Digital Ads 101

Elke Farnworth
February 4, 2021

The 'Inception' plot comes from the concept of placing an idea deep into a subconscious as someone is dreaming, through a series of suggestions that effectively lead the person to an idea or action. Sound familiar? Look, I’m not saying Lewis is Leonardo Dicaprio or our ads division work like the team of "extractors" from the blockbuster, but they sure do know how to influence the journey that leads you to make a purchase decision.

The advertising industry has experienced some major milestones over the years, as it’s had to adapt and change with the ever-expanding field. Gone are the days when you had one placement in a newspaper with one big audience. Now you have around ten different systems, six different mediums, each with 15 different placements all in front of the buyer. It’s no wonder we’re regularly asked what’s what by business owners trying to keep up with these shape-shifting tech giants.

While AF offers the full suite of print and digital advertising, this insight aims to give you a simplified context on our most sought after forms of digital advertising, along with the best practise for ad creative.

Your digital advertising comes down to two critical elements; great creatives and laser-focused targeting.


  • Eye-catching images. You have one second or less to get your message across. Use visually compelling faces, colours, and products to grab attention.
  • Lifestyle images that convey your core offering.
  • Images that focus on why people love shopping at your store or buying your products.
  • Headline: what your advertisement is about.
  • CTA button: Use action words: Read More, Learn More, Buy Now, Click Here. Don't beat around the bush.
  • Link description: The links destination, what your reader can expect after clicking through.
  • Your style guide is your brand's bible, stick to it.
  • Use fonts and colours that match your website aesthetic.
  • Promotions in line with your brand and that generate name recognition.
  • Clear and simple text. Don’t clutter your ad with text. Say one message per ad.
  • A strong call to action. Make sure shoppers know what they’re doing when they click an ad.
  • Appeal to your niches.
  • Use scale purposefully.
  • The all important hook, that one purposely created offer or opening copy that guarantees the click.

Campaign Ads

When you think of digital advertising this ad type is probably what comes to the majorities mind. Campaign Ads are a cost-effective option for businesses looking to increase traffic and conversions. This ad type can not only help promote traffic to your website, journal or get your product in front of a buyer. You can also deliver the same ad across multiple news feeds and reach a global audience or your suburb alone.

Key Placements 

  • Right Column Newsfeed 
  • Mobile Newsfeed
  • Audience Network 
  • Instagram


FB feed size: 1080 x 1080 - Single image, video or carousel up to 10 tiles
Instagram feed slightly taller: 1080 x 1350 - Single image, video or carousel up to 10 tiles
Instagram story tile: 1080 x 1920 - Single Image, video (15secs) or Carousel up to 3 image or video 
Ad copy text: 90 characters
Headline: 25 characters
Link Description: 30 characters

AF Tip: Remember to check the ad comments and reply to them for an engagement boost.

Video Ads

Seen as mini commercials that show in the middle of your feed or when you're viewing your friend's stories. Video ads continue to dominate and have emerged as one of the most effective formats marketers have at their disposal.

Key Placements: 

Desktop Newsfeed 
Mobile Newsfeed
Audience Network 
In Stream Videos


Ad copy text: 90 characters
Aspect ratios supported: 16:9 to 9:16
File size: up to 4 GB max
Continuous looping available.
Recommend max duration of 15-sec for a story.
Business name or logo to be visible within the first 3 seconds.

Promoted Page Posts 

Every time you post, Facebook offers you the chance to amplify the post’s reach with a promoted post. As you click on “Promote Post,” you can set up the target audience and bidding methods and boost your page post to more people across Facebook’s advertising network.

Key placements:

Facebook newsfeed
Instagram newsfeed


Recommended image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels
Ad copy text: unlimited
Headline: 25 characters
Link Description: 30 characters

AF Tip: The Promoted Page Post will look exactly like an ordinary Facebook post, with a “Sponsored” note on top of the ad.


Google Display advertising, also known as banner advertising, is a form of advertising that can be seen as an online billboard. Display ads can be static or moving, but typically follow the pattern of being at the top of a website in the form of a horizontal banner. This form of advertising usually is intended to tell a quick story visually while creating an overall identifiable brand identity. Banner ads are quick conversations, not in-depth thought pieces.

Google Size Variations:
240 × 400 Vertical rectangle
300 × 250 Inline rectangle
160 × 600 Wide skyscraper
300 × 600 Half-page ad
728 × 90  Leaderboard
930 × 180 Top banner
300 × 50 Mobile banner
320 × 50 Mobile banner

Google display artwork with white backgrounds must include a 1-pixel black border.

Final Thoughts

The list goes on and to be completely honest with you this is merely a surface layer guide to these ad types but don’t let that overwhelm you, at the end of the day all advertising shares three primary goals: to inform, to persuade and to remind consumers about you. It's important to get caught up in the ‘build it and they will come’ mentality. Building something from nothing takes time and money. And, digital advertising should be part of your marketing mix; not your sole marketing channel. Momentum will increase over time, as your customer base builds. Leads will come from social media, in other ways. It's our job to know it, live it, dream it. If you're not feeling confident after reading this frank insight - Contact us, it all starts with a chat.