Analytics and data have made it easier than ever to target and reach highly-qualified customers online and digital advertisers are reaping the benefits. In today’s market, many types of digital ads are being served, but banner ads continue to be the most popular because they are affordable, measurable and effective in increasing brand awareness.
Yet, you can have all the data in the world working for you, but if you don’t have a good ad, you will never get results. To make your impressions matter you must gain your viewers’ attention immediately and be convincing enough to make them engage. Consumers only click-through ads that are well-crafted and compelling.
How can marketers create banner ads that consumers want to engage with? First, let’s look at the specifics of a banner ad.
What is a banner ad?
A banner ad is a digitally embedded advertisement that appears somewhere on a webpage. Banner ads can range in size and shape, which allows advertisers to design for what suits them. Equally, most publishers can accept advertisements from anyone who can produce an ad that meets their webpage requirements.
Size and Shapes
With banner ads, you can easily control the size of your ad to serve your purposes. Some ads will work well as vertical sidebars, while others will look nice as a long, thin leaderboard. It’s up to you to choose a shape that fits your messaging.
However, some shapes are more effective in reaching audiences than others. According to a study by GoogleAdSense, the most effective banner sizes are:
- 728×90px — Leaderboard
- 300×600px — Half Page
- 300×250px — Medium Rectangle
- 336×280px — Large Rectangle
Creating Banner Ads That Convert
Smart marketers know that creatives need to adhere to general guidelines and good psychology if they’re going to make an impact. From CTA’s to color schemes, the design, content and strategy of your banner ad will dictate how well your impressions convert.
To craft creatives that convert, your design needs to be stellar. Designing digital ads can be overwhelming because an unlimited amount of customizations can be made. Due to the nature of web browsing, there are some best practices you can work with when designing digital ads.
- Keep it Simple: In the case of digital ads, less is more. Keeping it simple will help viewers understand your ad quickly. On the web, this is important because you have only about four seconds to convert consumers.
- Use Awesome Graphics: Nineteen percent of people said they would be more interested in ads if they had stunning graphics. Using beautiful pictures and/or animations will catch people’s attention long enough for you to give them the information they need. Research shows using pictures also increases memory from 10% to 65%.
- Animate When Possible: Ads that include animation usually outperform static ads. However, if you include animation, don’t make it longer than 15 seconds and make sure it only loops a maximum of three times.
- Know Your Colors: The psychology of colors is important in creating banner ads. Different colors bring about different emotions in viewers across the globe. Knowing your target market and the associations they have about colors will help you choose the correct color scheme for your purpose.
- Always Include Your Logo: Including your company logo and making it obvious are essential steps in crafting creatives that convert. Your brand logo should be one of the first things a viewer sees. Even if they don’t click on the ad, you are building brand awareness and consideration.
- Leverage Contrasting Colors or Images: Contrast grabs people’s attention. Whether using contrasting colors for your headline and sub-headling or leveraging images that show massive change, you can utilize this psychology to influence your viewers’ decisions.
As the Neilson Norman Group first revealed in 2006, most viewers only scan webpages, often in an ‘F’ shaped pattern. This means you must direct your viewer’s attention accordingly. The content of your banner ads must be easily readable, concise and compelling. Pick what you want to include on your ad strategically. As the goal of your ad is to get people to click on it, sometimes what you don’t say on your ad is just as important as what you do say.
- Limit the Amount of Text: Again, less is more in the case of digital banner ads. Ads that have a headline and a sub-headline of about 10 words and under four lines are ideal, so consumers can read your ad instantly. It’s best not to include all the information about a product in an ad, but rather include text that will intrigue consumers so that they want to learn more. If consumers have all the info right on the ad, they have no need to click-through.
- Readable text: The text on your ads should be instantly readable. Your headline and sub-headline should be different fonts or sizes and you should use a font that’s easily readable and not too thin.
- Highlight Value-Propositions: Your value-propositions should be the first thing that people see when they see your ad. Tell them why they should care, right away. This can be things like, “Positions available for highly qualified nurses” or “The future of early cancer screening.”
- Use Clear Call-to-Actions: You have to tell people what you want them to do. Things like “Get a free sample today,” “See Results” and “Read FDA approved study” are all call-to-actions that could be seen in an ad directed at healthcare professionals. Not only should the call-to-action wording be persuasive, but the button itself should also be clearly clickable.
Along with good design and content, having a strategy to boost click-through rates is essential in crafting creatives that convert. Depending on the nature of your brand and what your ad is for, you may be able to use one or a mix of these strategies to drive clicks.
- Place Your Ad Where it Will Be Seen: Consumers move quickly through webpages. Unless something has caught their attention, they will most likely stay for less than 15 seconds. For this reason, it’s important to place your ads in a position consumers will see immediately. Above the fold of the page and close to the main content is the best.
- Ignite a Sense of Urgency: Good creatives spur a sense of urgency. In order to make conversions, you need to appeal to the survival part of your potential costumer’s brain and show them that their current position is potentially ‘dangerous.’ Context is one of the most powerful ways to do this. Show in your ad that your consumers won’t be able to hit their goals without action.
- Do Something New: Neuroscience shows that new things keep our brain engaged and attentive. If you can show your viewer something they haven’t seen before or make a connection they haven’t considered, you will have their attention.
- Use Emotion: “Emotion drives attention,” says Robert Sylwester in his book, A Celebration of Neurons. Appealing to a potential consumer’s emotional side is a strong strategy to gain attention and increase click-throughs. If you can make someone feel, they will be interested in what you have to say.
- Stay Consistent: The landing page for your ad should be consistent with the ad itself. It should guide them further into the story of your ad and answer any questions the consumer may have after seeing your ad.
- Get There Fast: The bigger the file size, the longer your ad will take to load. When you have under four seconds to catch the attention of a potential target, load times are crucial. The best file size is under 150kb.
The Best Ad Can Always Be Better
After crafting your creative using best practices and sound strategy, it’s essential to A/B test design elements and content. The data you gain from A/B tests should direct the future of your campaign strategies because it’s first-party data that are particular to your audience, rather than stats taken from the global marketplace at large. Every ad you run is an opportunity to fine-tune your strategy with A/B testing.
By combining strong design, content and strategy with reliable first-party data, you can run a successful ad campaign with high click-through-rates and impressive conversions. Tracking and scaling your efforts will result in higher ROIs and more effective campaigns. If you don’t have the capacity to navigate all the elements of a digital campaign independently, collaborating a third-party advertising solutions partner can help.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to learn more about how we can help you plan, place and track your next banner ad campaign.