Banner ads part one: Winning banner ads are all about visual impact


Banner ads or web banners continue to be a successful advertising strategy. These types of ads rely on images more than text and can be a static image or multi-media creation like an animation. A clickable component drives viewers to your website. The key to success in creating a banner ad is to focus on the visuals.


Banner ads offer many benefits

You can leverage the power of banner ads to build your brand, increase brand recognition plus help grow your sales.

Generate traffic and leads

Banners send traffic to your website or landing page when a visitor clicks on them. This will grow your client base and your sales.

Move consumers further into your sales funnel

Turn a prospect into a warm lead, by directing them to sign up for your newsletter or try out your product.

Ensure no wasted spend

Price models vary in banner advertising and can get confusing. The two main options are CPP, which is cost per play (or display) and CPC, which is cost per click. CPC offers results-based pricing. This is a model that lets you easily assess your return on investment. The click-through rate (CTR) will show you how effective your ad is. This rate is the number of users who click on an ad divided by the number of times it is displayed (impressions). The higher the CTR, the better for you and your sales. Forget about impressions, clicks will drive your sales.


Office workers piece together big puzzle pieces

A clear business strategy is the first step in all advertising


Before creating your banner ad

Banner ads might be used for brand-building campaigns or click-through campaigns to generate sales. Online banners allow successful blending of both and these tend to be most successful. Know what your goal is so you can maximize the effectiveness of your banners. One key to the click-through campaign is that it needs to incite an emotional response from viewers, one that prompts them to take your desired action. Then they need to click through to a landing page that corresponds to the banner, for the viewer to clearly recognize that they’re in the right place.

Before developing your ad, you must determine a few things.

Get clear on your brand and unique selling proposition

What differentiates you from the crowd? What do you excel at? What sales are you driving in this ad? This data will inform your image, colors and your copy. If you have this solidified in your branding guide, have that at the ready to help you make efficient decisions.

Aim for your target audience and customer

Who do you want to attract? What do they need that you have? What problem can you solve for them? These answers will inform the specifics of the ad.

What action do you want your viewer to take?

Whether promoting your brand or just one specific product or service, know what you want viewers to do when they see your ad. Are you seeking leads? Are you offering a limited-time special on a particular product? You can’t hit a target you can’t see. Note: your banner ads should lead to a landing page, one that matches your banner. The problem with linking to your website home page is that it will leave your prospect having to hunt for the offer that the banner promised.


Expedia advertises the Caribbean at 10% off

Bold branded colors, simplicity and a call to action make banner ads a winning strategy


Five tips for a winning banner ad


1. Learn the ad specifications

There are standard sizes and specifications for banner ads, which will depend on what advertising platform you choose. Ad size is important to the impact you want it to have. An image will usually be required as a JPG, PNG or GIF. Make sure to check this information before designing your banner. You only want to create it once for any given publisher.

2. Choose fonts wisely

Forget the decorative fonts and keep it simple and legible. Many marketers feel that capitalizing calls to action, buttons, titles, etc. convert well. Caps might also be part of your brand, but be careful when using capital case because you don’t want viewers to feel yelled at. Avoid extreme fonts like cursive, cute or gothic unless that is part of your branding. Trendy fonts will fall out of fashion; it’s best to aim for simple, lean and legible. Sans serif fonts work best for online copy. Use the same font throughout the banner (logos are the exception). If you want to vary by size or formatting, be cautious and use variations sparingly. Work with your designer to zero in on the best font for your target.

3. Choose high-resolution, high-quality photos and images

These will look clear and professional, which will instill trust in your viewer, which will improve the odds that they will click on your ad.

4. Use your logo and brand colors

Continue to build brand recognition by using the opportunity to employ your colors and branding elements that include your logo, company name and URL. These items lend legitimacy to your ad and continue to build trust.

5. Stay simple and focused

Less can be more, especially in a banner ad. Crowded banners with too many images or too much text can confuse viewers because they don’t know where to focus. Make it easy for viewers to clearly see your message and take the action you want them to take. Try the squint test to see if you can read and understand the banner in a few seconds.

Now you know the theory behind creating a great banner ad. Join us for Part Two of this series and have a look at some banners we love.


  • Phillip Van Dyke on August 16, 2018

    Banner ads still work or we wouldn’t see them everywhere
    If it didn’t work Facebook, Google or most website would cease to exist.

    Love the blog post and how it’s written

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