Advertising Best Practices

When it comes to advertising and marketing, it is easy to assume that something is better than nothing. But, in a world flooded with advertisements, social media algorithms and multi-formats…there are some best practices you can follow to cut through the noise. Fortunately for you, if you follow these simple Best Practices, you’ll be able to deliver an ad that could become a high performer.

No matter the format

It doesn’t matter if your advertisement is going into print, a social media campaign, or elsewhere online, there are a few things that are necessary for your ad to illicit a reaction from a viewer.

Compelling Headline

Grab your viewer’s attention with active and not passive phrases! It is tempting to fill your advertisement with as much information as possible, but when you only have a split second to pull a potential customer to click on your ad, visit your website, or call your company—your headline needs to go beyond your tagline and prompt action.

Call To Action

Now that you have the viewer’s attention, they need to know the next step you want them to take. Your ad needs a clear Call To Action (CTA). Don’t be vague, but don’t be afraid to be creative. The CTA “Reserve Your Sunset View Now” is far more inspiring than “Call For Reservations”.

Complementary Images and Copy

So you have your amazing photo selected, you’ve toiled over the perfect advertising copy, and it’s time to place your ad into the 3” x 3” print ad. You overlay that visually complex image with a ton of copy…how does it look? Less than stellar. Your image and copy needs to match not only the physical ad’s specs but also consider what you can visually accomplish in the space of the advertisement you purchased.


Rusty from Ocean’s 11 says “Don’t use seven words when four will do.” You may not be breaking into a casino vault, but the words need to ring true in every marketing piece you present to the public.

Print – Display

Make sure your copy is persuasive, inspiring, and lures the viewer to engage with your CTA. It’s tempting to cram in as much information as possible, but short and focused will provide far more value. Contact info should support the CTA.

Common Definitions:
Some ad sizes are able to “bleed” off the edge of a page; here are some helpful terms to understand when preparing an ad that bleeds.

Trim Size is the finished size of the page. Once a magazine is printed and bound, it is trimmed to size, giving each edge a consistent, clean look.

Because magazine printing is done in large quantities with fast-moving presses, a margin of error is built in to accommodate variances. Bleed is an area outside the trim size to accommodate for those variances.

Live Area is a margin of error inside the trim. Vital information needs to fall within the live area, we don’t want your logo or contact information to risk being trimmed or too close to the edge, so be sure the design of your ad takes this into account.

Print – Advertorial

Best practices: Include a headline, compelling body copy, contact info, and photo (if applicable). Make sure your copy is inspiring. It’s tempting to cram in as much information as possible, but copy that is short and focused will provide far more value.

Photos for advertorials should not include type, logos or any Photoshop effects. They should be at least 3” x 5” at 300 dpi.


Less than 20% of the image you are using for a Facebook ad should be text. Otherwise, Facebook will limit (if not block) the ad from being delivered. 

Facebook Image Ratio: Click

Your Facebook and Instagram ad images will capture a viewer’s attention, but the copy is what lands you the click. Make sure your copy is persuasive, inspiring, and lures the viewer to click your CTA. It’s tempting to cram in as much information as possible, but copy that is short and focused will provide far more value. Studies show people scan mobile ads within .4 seconds on mobile and decide if it’s worth their time or not. Keep your copy short. 

Include at least 3 variations to your copy, so your social media team or agency can swap out, test and optimize your ad. 

General Common Definitions

  • CTA: “Call To Action”, this short snippet should point people to either click, call or visit your website to make a transaction or learn more information. 
  • Prospecting: These are ads designed to engage people who have either never seen your material, or have never visited your site. 
  • Remarketing: If a viewer has visited your site but didn’t make the desired transaction, Remarketing ads are designed to push them one step closer to ultimately making a transaction with you. 
  • Targeted: These are demographic-, location- or time-specific ads that speak directly to the unique needs of a group. 
  • Impression: When your ad appears on someone’s social media feed, on a website, or in ad space somewhere on the page.
  • View: Refers to a Video view. Just because your video ad appears on someone’s feed, doesn’t necessarily mean they watched it. When they do take the time to watch, that action is counted as a view. 
  • Clicks: When someone clicks on your ad, CTA, or link.
  • Facebook Instant Experience vs Facebook ad: A Facebook ad is simply a video or image paired with copy and a CTA. The new Instant Experience ads (previously called Canvas ads) expand into a mini-website of sorts filled with short, engaging videos, copy, and design.
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