One of the highest-performing types of ads on Internet websites is the humble banner ad. Although it may not be as flashy as video pre-roll ads, banner ads can be a great way to reach potential customers, build your brand and create conversions. After all, you’ve designed a great website built to support your fantastic product – why not tell the world about it? Banner ads give you the option of working with both images and text, and can be placed on nearly any website around the Internet.
Of course, making the decision to place a banner ad is half the battle. The other half is design. How your banner ad looks and feels could make or break your entire campaign. Fortunately, there are a few best practices that can help you get the gorgeous online advertising ads you’ve been dreaming of. Here are three tips to help you get started:
1. Learn the tricks of the trade.
Before you can create a great banner ad, you’ll first need to learn how to design one. Here are just a few of the elements you’ll want to consider when creating your banner ad:
Text – The right copy can take your ad from mundane to clickable. Writing a great headline, throwing in words like “free” or “sale” and adding in a call to action can all be important to creating conversion-friendly banner ads. Make sure your text is in a legible font in a readable size.
Graphics - A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? Make the most of your banner ad by creating great graphics. You can use free stock photos, take your own pictures or use graphic elements, just make sure your pictures work well within your ad. They should help call attention to your ad, as well as add information.
Placement - If you can, find out where your ad will be on the sites you’re thinking about advertising on. Knowing where your ad will be placed could help you design it. For example, you might choose different colors or fonts for your ad, depending on where it’s placed.
2. Plan your ad in advance.
Would you go on vacation without planning a destination? Never! Think about your banner ad in terms of a vacation: Before you hit the road, there are a lot of steps to consider. You need to decide where you’re going, who you’re going with and how you’re going to get there. With a banner ad, you need to decide where you’re sending your click-throughs, who you’re targeting and how you’ll get them to click.
Simple things like including a call to action and making sure that your banner appeals to your target audience can get you a long way. Remember, it’s not just about the click-through – you should decide what you want your audience to click-through to do. For example, if you’re offering a free ebook, that banner ad would look different than one trying to get people to purchase a product. When you know the purpose of your ad, you’ll be better able to plan it out.
3. Test, test, and test some more.
One of the most important steps to designing a banner ad is the testing process. Ads per click and other forms of banner advertising aren’t finished just because you knocked out one design. Try creating a few different versions with one element changed. For example, you could try changing your call to action or your graphics. Then, test them against each other.
A good rule of thumb when conducting testing is to place each banner ad on a site for a few days. Then, rotate them out. Repeat this process to ensure that your metrics aren’t site-based. You may find that you have a highest performing banner ad across every single site, or you may have a couple of good candidates. By testing, you can eliminate your weakest versions and roll out a full campaign using your strongest ads.
Remember, the best banner ad for your website might not be the prettiest one. In fact, you may not even like it all that much. But if it converts, it converts – when you’re designing and testing ads, don’t worry too much about how “pretty” it is. If your banner ad is bringing in click-throughs, then stick with it.