Despite what the naysayers claim, display advertising continues to be one of the most popular medium for online promotions. According to one survey, display ads made up as much as 50% of the overall digital spending in 2017. However, there is no gainsaying the fact that a large number of banner ads go unnoticed either because of banner blindness or because of poorly designed ads. As a marketer, it is quintessential to understand what consumers want and design banners that they will be interested to engage with.

Two rules of banner ads

There are two factors to consider while designing a banner ad. Firstly, the ad needs to communicate your business proposition quite clearly. The average attention span of a visitor to a webpage is less than fifteen seconds. The time they take to view your ad is much lesser. Without a clear message, your banner ad could fail to serve its purpose.

Secondly, your banner ad should demonstrate credibility and trustworthiness. The average internet user is exposed to hundreds of promotional messages each day. Without sufficient credibility, they may fail to engage with your banner ad. It is for this reason that one must avoid distracting ads that beg for the viewers’ attention. In addition to losing credibility, you also run the risk of the user installing ad-blockers that prevent them from viewing any ads in future.

How to design a banner ad that works

Color: It has been nearly three decades since the first banner ads popped up on the internet. Despite how long it has been, marketers are still undecided on what kind of colors work for a banner ads.

While one section of marketers advocate colors that ‘blend in’ with the rest of the page, others advocate the use of colors that stand out in contrast. Ads that blend in tend to have lower click through rate, but have better conversions while the reverse is true for ads that stand out. More importantly, the answer to this question depends on your industry and what works for your particular brand.

All said and done, it is important to have your own brand colors integrated with the ads. This helps with better brand association which is critical over the long run.

Banner sizes: There is no one size fits all when it comes to banner sizes. Typically, it is recommended to stick with one of the several IAB approved ad sizes like 728px X 90px or 468px X 60px. In addition to this, you may also want to design banner ads that work well on social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. For instance, the largest vertical image you can use on Instagram is 1080px X 1350px while horizontal images are capped at 1080px X 566px. Banners work really well on social media platforms since they show up in the user’s timeline and are noticed a lot more than traditional display advertising. Using banner templates can be a quick and easy way to get the correct size and even colour that you are looking for in your advert.

Ad format: The format you use for your ads can make or break your conversions. Animated visuals work well on media-rich destinations like YouTube while modern WordPress blogs would handle HTML5 ads better. Ideally, you must build ads that can be quickly deployed across all these different formats.

You may invest in a service like Bannersnack that helps marketers create dozens of ads with just a click of a button. With Bannersnack, marketers may pick from hundreds of templates and create HTML5 animated banners that bring about a high level of engagement among viewers.

Call to action: This is by far the most important component of any banner ad. Without a Call-To-Action (CTA), your viewers may fail to convert. While CTAs like ‘Buy Now’ are extremely popular, it is worth pointing out that banner ads are often the first step in your sales and marketing cycle. The objective of your campaign may be to build a pipeline who may then be targeted with more ads or promotional messages. In such instances, it is important to make use of CTAs that demand far less commitment from the viewer. Some CTAs that have proven to be highly effective here include ‘Download free ebook’ and ‘Request a free call back’.

In the end, banner ads are only as effective as your overall marketing strategy. The success of your campaign depends on picking the right lead magnet and perfecting the best marketing cycle. Use split testing to measure the success of not just your banner ads, but every stage of customer conversion. This is the only way to ensure that your investments in banner advertising pays off.

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