News & events

Part two: How to make an impactful digital ad

In a two-part series, Newsworks’ data insight manager Zainab Pirzada takes a closer look at what makes an impactful print and digital ad, taking inspiration from brands such as Lloyds Banking Group, Uber and Renault.

The exponential rise of digital has transformed the media landscape and as a result, the marketing ecosystem: how brands are built, discovered and even how they communicate with their customers.

Digital has also radically transformed everyday life, what did we even do before the internet? Before online banking or even Google Maps?

As a result, in today’s digital-first world, running a digital ad campaign is an essential part of any successful brand’s marketing strategy and a creative brand idea needs to be conceived with the digital front of mind, because when used well, digital channels, especially news brands, can play a fundamental role in brand building.

News brands continue to provide brands with a quality environment from which to advertise. Our latest IPA databank study with effectiveness expert Peter Field showed that digital news brands deliver incredibly strong business effects for brands, due to their strong impacts on brand trust and quality perceptions – two brand effects that are most strongly linked to profit growth. In fact, campaigns that use digital news brands are 48% more likely to drive profit and 120% more likely to increase market share.

Here some top tips for creating a stand out digital ad:

  • Set out your business goals: What are you trying to achieve with this campaign? Make sure your long- and short-term business goals are clear – are you trying to raise brand awareness? Address an issue? Increase engagement or drive sales?
  • Keep it topical: Be reactive to current events and keep an eye on the digital landscape.
  • Captivating visual: The image you select for your ad is critical. You don’t always have to be literal, so remember to think outside the box but ensure that it helps advance the story. Use the tools available to you - the more interactive the better.
  • Know your audience: One of the biggest advantages of digital advertising is how you can target your specific audience. Therefore the key to creating a successful digital ad campaign is showing it to the right people. this makes your marketing spend more efficient!
  • Powerful headline: Simply put, if your copy is boring, your ad will go unread. The online world has lots of distractions, so make sure you capture your readers’ attention.
  • Clear message: Avoid using too much text. Don’t overload the ad with every benefit and feature, stay focused on your main point and don’t take the readers off on a tangent.

I have put together some of my favourites that are great examples of how digital ads can drive attention and deliver important messages effectively:

Lloyds Banking Group

The bank’s priority was to demonstrate that it was still there for its customers during the pandemic, this campaign set out to deliver financial reassurance and emotional support by producing reactive and planned content that tied in with the national, local and customer news agenda.


The ride sharing’s #GratefulUK campaign set out to thank the hard-working NHS healthcare heroes during the pandemic, showing them love and appreciation by offering exclusive staff deals.


The car brand's content-driven media partnership 'The joy of firsts', showed how driving an electric Renault ZOE makes you feel the rush of getting behind the wheel for the first time.

In case you missed part one: how to make a great print ad, click here.


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