Let’s Make an Ad Together

An interview with Melanie Steinke, graphic designer at Simplaex

To run a successful marketing campaign, you need two things above all: cutting-edge technology and brilliant creatives. Tools like artificial intelligence and app retargeting are indispensable to the modern marketer. But they’re not a replacement for good old-fashioned skills like design and copywriting. No amount of technology can compensate for a lack of creativity.

At Simplaex, we’ve developed a sharp eye for what works. Today we’ll share some of our wisdom with you.

In this interview, our superstar designer Melanie Steinke from our in-house studio, walks you through the basics of designing an ad that people will remember. Over to you, Melanie…

The first rule of creative advertising – keep it simple. With a mobile ad, you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention. Your message should be clear, concise, and appealing.

Many people think of creativity as a spontaneous process. In fact, most professional creatives follow a well-defined plan. When I design an ad, I typically do it in three stages.

Step 1: Making sense of the creative brief

Most advertising projects begin with a brief, which is a set of instructions that explain what the ad is meant to achieve. Once I’ve read through the brief, I start tossing around a few ideas. This is the fun part. Whatever pops into my head, I scribble it down on a piece of paper — notes, sketches, random ideas.

To get the creative juices flowing, I’ll often spend some time collecting images and vectors from the web. Pinterest and Google Images are great places to find inspiration.

Step 2: Creating the layout concept

Once I’ve gathered some inspiring material and developed a few ideas, it’s time to put together a layout concept. This is a rough sketch of what the final ad will look like. The word “rough” should be emphasized here. On an average project, the concept will change about five times before we settle on a final layout. And that’s fine — it’s all part of the process. As the famous painting instructor Bob Ross used to say, we don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.

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Step 3: Fine-tuning the details

Once I’ve got the basic layout under control, I start thinking about the finer details. What kinds of images should the ad include? What font should I use? What’s the best color palette?

I start by choosing the images because they are the most important element. Images are the first thing people notice. A single photo or graphic can tell an incredibly rich and vivid story.

Once I’ve chosen an image or two, I search over them carefully for interesting patterns and colors. I then design the rest of the ad in the same style. I choose a color scheme that complements the main image, while also conveying the right kind of emotion — happiness, laughter, sadness, or whatever it might be. Your choice of colors should leave a lasting impression on the viewer.

Another important design choice is typography. To keep my design clean and consistent, I never use more than two different fonts. I also use as little text as possible, with plenty of whitespaces around and between the lines. Text-heavy ads are visually unattractive and difficult to read.

Finally, we can’t forget the call-to-action. Getting people to click the button is the whole point of running the ad, so it’s important to get the design right. The button should be big, clear, and prominently displayed. It’s a good idea to use a contrasting color, e.g. a dark button on a light background.

Design in action

It’s time we put all of this into practice! So let’s create an ad together. It’s for a fictional cartoon game called Black Flags.

Our goal is to get people curious about the game. To create a sense of novelty and excitement, we’re going to emphasize the fact that we have new levels available.
To avoid giving our audience “ad fatigue”, we’ll create several versions of our ad, and then test which one works best.

Design 1

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Design 2

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Why these designs work

We’ve chosen images that fit together nicely in terms of color, subject and style. To achieve this effect, you often need to do some editing and re-coloring.

The color scheme is bright, friendly and inviting. Because this is a pirate game, we’ve chosen colors that remind us of the ocean, beaches, ships, and treasure. Beige, yellow, brown, lots of blue and a bit of pink and violet here and there.

The call-to-action stands out clearly. Against the blue background, the red button catches the eye. To emphasize this effect, we’ve turned up the color saturation.
Calibri is a good choice of font. It’s very readable, even on small screens. The letters are slightly rounded at the edges, which gives the font a clean and gentle appearance. Calibri also supports lots of glyphs, which is important for mobile advertising when ads are translated into many languages.

Now it’s your turn!

By now, you should understand the basics of creating a memorable ad that will deliver business results. But like any skill, the only way to get better at design is practice, practice, practice. So grab your sketchbook and get to it!

LATEST NEWS

Simplaex Is Leading The Next Mobile Wave In Transforming Data Into Insights And Insights Into Action

Simplaex, experts in marketing mobile games, has recently closed its successful A-round funding. The Berlin-based company will use the capital to expand into new verticals and deliver its proprietary technology to a broader customer base. To this end, Simplaex is positioning itself as the most advanced data insight & activation platform. Below is our recent interview with Jeff van Ede, Co Founder & CEO of Simplaex:

First-party Data Innovator Simplaex Closes $2.6 Million Funding Round

Simplaex, experts in marketing mobile games, has successfully closed its A-round funding. The Berlin-based company will use the capital to expand into new verticals and deliver its proprietary technology to a broader customer base. Helping to drive this expansion will be Perry Ofir, Simplaex's newly-appointed CRO who was formerly VP of Sales & Business Development at Adgorithms.Simplaex launched in April 2016 as a groundbreaking marketing platform for game developers. In the twelve months since, it has grown into a sophisticated data marketplace with over 300 million unique user profiles. On the back of this impressive growth, the company is now looking to expand beyond the gaming industry.

Simplaex Surpasses 150 Million Players for Game Developer Platform

Simplaex, a revolutionary peer-to-peer platform for game developers, now offers direct access to over 150 million players. The important milestone comes just ten months after the Berlin-based start-up set out to transform game marketing. Developed together with some of the world's leading game companies, Simplaex is laser focused on the two main pillars of the industry's business model: Acquiring players and finding a way to monetize them. The groundbreaking technology completely bypasses the traditional way of game marketing, giving developers immediate access to a transparent and effective player marketplace.

First-party Data Innovator Simplaex Closes $2.6 Million Funding Round

Simplaex, experts in marketing mobile games, has successfully closed its A-round funding. The Berlin-based company will use the capital to expand into new verticals and deliver its proprietary technology to a broader customer base. Helping to drive this expansion will be Perry Ofir, Simplaex's newly-appointed CRO who was formerly VP of Sales & Business Development at Adgorithms.Simplaex launched in April 2016 as a groundbreaking marketing platform for game developers. In the twelve months since, it has grown into a sophisticated data marketplace with over 300 million unique user profiles. On the back of this impressive growth, the company is now looking to expand beyond the gaming industry.

Simplaex Surpasses 150 Million Players for Game Developer Platform

Simplaex, a revolutionary peer-to-peer platform for game developers, now offers direct access to over 150 million players. The important milestone comes just ten months after the Berlin-based start-up set out to transform game marketing. Developed together with some of the world's leading game companies, Simplaex is laser focused on the two main pillars of the industry's business model: Acquiring players and finding a way to monetize them. The groundbreaking technology completely bypasses the traditional way of game marketing, giving developers immediate access to a transparent and effective player marketplace.

Simplaex launches the first peer-to-peer marketing platform for game developers to buy, engage and sell players

Simplaex is officially launching its next generation marketing technology platform at GDC 2016 in San Francisco that solves the problem of today's user acquisition and retention in both mobile and online gaming. Since the introduction of the F2P business model the gaming advertising industry has developed into an ecosystem that is controlled by networks, agencies, brokers and resellers. Game developers and game players are more disconnected than ever before.

Why the game marketing ecosystem is ripe for disruption

For many game developers, the traditional way of promoting their products online is broken beyond repair. With no direct digital access to potential customers, they depend on an ungainly mix of ad exchanges, media buying platforms, data aggregators, agencies, and resellers. The results of such a tangled web are predictable: Unfair prices, low-quality leads and surging churn rates. This unsatisfying situation has led many game developers to shift their focus from customer acquisition to retention in the hope of boosting the cost-effectiveness of their marketing strategies.

Why game developers are neglecting their players

Can you imagine going to a restaurant that made it increasingly harder to get through each course of a meal? Sure, you can have your appetizers, but to eat your entrée you’ll have to cross the street to another location. And don’t forget to bring your spoon with you — otherwise you can forget dessert! No, I can’t imagine that either. But that’s exactly what the game industry does to its customers. It makes products that are by their nature progressively more difficult to consume. It’s the developer’s conundrum: Every gamer is intrinsically different yet they’re all playing the same game. They have various levels of skill and determination, as well as a range of ideas about what constitutes success and brings gaming satisfaction. It’s impossible to make a game that’s a perfect fit for everyone, but you can try to look after your active users and make sure they’re happy.

Why game developers should embrace player churn

Churn. It’s an ugly word. Game developers are naturally concerned about player retention. But eventually even the most ardent player loses interest in a game. It’s normal. It’s part of the cycle. And so it’s also normal when developers are inclined to squeeze the absolute maximum revenue out of people before they’re gone forever. However, trying desperately to monetize your players only increases churn, aggravating the problem.

Why game developers must rethink their advertising strategy

What if you could go to the movies for free, but every 15 minutes the film would stop for a commercial break? A few very cost-conscious people might tolerate it, but I reckon most would refuse to ruin their cinema experience that way. Similarly, there’s a good reason game developers dislike in-app advertisements: They distract your customers — and frequently discourage them from using your product. “Gamers want to game. So disturbing the gamer’s experience, even if it brings value, isn’t always the way to go,” wrote Avi Hadas, in a recent guest column on in-game advertising for VentureBeat. The stakes are high. In an industry concerned about churn, retention, and monetization of players, in-game ads might save your business — or end up killing it.

Simplaex Native Adspersonalized ads vs standard ads