How To Design Great Banner Ads

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How to design great banner ads

When creating an advertising campaign, a surprising number of people don’t think of using their own experiences to avoid some common pitfalls. But thinking about how you react to different adverts is a great way of measuring how your audience might respond.

Banner ads are still a popular form of online marketing and a great way for businesses in Harrogate to promote themselves. Your graphic design team will be able to offer you some great ideas, but it will make their job easier if you keep the following tips in mind too – if you overrule their advice, it could be the difference between an ad that works and one that doesn’t.

Standard sizes are good

It’s not a case of one-size-fits-all when it comes to banner advertising, and you’ll have to work with a website’s specifications. The good news is that most of them use common measurements.

Google AdWords says wider ads tend to perform better than taller ones, which may be because we naturally read from left to right, or because it means you don’t have to scroll.

If your designer recommends a particular size, go with it. They will also ensure your ad is saved in a size and format that works properly.

Three golden elements

Each banner ad should include your message, branding, and a reason to click on it – preferably in that order. You don’t want every element screaming out for equal attention.

Your message is the most important, but keep it succinct –  you don’t want to overcrowd the space. Your logo only needs to be readable, not huge. Then finish up with the reason to click.

The design should guide the user through the advert, which is why using a professional service is so important – they know what works and what doesn’t.

Be clear with your message

Don’t try and fit multiple messages into a single ad – it will confuse the user. It’s better to stick to one theme within each advert.

Make sure that any moving elements such as animated GIFs enhance your message rather than distract viewers. Simple animation is great, but it just needs to catch the eye and make someone look twice – it shouldn’t be the main focal point.

Keep the destination in mind

Where will your banner ad be displayed? You might not have much control over placement on Google, but if your ad is for a specific website or e-newsletter then you – and your graphic designer – should look at this before you start.

You want colours and fonts that will stand out to give maximum impact, but don’t get too ‘busy’ – especially in a small space. Two fonts is usually enough – something that’s bold or unusual for the headline, and a simpler one for the rest. Above all, they should be easy to read.

The call to action

Viewers need to know what to do next – sign up for your email list, visit your website, ‘like’ your Facebook page? Most people know they can click on adverts, but make it obvious and include a call-to-action button as a visual cue. A simple ‘Find out more’ or ‘Buy here’ can make a big difference to conversion rates.

Copy is key

There’s not much room for words on most banner ads, so use your space wisely. You need to create a message that sells in just a few words. Asking a question or creating a ‘tease’ to attract attention both work well, but if writing isn’t your forte then use a professional copywriter.

Keep images strong

Tight images and detail shots will make the most of the space on a banner advert. Faces are good, as are single items. Because viewers have such a short time to understand your message, don’t do anything too clever to combine your image with the text.

Stay on brand

It should go without saying, but your banner ads need to support your brand and should be visually consistent with the rest of your marketing. This may present some challenges, but it’s important. You might need to get a bit creative to make it work, but that’s fine – it’s what your graphic designer is there for!

Link properly

Isn’t it irritating when you click on a banner ad for a product you want to buy and it takes you to the retailer’s homepage? Why doesn’t it go to the page for that particular item?

It might mean a bit more work, but make sure your landing pages relate directly to your adverts. Users don’t like to feel tricked or lost after they click.

Keep your banner ads simple and you’re already on the way to a winning campaign. Uncomplicated and strong is good – one image, one message, one call-to-action, one logo. Keep it simple and your adverts are more likely to attract attention and clicks – and business.


Need Graphic Design help creating your own banner ads? Why not give us a call? 01423 857900