The Setting

During the summer of 2014, I worked as a Design and Advertising intern for Datadog, a software company based in Manhattan. I worked directly with the lead designer, VP of Marketing, and the co-founders to produce digital work for the company. While I worked on several projects during my time, my main focus was a redesign of their display advertising campaign.

Datadog is a SaaS-based monitoring and analytics platform, designed for IT and DevOps teams. Though Datadog’s not the only player in this space, with this campaign they decided to target teams who had yet to use any sort of monitoring or analytics service. By advertising on popular industry sites and blogs, they hoped to catch their target with a fresh, simple, and bold message that would introduce them to the brand.

The Challenge

Datadog’s strength lay in their ability to take something complicated and make it simple. This was accomplished by taking in raw data and providing clear and informative graphs and charts. Data visualization was their main selling point. Unfortunately for me, that’s not the easiest message to communicate in a 320x100 pixel rectangle on the side of an article. Without context, in this case a team’s unique data, the graphs becoming little more than decoration.

The other issue was the target’s lack of knowledge, both regarding the brand and the service they provide. That means the ad had to both sum up the service in ten words or less as well as highlight the brand and raise awareness.

The Approach

With the copy provided for me, I immediately began brainstorming. Should I focus on grabbing attention? How can I best emphasize the benefit of the software? What will someone remember if they only see this ad for a split-second?

The Final Product

From there, I started designing. The plan was to create several different concepts with the same message to be used for A/B testing. I did my best to stay true to Datadog’s existing branding, a solid purple behind the white “Bits” logo/mascots, while taking liberties where I saw fit. The final designs are featured below.

Out of all the concepts I developed, I think number six works the best. One, two, and four use a background graphic in an attempt to summarize the software. Not only is this inapparent to viewers, but it distracts from the message that sits on top of it. Five attempts to use iconography to represent the features and uses of the software, but don't do enough to explain or distinguish how Datadog separates itself from competitors. Three goes for a stripped down, simple approach. While this might look attractive in comparison to the other concepts, in practice it lacks the ability to grab attention.

With six, I was able to manipulate a screenshot that accomplishes a few goals. It's simple enough that it gives an accurate idea of what the software looks like and can do without dumbing things down for the medium. It's also positioned in the bottom right corner of the ad, loking as though there's more to be seen. There's a layer of intrigue added to the ad, prompting an interaction. That being said, if someone takes the time to examine the actual graph, it still logically makes sense.