An advertisement plane pulling a banner ad (no...
Image via Wikipedia

A banner ad looks like it’s a pretty simple thing to make when you’re looking at it online.

After all, it’s just a little block with some colors and some words in it. This is something that makes a quick impression with a customer and then the customer clicks on the ad to find out more and to be directed to a new website.

But things are a little trickier than this. You need to keep in mind the rules of ads before you get started and then you need to realize that the rules can change, depending on where the ads are, what they are, etc.

With banner ads, the dimensions are standardized, which helps to make one size the standard area in which you can create an advertisement. However, with that in mind, those who publish the advertisements can change up the dimensions and the content regulations if they want to.
You’ve probably already noticed those advertisements that can take up a lot of space more than just a traditional ad – that’s because the advertiser has an agreement with the publisher.

What is the anatomy of a banner ad?

Some newspapers which are posting stories online like to have larger ads which need to be clicked away, while other sites might only include the smaller top and bottom banner advertisements, as those are the rules they’ve chosen to follow.

Again, like an advertisements, you will want to look into the different publishers to see what they are looking for so that you can create a banner ad within their recommendations.


A banner advertisement is a piece of marketing which seems to be pretty straightforward. You have a certain space in which to convince a person to click the link.
Banner ads fall into the category of display ads. These are advertisements that fall within a certain range of sizes.

Here are some example sizes:

  • 728 x 90
  • 300 x 250
  • 160 x 600

Depending again on the publisher and available space, you can increase or decrease your ad space. This can help you to get more noticed than you might in other ways.

Even if you were just creating a small text ad, the words you use in your banner ad matter more than you might realize. Many times, a new advertiser thinks they need to shock the viewer or focus on images to help the reader be ‘tricked’ into clicking.

People don’t like to be tricked, but it’s good and appropriate to create attention. Think about AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action).

What they do want from a banner ad is this:

  • To find out about the product or service.
  • To find out what makes the product special.
  • How they need to act in order to get the offer.

You don’t want to confuse your customers when they see your banner ad. They should know exactly why they should look at your ad and why they should take action. When you make things unclear, you will create confusion and a banner advertisement that doesn’t get the response you expected it might.

Here are some tips you need to keep in mind when creating a banner ad:

The banner of AD-Coligação
Image via Wikipedia

Make your message brief
Though you need to include words and explanations, this doesn’t mean you need to include every single detail about your product and why it’s so amazing. Remember that people on the Internet don’t want to spend more than a few moments looking at an ad. Choose the most effective words for your advertisement – and only those words – to ensure your customers know what you’re offering and why it’s important they click. There is the idea of banner blindness, so your ad will only receive a quick glimpse.

Create a call to action
A basic technique in sales is to put a little pressure on the person who is looking at the advertisement. Include something like a ‘Call Now’ or ‘Click Here in The Next Five Minutes’ to make sure the person viewing the ad takes action. Using a time limit, a quantity limit, or an emotional appeal will help to pull people into your advertisement more often. Scarcity works.

Give people a reason
When someone sees your banner ad, they need to have a reason to click on your advertisement. This is why you see so many freebies on the banner ads. If you’re offering something they might want, they will need to click on the ad to get that item. Give people a reason to click and they will.

Make sure the directions are clear
There’s nothing more frustrating than a banner ad that isn’t clear about what you need to do in order to use it. Make sure it’s clear where the viewer needs to click and then they will be able to generate the traffic (and hopefully the sales) you want to see for your investment. Make it consistent through to the landing page as well.

Know your niche
If your banner ad isn’t addressing the population you want to address, it’s not going to be successful. You need to make sure your ad has been written with your main market in mind. A “hope – and – pray” marketing (spray and pray) will not work. Think about the targeting first.

this ad was very close to advertising central
Image by incendiarymind via Flickr

Think about rich media techniques
If you want to get noticed more often, you might want to think about using flash animation and other such devices. Some people will tell you these are gimmicky and that they might be a little annoying, but in a screen that’s filled with words, sometimes you need to do more in order to get more results.

Make sure your URL is included
The banner ad itself should include the URL of your site or it can be in the text, whenever possible. This will drive up numbers on your site and it will help to improve your ROI.

Following these rules alone is enough to increase your banner ad effectiveness, even without a re-marketing plan in place.

As with anything online, it must be tested. You can and should use URL and click tracking to find the best performing advertisements for your business.


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Entrepreneur Magazine says Jon Rognerud is one of the most sought-after Digital Marketing Experts. His clients extend from high-end brands and middle-tier businesses in both B2B and B2C. His SEO website optimization book, "The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website" from Entrepreneur Press is in bookstores now.