The Visual Spectrum of PPC Advertising

Paid Media Advertising

Display ads, Gmail campaigns, and landing pages allow PPC wizards (and their apprentices, if they are good) play with something other than language. The design concept chosen will gain more attention than the words on the page at first. Before you can get them to read it, they must see it. The correct color scheme will be the largest factor on whether they will notice your ad, in a positive way, or not.

A few tips to create the correct look for your campaign are:

display advertising goals

1. Know your goals.

What are your conversion goals? Is there a target audience?

2. Check out the competitions color palette.

Go to their web page. Decide if you want to stand out from them or follow the same palette.

3. Talk to your audience through color.

Certain colors will convey a certain idea in most cases. Here are a few of those colors

  • Red – Exciting, dangerous, or could give the idea of a sale/discount
  • Pink – Sweet, energetic, and usually catches the attention of young girls and women.
  • Orange – Friendly, tangy, or could remind people of caution… cones.
  • Yellow – Energetic, warm, cheerful.
  • Gold – Stable & Elegant (a.k.a. expensive)
  • Green – Alive, organic, and easy on the eyes.
  • Blue – Stable, logical, and can create a sense of trust and security.
  • Purple – Elegant, regal, and can give a sense of calm and soothing.
  • Black – Sophisticated, strong, and usually synonymous with expensiveness, and luxury products.
  • White – Pure, honest, and gives eyes a break from colors.
Analogous Colors
Analogous Colors
Shades of Colors
Shades of Colors


Color Tints
Color Tints
Triadic Colors
Triadic Colors


4. Choose 3 colors.

There are a few ways you can decide what colors to choose.

  • Analogous colors – three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel
  • Triadic – three colors that are evenly spaced from each other on the color wheel.
  • Shades – A different tinge of the color your chose. (Tip: Use this for ads/pages that target
  • men. Studies have shown men are drawn to this more).
  • Tints – A darker version of the color you chose. (Tip: Use this for ads/pages that target
  • women. Studies have shown women are drawn to this more).

I, personally, like to use the Adobe Color site. You can save, name, and share swatches with others. So, if I need to use that again I can easily access it.

5. Use the 60-30-10 rule.

Of the three colors you have chosen, one should be used for 60% of the things you are implementing. One should be used for 30% of the things you are implementing. The last should be used 10% of the time. I recommend using this color for the button.

6. Pay attention to the season.

Sometimes using the colors of a season for a seasonal promotion will catch your audience because they are looking for.

Neon Colors
Neon Colors

7. No neon backgrounds!

These colors are obnoxious to the eye and will draw attention in a negative way most of the time. Don’t believe me? Stare at the image for 5 seconds, if you can, and imagine attempting to read something on it. While physically you probably can, you most likely did not enjoy it. I would avoid them in general while making ads and landing pages.

twitter ad button

chevy ad button

8. Make the button stand out.

Using the same color as a header or other things on your display might make it blend in when it needs to stand out. The is what is happening to the bottom ad. The buttons do not stand out at all. If you are going to have more than one button on your display, make sure you call-to-action (CTA) button stands out the most. A good example of this is the top ad.

9. The button should have a CTA.

This is why knowing your goals will be helpful because you will know what the best CTA will be for your button. Do your best to AVOID having a button with “Submit,” because, unless they are becoming your minion, they probably are less likely to know what to click it. These are some of the best tips to make sure your display will be relevant, simple, and work well with your campaign.

Comment below if you have any other useful tips!

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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