Advertising guidelines

Purpose and intention

Every advert should have a very clear intention and message. Different ads seeks different outcomes, and since intention determines user interaction it also determines how you measure your ad’s impact. For optimal effect, focus on only one intention/message per advert. Your unique selling point should be a useful starting point.

Branding: clearly feature your company’s brand name, rather than a specific product or product range.

Product/service promotion: feature the product and only the one or two key bits of most relevant info – e.g. either discount percentage; special offer banner; price sticker; or marking as “new”.

Drive website traffic: get visitors to your website with a clear call to action and good reason for viewers to click to visit your site. This could be to download a white paper, meet the team (e.g. link to team page) or get in touch (link to contact page)

Raise awareness/educate/inform: bring industry issues to your customer’s mind, for example a new safety standard. While considered more subtle than direct product promotion, it is often more effective to establish your company as a leader at the forefront of your industry.

Where you expect user interaction with the ad, you must have a clear “call to action”.

Think style

Design and advertising trends change all the time. However, in recent years there’s been a move to simple but bold designs which make use of web fonts against clear, uncluttered backgrounds with striking graphics. For impact the colour selection is usually limited to only a handful of colours, in which the image and fonts are carefully considered to complement one another to emphasises the message.

Clever advertisers also bear the design and colour scheme of media/websites on which they’ll advertise in mind.

Good advertising standards advise against flickering, fast changing ads – which is why EE Publishers will no longer consider GIF ads with more than two frames.

Here are some good examples of online advertising for inspiration.

Think size

EE Publishers’ website is dynamic and mobile friendly, meaning it automatically scales content to best fit the viewer’s device and screen size. Keep this in mind when designing your ad. While you do have the option of submitting two differently sized ads for different screen sizes, the minor effect of scaling on adverts makes it more efficient to have one well-considered ad which works at different sizes. (I.e. keep text short and simple to make it readable on desktops and mobile phones.)

Measure impact

There are various ways to measure the effectiveness of ads, with the purpose of the ad and the media in which it appears determining the best measures.

The digital nature of online ads make them the easiest to measure, but that’s by no means to say print advertising is ineffective. To the contrary, print audiences tend to very loyal, and circulation accreditation confirms that the magazine with your ad has reached readers. There are also ways to introduce digital connections to print media to measure some types of ad interactions, such as including QR codes in a promotion and then tracking the code scans.

As for online ads, there’s a broad spectrum of ad measures which should be employed critically and carefully to produce insight. To measure brand awareness, page impressions might be effective, while clicks are least effective. Product/service promotion ads might consider both impressions and clicks, with relationship between the measures indicating conversion effectiveness. Ads with a clear intention of user interaction can also be tracked individually using UTM codes which you can set up and track for each of your individual ads.

EE Publishers also happily shares its ad impressions and other metrics with its advertisers, and the latest data can be requested from sales staff.

Ad metrics are useful, but unfortunately not an exact science. Be cautious of not over analysing metrics or drawing the wrong conclusions, for example that your media of choice is ineffective when in reality the advert itself is not good, or vice versa. It’s just as important to consider timeframes of measurements – don’t expect an once-off ad to double your product sales.

Adapting strategies and ads in the long term will be the best indicator of the effectiveness of your advertising, as will a dynamic array of measures – including online metrics, your own sales figures, your website visits, and even call centre activity.

Think long term

Advertising is a long-term game, with the most effective strategies combining various ad options and media, and planning campaigns and messages to generate interest and a following over time by having them coincide with broader events, articles and trends.

Honest and ethical advertising

We always advise clients to practice honest and ethical advertising and avoiding misleading messages. The Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) is South Africa’s self-regulatory body responsible for administering the Code of Advertising Practice on behalf of the advertising and marketing industry.

Just do it

Don’t know where to start? Let the EE Publishers Design & Production team take the load of your shoulders for a minimal, highly competitive fee. Alternatively try your hand at design with this simple, free and power online tool, Canva.