mobile app users engage for greater than three hours per month on the top 1000 apps. This figure represents an 18 time increase over hours spent on the same number of top mobile websites.

Social Media Use

Furthermore, mobile social media accounts represent 80 percent of all social media engagement. And, 31 percent of time spent on mobile devices is social media related. This strong tie between social and mobile raises the need for a mobile ad strategy.

Return on Investment

Mobile Internet and apps prove a formidable and profitable advertising playground for businesses. And, many marketers are taking advantage. Mobile advertising represents 63.4 percent of total digital ad account spending. And, this money proves well spent. By 2020, mobile commerce looks to reach $284 billion in sales. This accounts for 45 percent of e-commerce overall.

 The one threat to all this good news is ad blockers. Over 400 million Americans employ this technology to keep mobile uploading smooth and quick. However, currently, mobile advertising continues as a viable ad delivery system for reaching large audiences.


 Mobile advertising includes both full and partial screen ads. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Your situation, marketing needs, audience and budget help determine which is best for your campaign.

Full Screen

Full Screen Mobile Banner Ads

Occupying the whole screen gets your ad noticed. However, the cost comes when users find you intrusive. Furthermore, getting the message across with the ability to opt-out and without sound is wise. Interrupting activity in a public space irritates consumers rather than winning them over. Full screen ads fit to a variety of screen sizes without stretching. Without careful consideration, fitting smaller ads such as a banner design to larger screens proves unattractive.

Partial Screen


A banner layout avoids the intrusion factor. Though limited in information space, banner advertising design runs along the top or side of apps or the web to attract the attention of viewers. Partial screen ads such as a banner design offer an inexpensive, easy-to-implement mobile advertising design. They are particularly useful in creating brand awareness.


As we look at five mobile ad layout tips, keep these points in mind:

— Create lightweight designs to speed loading time.

— Place ads above the fold and near the primary content of the page.

— Consider your mobile marketing campaign objectives and audience when designing.

1. Choose an Effective Format

As you consider the factors of format in mobile advertising design, determine if one format gets the job done at a reasonable cost or mixing formats of different banner designs makes better business sense.


You have a variety of ad style choices which work with mobile applications. (For a more complete look at the features of each type, check out the AppSamurai article, Leading Mobile Ad Types Of 2017.)

— Native: similar to the content of the app.

— Interstitial: images or video.

— Video: content presented through clips.

— Rewarded: video ads with added features.

— Banner: includes trending interactive and expandable ads.

Mobile Ads

No matter the type of ad you choose, be sure to keep file sizes small to create top loading speeds. Slow-to-load ads irritate or may be missed altogether as viewers are quick to scroll.


Color catches a viewer’s eye. And, blending an ad visually with a site (such as native ads) earns trust. However, the point is to stand out. Choose colors and other features which make banner design ads visible and clickable without jumping off the page. Also, keep in mind the psychology of color. Consider the emotion you desire to evoke in your audience and choose hues which prompt these feelings. A study of your viewers helps you understand the associations they make with color. 

psychology of color

To summarize:

— Eliminate bright colors which tend to annoy viewers.

— Keep a consistent theme throughout the campaign.

— Avoid intrusive and invisible ads to get the best results.


Choosing size applies only to banner layouts, evidently. But, even in this category, you have options. For instance, according to Google Adsense, choosing banners sizes in leaderboard, half page, medium rectangle or large rectangle proves the most effective. Also, respect ad size requirements to ensure your ad displays well.. Pay attention to the screens each ad size caters to and choose the one appropriate to your application. For instance, standard banners work on both phones and tablets. However, leaderboards or full-size banners are best for tablet applications alone.

Mobile Ads Banner

 2. Include Key Elements

Mobile advertising design leaves little room to get your point across, especially in a banner layout. Focusing on key elements creates a stellar, get noticed ad.

(A) Logo

Brand awareness is one of the essential desired outcomes in mobile advertising. Including your logo in each ad breeds familiarity with consumers. Think of the companies known simply by their logo.

 (B) Value

Communicating your product or service, offers and pricing in an ad tells consumers what is in it for them. This information likely consumes the most space in your ad but offers value to your audience.

(C) Call to Action

Clearly indicating to the consumer their next step is key. In other words, how does your audience obtain what you offer? (More on calls to action below.)

 (D) Graphics

Relevant photos and graphics draw the eye to your ad and get the point across. Even quality stock photos work well if they are directly related to your product. Think high-resolution and uncluttered.

Facebook Ads Campaign

(Hint: In banner advertising design, stellar copy and clean design may prove effective without imagery.)

3. Always Design Simply

In mobile ad design, simplicity is key. Uncluttered ads particularly in the small space of a banner layout prove most impressive.

Branding and Buttons

Paying attention to branding and brand consistency is important. One storyboard is likely enough to create a mobile ad. Include components which link it to your overall creative strategy such as your logo and name. Check out this ad for branding inspiration. Also, consider the use of well-placed buttons which increase click-through rates (CTR). If using buttons, remember to maintain consistency throughout a set of ads. This tactic allows consumers to know exactly what to expect and what to do.


The use of movement or animation boosts performance over static ads. The caution, again, is to keep it simple. Distracting from your message undoes your work. Animations lasting 15 seconds or less and looping less than three times work to your advantage. (For banner designs, consider that they receive a one to two second glance.) 

Join.Me puts these elements together beautifully in this example.

Banner Design

4. Unclutter Your Copy

Instantly readable content is key in advertising at large but particularly in mobile applications. Four lines or less works in larger banner ad designs. In a mobile banner advertising design, maxing out at five to ten words is ideal. After all, people process five or less words per second. Furthermore, different fonts for the headline and body copy increase readability. Cursive or script fonts, very thin fonts, and small (less than 10 point) fonts tend to perform poorly. Remember, the ad copy needs to stand out with a glance.

Need an idea? Here is an example.

5. Make Clear the Call to Action

As mentioned, a call to action proves a key element in mobile ads. In fact, this point is important enough to warrant further discussion.

Focused, Clear

If consumers fail to understand what to do after viewing your ad, the beauty of all design is lost. Create a clear, singularly focused call to action that compels viewers to connect with your brand. CTA does not get clearer than this example from TripAdvisor.


Finally, include offers and incentives to encourage consumers to click their way to the next step. Discounts or bonuses for customers should be clearly communicated. The human factor makes deals attractive and worth clicking to receive. See how Ford does it.

Call To Action Banner Design

In Summary:

Mobile marketing requires a whole other set of mobile friendly banner ads to be designed. If you are looking for some help with your graphic design production work – check out our affordable unlimited design package. We can help your existing design team by taking on all the production and re-sizing work while allowing your in-house design team to focus on creating your next product or marketing campaign. With a growing mobile audience these are resources well invested, at Design Productive we are here to help.

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