How to Develop Effective Online Banner Ads

By Brad Larabell
April 3, 2017

Effective Online Banner AdsA couple years ago, the term “integrated marketing” was all the buzz. Now, it’s nearly a must for all advertising and marketing campaigns. Since consumers are constantly moving between traditional and digital forms of media, your advertisements must follow them in order to ensure effectiveness. I’m sure you’ve seen this a lot, sometimes at exactly the same time. That’s awesome, because you’ve seen for yourself that integrating different forms of media in your campaign, to hit your customers in multiple touch points, is the key to being successful with your marketing.

Now, a less obvious question you may ask “should I be using the same ad creative across all media – both traditional and digital?” That’s a great question and it’s exactly why I’m writing this post on how to creative effective online banner ads.

It’s important to realize that today’s consumers are expecting each advertisement to be different, and it depends greatly on how the media is being consumed. And, you’ll want to give them what they’re expecting to maximize each ad’s effectiveness. Comparing a print ad or TV spot to a digital banner or search ad is simply shortsighted, because it doesn’t take into account the specific goals that the ads themselves are trying to achieve. Media channels aren’t one size fits all, and your creative can’t be either.

Most top-of-the-funnel interruptive forms of advertising (print, TV, radio) are awareness types of media that are either promoting a brand, or hoping to drive a visit to a website, event, or store location. Online banner ads can be very similar in that regard, acting as an online billboard to drive an action. Being interruptive in nature however, means that the ads are placed within content that the user actually wants to consume. Couple that with the fast-paced, multi-screened nature in which people use their computer or mobile device today, and you have a split second to capture their attention with your creative and messaging in your banner ad. That being said, in order to get a user to click on your ad and take a conversion action, it’s super important that you get your creative right. Banner ads can be extremely effective when done correctly.

So now you’re wondering “So what the heck do I have to do to make sure my ads are effective?” Rest easy, I’m getting there next.

  • Create Dynamic and Compelling Creative
    • Include a clear shot of the product or brand.
    • Use animation if possible to catch the attention of the user (HTML5 is preferred)
    • Use vibrant, but brand-centric art
    • Include a compelling headline that will capture attention
  • Get Right to the Point
    • Get the key points of difference, sales hook, or features across clearly using easy to understand language
    • Avoid the temptation to add additional copy like URLs, phone numbers, or addresses.
    • Avoid using animation and “slides” to add additional text – remember we’re trying to reach a short atten
      tion span user, so less is more!
  • Clarity Is a Must
    • Include a clear call to action (buttons work best)
    • Consistency is key across multiple sizes in both brand placement and secondary messaging
  • Test, Test, and Test Again
    • Make sure you are A/B testing different creatives to find out
      which drives the most interaction and conversion. It’s important to remember to limit the number of variables in your different versions, so you know what worked and what didn’t. The difference between testing and not testing can sometimes be a multi-million-dollar mistake.

The importance of including digital forms of marketing (including banner ads) cannot be understated. When done properly and optimized over time, it allows marketers to have concrete data to drive decisions about marketing. Are you looking for some additional strategic insight into your banner ads or marketing campaign? Contact one of our marketing experts today.