15 Step Guide on How to Design an Ad

Team Pepper
Posted on 24/02/229 min read
15 Step Guide on How to Design an Ad

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Why is Ad Design Important?
  • 15-Step Guide on How to design an Ad
  • Key Takeaways 
  • Conclusion 
  • FAQs

A good advertisement is a sure-shot way to capture the attention of your target audience. Be it to promote your business or launch your product, a good ad can help you grab the right eyeballs. 

However, creating an effective ad is often a hard nut to crack for marketing teams. If the advertisement is not designed well, it can cost the business time, effort, and money. Worse, a bad advertisement can do negative publicity for the business. Thus, any business must know how to design an ad.

We will discuss the essentials of ad designing below in this article. We will explain everything in detail, from some ad designing tips to the final touches and improvements. You will then have a clearer idea of the ad-making process. Before further ado, let’s start by answering a valid question.

Why is Ad Design Important?

Advertising has two main purposes of serving: creating awareness and driving action. These two things may differ in their meaning and application for different businesses. Ad design is the heart and soul of any advertising strategy because it helps businesses focus on these two purposes.

To be more specific, here are some reasons why you can’t afford to ignore ad design:

Brand Recognition

Every brand has specific brand elements that are unique to them. It can be a logo, colors, characters, taglines, or something else. Ad design accentuates these brand elements in any campaign. Thus, the brand becomes more recognizable because of a successful ad design.


Next, ad design helps communicate a message in a clear and captivating manner. Words will just be words in an ad without a thoughtful design strategy. When you combine market research, platform knowledge, creatives, and data, you get the best results. Thus, good ad design is the voice and the words of your brand.


Everyone wants to attract the same set of consumers. So, everyone is making ads. But what makes yours stand out? It is the ad design. Differentiation is important if you want to build a recognizable and preferable brand. A good ad design helps you differentiate yourself from competitors.


Ad design makes your brand more visible to potential customers. A good ad attracts everyone, which creates a ripple effect. So, by learning how to make advertisements, you will unlock the key to maximum visibility in your target market.

15 Step Guide on How to Design an Ad


Designing an ad can be a bit tricky and nerve-racking without proper assistance. To make it a little easier for you, we have curated this one-stop ads design guide. It will cover all the essentials of the ad-making process. Since everything is broken down and organized into different steps, you can standardize the process for all your campaigns. So let’s start with:

Step 1: Choose Your Target Audience

Your business may have different customer segments. However, an advertisement should never have more than one target audience. By personalizing your ad for a specific type of customer, you increase the chances of them connecting with the ad content. You can decide on the target audience by segmenting your existing user base into broad buyer personas. You can choose a platform, message, design, and creatives based on these personas.

For example, if you sell software to both individuals and organizations, you will need to create different ads for both types of users. You can also hyper-segment such customer groups depending on the need.


Step 2: Conduct Market Research

Both primary and secondary market research is important to create an ad that works. Market research involves studying the current trends in your industry and the preferences of your customers.

By understanding what has been done before, you will know what works and what doesn’t in an ad. Some good sources of secondary research are competitors’ social media handles, industry reports, and popular marketing blogs.

For primary research, you can do live surveys of potential customers to understand what drives them. It’s a crucial step in the process of designing an advertisement.

Step 3: Set Your Budget

This is one of the most important steps to consider while designing an ad. You need to allot a specific budget for your ad campaign before you plan anything else. Ad design takes investments in different things, including media buying and creatives.

So, it’s important to set a bar on the budget to best utilize your resources. It will also help you avoid overspending on an ad and keep your cost in check.

While setting a budget for the ad, consider the platform you’ll be using, its potential reach, investment in creatives, and expected results. Then you can quantify these metrics to see how much you can spend to keep a positive return on ad investment.

Step 4: Choose Your Platform

The next important step in the ads design guide is to select the best platform for the ad. There are two types of advertising channels – traditional and digital.

Traditional platforms include offline media like television, newspaper, billboards, radio, magazines, and more. The digital platforms are new-age options like social media, search ads, youtube ads, podcast ads, and more.

Decide on an ad platform based on your target audience. Launch the ad where your target customers are most active. Budget is also a factor to consider while deciding on a platform. For example, if you are targeting the older generation, TV or radio ads work better than social media ads. Similarly, for Gen Z, social media ads will bring more visibility.

Step 5: Choose an Ad Format

Ad format can change the game when combined with the right message and design. Different platforms support different types of media formats. For example, photos, videos, and stories are most common on Instagram. But Youtube only has the option for video ads. Similarly, search ads on Google can be of different types- text, display, video, shopping, and more.

Choose a format that is most consumed by your target audience and also fits well with the message and intent. For example, search ads are good for sales and getting immediate action, while social media ads are better for brand awareness.

Step 6: Decide on Ad Goal

Your advertising objective is the foundation on which the entire ad design stands. It helps craft the core idea and message of the ad. Advertising goals should be specific, relevant, measurable, attainable, and time-bound.

One good way of determining an advertising goal is first starting with business goals and then breaking them down to ad goals. Let’s say the eventual business goal is more revenue in the next quarter then your ad goal can be either increasing product sales (specific) or increasing brand awareness (broad). Your ad goal should ultimately contribute to the business goals directly or indirectly for it to be relevant.

Step 7: Select an Advertising Appeal

An advertising appeal is the core emotion that is triggered by an ad. There are different kinds of advertising appeals used by brands. Some popular advertising appeals are social appeal, humor appeal, rational appeal, emotional appeal, cultural appeal, and romantic appeal.

The ad appeal you use should be representative of your brand voice and personality. Humour and romance appeals work well with millennial-centric brands. But for B2B brands catering to organizations, a rational appeal may be more relevant and effective.

Step 8: Craft a Memorable Message

Your message is single-handedly the most important part of the entire ad campaign. This is what your design and creatives are based on. The message is the communication, direct or indirect, with your target audience. A persuasive message adds to the effectiveness of the advertisement.

To learn how to design an advert,  you have to first focus on the nuances of copywriting. Your message should be creative, easily understandable, and relevant. It should tell the reader what the ad is about. Whether it is a new offer or a product launch, the ad message should be able to communicate the ad purpose with maximum clarity.

Step 9: Gather Creative Assets

Any ad requires different types of creative assets which combine to make it effective. These creative assets include photographs, music, copy or script, video, GIFs, animations, or graphics.

Once you have an idea for the ad and a good message, you must focus on presenting the idea well. That’s where the creative assets come into play. A good ad designing tip would be that you should use a maximum of two or three creative assets in every ad for the best results.

You can make these creative assets on your own (using tools like Photoshop or Canva). Alternatively, you can outsource the work to freelance experts or agencies. The choice entirely depends on your ad budget.

Step 10: Create Custom Videos

If you’re opting for video ads, this step is where you need to spend a good deal of time. Screenwriting, directing, and shooting a video takes a ton of effort and time. You also need expert assistance to get to the desired video output.

The first step to making good videos is deciding on the script and the screenplay. Then, getting different people like actors, writers, directors, designers, and videographers on board is the next task. Finally, the shooting and editing of the video take most of the time. Creating a custom video is very cost-intensive, but if done well, will give good results.

Step 11: Use Striking Visuals

Ad visuals can shoulder the entire ad if done well. That’s why it’s important to spend enough time creating eye-catchy visuals for your ad. The colors, fonts, symbols, and characters should be representative of your brand. The best visuals make your audience linger on the ad for a while and are also memorable.

You can hire professional designers to make visuals for your ad or do it in-house. But the visual should sync well with the ad message and creative assets.

Step 12: Include a Call to Action

The CTA (call to action) is the trigger that drives the customers seeing the ad to take any specific action. It is typically used in ads that aim at product promotion. The ads that are created for brand awareness usually don’t have a CTA. The CTA should specify only ONE action and it should be easily doable. It should be placed in the ad such that the next action is very obvious to the audience.

Step 13: Include Relevant Information

An ad serves its purpose when all relevant information related to the product or company is present. This includes logo, tagline, address, product price, website, social handles, or other such data. This is done so that the customers can easily connect with you if they like the ad. However, this information should be highly relevant and not unnecessarily hog up the ad space.

Step 14: A/B Test Ad Copy

Ads being creative material are based on subjective interpretation. What looks good to you or your team may not be as effective for your audience. That’s why the best ads are made by testing them on an initial set of users. A/B testing is the method by which you show two or more variations of an ad to a small set of target customers. Based on the feedback, you finalize an ad for the launch.

Step 15: Make Improvements in Ad Copy

Once you analyze the response on the A/B testing stage, you make relevant changes to the ad. This is done to ensure that the final ad you launch is up to the mark. Ad improvement involves reviewing every element of the ad, from copy to design, and improving it.

Key Takeaways

  • Learning how to design an ad is important for creating brand recognition, establishing communication, making differentiation, and enhancing brand visibility,
  • The first step in an ads design guide is choosing a target audience, followed by market research. Next, you set an ad budget based on the ad platform and ad format you choose.
  • A good ad designing tip is that you must decide on a specific ad goal before ideating ad content. This is followed by coming up with a suitable advertising appeal and a memorable message.
  • The next important step in the ads design guide is the consolidation of all creative assets. It also includes shooting a custom video and using striking visuals in the ad.
  • A call-to-action is a non-negotiable component of an ad copy as it drives customers to action. The ad copy must also include all the relevant information about the business.
  • No ad copy is perfect on the first try, so A/B testing the ad is necessary. Based on the test results, improvements in various components are done. That’s a brief overview of how to design an advert.


That’s a wrap on how to make advertisements that capture your customers’ attention. In this ads design guide, we discussed the prerequisites of designing ads as well as a step-by-step method. Although the process is standard, you can always adapt it as per your business needs. The key to making great ads lies in understanding the needs and aspirations of your customers.


1. What makes an ad successful?

An ad is successful because of three main components: copy, design, and CTA. The success of an ad is defined by its ability to drive user action. It should also be able to contribute to the overall business goals.

2. How do you design an ad?

Designing an ad is a multi-step process that takes time and effort. The main steps are target audience research, deciding the budget, creating copy, adding visuals, and testing. Based on your needs, additions can be made to these steps.

3. What are the different advertising appeals?

Different types of advertising appeals are as follows: Humour, romance, social appeal, rational appeal, emotional appeal, cultural appeal, etc. More appeals can be used based on the ad context.

4. What should an ad look like?

A good ad should be appealing to look at and memorable. It should reflect the brand elements and thus, increase brand visibility. The fonts, colors, symbols, and designs should blend well together.

5. Why is ad design important?

Ad design is important because it helps in communicating a message effectively. It also differentiates the brand from competitors. Furthermore, a good ad copy adds to brand recognition.

6. Where do you find ideas for ads?

You can find ad ideas everywhere. From your competitor’s social media channels to marketing blogs, ad inspiration is available freely online. You should also keep a tab on your favorite brands outside your industry.