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Dean Marsden

How To Make Your Business Stand Out With Epic Banner Adverts

8th May 2014 Paid Search, Display Advertising | 2 Comments


Piccadilly Circus Banner Advertising has captured website user’s attention for many, many years. Where other online advertising platforms have changed with different implementations, the traditional banner advert has remained a standard that doesn’t get old. If you’re new to this platform, check out how to make your adverts stand out.

We’re used to seeing graphic designed adverts in the papers and animated video commercials on the TV, so the combination of imagery and animation is a good option for capturing online users’ attention.

Banner advertising makes people aware of things that they might miss otherwise. Imagery is a powerful medium. 39% of people clicked on a banner advert because:

  1. It showed a product they were already interested in.
  2. It sparked their interest in a product they hadn’t previously considered.

Relevant adverts are great way to send traffic from one page to another. 60% of LinkedIn users have clicked on an ad on the site.

Many studies claim users are becoming blind to the traditional banner advert, but in my opinion, cleverly designed, relevant banner adverts will capture a user’s interest and click.

Of course there will be instances where banner advertising doesn’t work for everyone, but a business should carefully look at what they want to achieve.

Getting Started

The first steps into banner advertising, as with most other online marketing, is to decide on what goals you want to achieve:

  • Brand exposure
  • Capture clicks and website traffic
  • Generate directly attributed sales
  • Form submissions and enquiries

Your type of goal will help you decide what your banner advertising message will be. It is important to note that banner adverts come in all different sizes and your messaging may vary according to the screen space you have available.

If you’re looking to boost your brand image, then making sure your logo and slogan are a part of the advert is key. If product sales are key then make sure a clear visual of the product name, image and price are included.

Capturing traffic and enquiries will require you to be very creative in your copy and design, to capture attention and encourage a click through. Find some examples here and here.

Banner Creation

Sizes

When designing your banner adverts you have to consider the many different banner sizes you could create. Below is a list of the most popular sizes (which make up around 80% of all ad impressions), but it’s important to consider creating banners in more sizes.

  • Medium Rectangle – 300px by 250px – Example
  • Large Rectangle – 336px by 280px – Example
  • Leaderboard – 728px by 90px – Example
  • Wide Skyscraper – 160px – 600px – Example

AIB standard banner sizes

Designing

You don’t need to be a skilled designer or know how to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Flash to be able to create a banner design. Firstly, Google offers templates in their AdWords Display Ad Builder tool in which you can easily modify existing examples of banner adverts to match your branding. Watch a demo of how this tool works.

If you feel a bit restricted using Google’s banner advert templates, you should explore using Google’s free desktop computer software, Google Website Designer. It allows having full creative control over your banners, even animate them as you wish.

Google web designer

File Formats

For your banner adverts to show, you’ll need to export them into the supported formats. Which format you use will depend if you have static, animated or interactive banner adverts. The typical ad formats are:

  • .JPEG
  • .JPG
  • .PNG
  • .GIF
  • .SWF (Flash)

Find a full list of the supported formats in Google’s Image Ads help page.

Advertising Policies

As with standard text advertising, there exist a number of policies preventing what you can advertise. For banner adverts specifically, there are additional policies that prevent banners from deceiving users to click them. Here are some examples of these policies:

  • Graphical layout – you must use the banner advert space fully. Do not split the space into advertising two different things.
  • Relevance and Quality – Text and images should be fully legible and readable.
  • Strobing and flashing – Don’t make your banner flash repeatedly to grab people’s attention.
  • Mimicking site content – Designing the advert to look just like the site on which it will be shown can deceive users and is not allowed.
  • Trick to click – This is where you use any method to trick the person into clicking your advert which is not related to your brand or product/service. This includes, computer or virus warnings, designs mimicking computer operating systems. It also includes animating mouse clicks or actions.

More can be found on the Image Ads Help page.

Creating Campaigns in AdWords

The final step is to setup advertising campaigns so that your banner advertising can go live and appear across the web.

This will involve using Google AdWords to setup a Display advertising campaign. A full guide on this can be found in our Step by Step Guide.

The important parts for banner advertising are to choose your audience. Where do you want your banner adverts to show? If you have a type of website in mind, then you can set the targeting by topic.

If you have specific websites in mind, you can first check they show banner adverts from Google’s network. For this you can use Google’s Display Planner. Just enter the URL of your chosen site or a specific webpage. The results will show which ad formats are supported, the typical Cost per Click (CPC) and how many visits (or cookies) the site receives.

Once you have completed the setup, be aware of any disapproved adverts and fix any issues identified by the Google AdWords system.

Advanced Banner Advertising

Setting live your banner adverts and waiting for traffic or conversions isn’t the end of the process. There is much more you can be doing to improve your targeting and results:

Split testing

This involves constantly creating new advert variations and testing them against previous ones for a set time to explore what users engage with the most. It’s an iterative process which means you’ll always be getting the most from your banner advertising spend.

Campaign Optimisation

Regular maintenance of you display campaigns will help reduce advertising budget wastage. Checking bids, the types of sites your advert was shown on, the times of the day and geographical locations of your audience helps you target specific areas that don’t convert and increase priority for those that do.

Remarketing

Remarketing is a method of utilising banner advertising to show adverts only to visitors that have previously engaged with your website or social profile. This means you can customise banner advert content to match these users’ knowledge and behaviour.

Advert Types

Banner adverts needn’t stop with images and animations, It’s possible to have live product feeds with prices shown and full video streaming. There are many possibilities as technology improves.

Social Platforms

Websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn have their own banner style advertising platforms. These sites have huge numbers of users and it’s possible to refine targeting to many unique demographics.

Summary

Banner advertising is a classic performing medium in which you can creatively drive more traffic and conversions to your website, but also increase brand awareness for not much cost.

Utilise its options well and you’ll be delivering on your goal for not much spend. However, be aware if you don’t create great campaigns you can waste those impressions and see little return. If you’d like more information, our Display Advertising page details how Koozai can help get your adverts seen. Alternatively, get in touch and speak to a specialist today.

Creating the best banner advertising campaigns can take some testing but once you’re achieving your goals you can be happy users are interested in what you have to offer.

Image Credits

Illuminated signs in Piccadilly Circus image courtesy of Bigstock

Banner Sizes from Wikipedia

Web Designer Screenshot from Google Web Designer

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Dean Marsden About the author

Dean Marsden

Dean Marsden will be keeping you up to speed with video marketing and conversion rate optimisation. Dean excels at delivering video marketing solutions for clients and specialises in converting website visitors into customers.

Google Display Network Remarketing

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