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7th February 2019

Designing Banner Ads That Spark Engagement: A Checklist

minute read

The average internet user sees over 10,000 online banner ads per month. No wonder these colourful, clickable boxes have become such a vital advertising method for businesses of all sizes. Designing banner ads is a skill that you could do well to master if you want your business to grow.

With so many ads out there, if your goal is to raise awareness of your business and drive new customers to your website, your banner ads have to stand out visually and cohere to some basic design conventions.

For a winning digital campaign, follow these 6 guidelines for designing banner ads, and don’t forget to publish them where they’ll be seen by the kind of people you want as customers, your local news website for example.

1. Pick the right size

Banner ads come in many sizes, each one allowing you to do something different, whether it’s to expand on your messaging or make use of a particular visual. But not all sizes have the same impact in terms of generating those important clicks.

Luckily, Google AdSense have compiled this round-up of the most successful ad sizes. It shows that, on the whole, wider banners have better results thanks to their readability.

The most effective sizes are:

  1. 336x280px
  2. 300x250px
  3. 728x90px
  4. 300x600px
  5. 320x100px (on mobile)

2. Design your ad around 3 pieces of information

The best banner ads convey their message with just 3 vital bits of information: company name (logo), core message and a call to action (CTA).

Ensure that your unique branding jumps out at the viewer immediately with a prominent logo. Follow that up with a snappy description of what you’re offering (more on that in a second), and finish off with a CTA instructing the user to ‘learn more’ or ‘discover more’, or whatever you think will entice someone to click.

For best results, make sure your CTA is very prominent, possibly bolded and in a button.

3. Distil your messaging

There’s very little space to play with when designing banner ads, so you have to keep your message quick and to the point.

Pack the core selling point in tightly, sticking to simple language and as few words as possible. You should be able to do all this in 2 sentences.

4. Use distinctive imagery

Most digital ads are viewed for less than a second, so yours has to stand out.

Your background image and colour scheme must attract people’s attention right away. What you use is up to you - perhaps you want to go with human-led photography, or a maybe a custom-drawn cartoon.

Whatever you opt for, it’s got to distract people from scrolling for long enough to serve them your messaging.

5. Be consistent

We’d always recommend launching a series of different banner ads in varying sizes across the sites you’re publishing on.

This means that your range of ads should have a consistent design. Ideally, you should use a maximum of 2 typefaces and the same colour scheme and visuals across every ad.

No matter how nice you may think they’ll look, steer clear of cursive or overly elaborate fonts; instant readability is the name of the game.

6. Create a decent landing page

This is as much an element of an effective ad as the banner itself. Your ad needs to go somewhere when it’s clicked, and it should lead to a dedicated landing page. N.B. this is not the same as your homepage!

Your landing page is where you put all information that’s relevant to what your ads are promoting - for instance, a particular special offer should have its own dedicated landing page.

It’s also where you should include vital information like pricing, contact details or a sign-up form. Trying to fit all this on a banner ad will result in a cluttered, user-unfriendly ad that’s very unlikely to make a positive impression on viewers.

For a more in-depth understanding of landing pages, click here.

Online banners have become a popular and effective way to raise your profile, spread your brand message and entice customers with well-presented products and offers.

JPIMedia’s designers and digital experts can create beautiful ads for you to publish across our network of local news websites; a great way to raise interest in your business, and bring people to your door. Start your online advertising success story today.

Enjoyed this? Discover more about online advertising with these articles from our archives:

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