It used to be if you wanted to build your own ads online you were stuck writing boring text ads like Google AdWords or Zillow EZ ads.

Not any longer. AdReady is a self-service platform for marketers that’s aiming to change that. It lets you build out a targeted banner campaign in literally just a few minutes and a few clicks.

Basically it’s bringing Google Adwords-level simplicity to banner advertising. 

Using AdReady you start an ad campaign for your business using a library of ready-made creative, which includes a number of pre-existing ads in the real estate category. You can choose your base design based on the most successful CTRs (click through rates) or simply pick whichever design catches your fancy.

The site lets you customize the basic design; change background colors, modify text and upload new photos through a slick Flash interface. When you’re done customizing it applies your changes to a series of IAB standard banner ads.

Just like with Google Adwords, you’re then ready to customize your media buy by choosing the length of the campaign and pegging a dollar figure on how much you’re willing to spend.

When you’re ready to publish, AdReady places your ad on a number of sites through its relationships with third-party ad networks. While you don’t get to choose the exact sites you want to appear on, you can geo-target your ad to a particular area and/or pick certain categories of publishers on which you’d like it to appear.

AdReady just announced a deal to bring the service to the New York Times and it’s not too much of a stretch to see that more publishers will go down a similar route self-service to add new options to small advertisers (and presumably, offload some of their excess banner inventory).

The downside of course, is that your ads will be fairly generic. But nevertheless, it’s interesting to think how you could use AdReady’s platform to create a flexible advertising campaign really quickly and inexpensive. You could advertise your blog, your business and even your listings.

This is definitely a growing trend I’m seeing. Online tools like AdReady, widget builders like Sprout (see Sprout Lets You Build Single Property Widgets) and video tools like Spotmixer (see Video Advertising to Dominate Online Ads) all give you loads of room to get creative, on the cheap.

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