Seven Steps to Designing Ideal Banner Advertisements

There are plenty of places to study how to best do basic advertising displays so that you attract customers and not put them off. While you could take entire courses around this idea, we have compiled a list of the most basic and best ways to showcase your business to others and thus bring in the traffic.

But wait! Before you start going through this checklist, make sure that you have a platform set up in which to test your advertisement or else you won’t know what you’re looking at. Adobe or Dreamweaver are good programs to use, if you have access to them. Many sites such as WordPress that you could be using also let you display your potential ads in a viewing test platform before going live.

1. Size Counts

There are several advertisement sizes to consider when creating one. These sizes are best because they don’t take up a whole web page, they don’t slow down loading time of your host site, and they are eye catching without being dominating:

  • 300 x 250
  • 728 x 90
  • 160 x 600
  • 180 x 150
  • 468 x 60

One of the best ones-assuming you can pull it off-is the 120×600 skyscraper ad. They may not get as many impressions as other ads, but they are easy to fit in and look nice, so long as your initial image fits properly. The other very good one is the 300 x 250 or the more traditional rectangle which technically has the most impressions, but aren’t as easy to fit in your site nicely and are also often ignored, making it imperative to make your ad clear and eye-catching. It’s up to you which to go for or to go for both! Image sizes should never be any larger than 50KB no matter what shape it’s in. Any larger than that and you could cause loading issues and no site will host you.

2. An Obvious (But Not Overbearing) Encouragement to Click

Known as a ‘call to action’, your ads should entice people to click on them and thus be redirected to your site from wherever they were. These requests should be: visible, encourage a click and be brief. You don’t want your ad to be, well, one big text ad! Common calls to action are buttons with the words Click Here or Come In or something along those lines. Generally speaking, calls to action are at the bottom of the ad so that the viewer’s eyes can go through the image and any other text, be intrigued, and then click on your link.

It’s actually not the ‘Click Here’ that should be your Call to Action; it should be the advertisement in its entirety. The click here at the end is just the way for the now excited (or at least curious) web browser to reach you with ease.

3. A Wide Audience

The wider your audience happens to be, the better. You should never build an ad with one group of people in mind; instead, build with several and cast your net. You will be surprised at where your traffic may come in from. Even something as relatively narrow as children’s games may entice teachers, educators, special needs educators, parents, grandparents, guardians… Well, you get the idea!

4. Give Your Ads Time

As designers, writers, and advertisers, we can be terrible perfectionists. That first run of ads is nail biting and don’t be surprised if in the first day, you discover something wrong that you simply MUST FIX RIGHT NOW!

Stop, take a deep breath and let it go. You should always let your ads run for a while before making any changes. This is because you can then compare the old ad with the new one to see which is performing best. A month or two is best.

5. Design: KISS (Keep it Simple Silly)

My sister hates ads that are convoluted, twisty, constantly moving and shuffle around. I do too; they slow loading time, are exasperating, and generally the message is lost in the ‘AAARGH!’ factor of dealing with it.

Your advertisement should be simple. A good headline/question, your logo, a product shot (if you like) and a vibrant color scheme that stands out without being overbearing and will match your product or services. Gimmicks such as roll over or dancing monkeys may be fun, but you’ll probably irritate your potential traffic more than entice them.

6. The Goals of Your Advertisement

All advertisements have one of two goals:

1. To Convert: You have changed a random web browser into a potential customer by enticing them to come to your website.

2. To be Remembered: If the web browser doesn’t click on it, the ad should at least be something he or she enjoyed and will remember. After all, today’s web browser may be tomorrow’s customer if the ad is recalled later. Furthermore, if you do the very best job you can at this, you can build your brand up around your successful advertisements, tying the two together beautifully and making them highly memorable.

7. Bring Customers In

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you may be surprised to learn how many people botch this up. Make sure that your advertisement takes your customers to the correct landing page, not to something random. If you are advertising your Brand New Coffee Mug, make sure your ad actually goes to said coffee mug and not to tins of tea and cookies. Remember: you only have seconds to covert someone into a customer. Don’t waste that time by having your ad go to the wrong place and thus have your customer leave!

This may seem all a bit overwhelming, and it can be. Advertising is a touchy business and it takes a light hand to pull off the right combination of intriguing and obvious with enjoyable. You may have to play around for a while to get the right ads, but once you have them and they are performing well, you can generally set them and forget them, which gives you time for more projects.  In the meantime though, enjoy working on your advertisements as they can be great way to let off some creative steam.