When you’re online and browsing you’ve probably encountered a banner advertisement or two. These typically come in the form of a prominent image on the page, although the exact size, positioning and content can differ drastically. There’s more to creating a banner ad than just opening up a new Photoshop canvas and throwing together some pictures though. In this article, we’re going to take a look at banner advertising and investigate just what creating a strong ad is all about. Banner ads are one of the principle forms of advertising on the web today and, for many sites, a fundamental source of revenue. The concept is simple: site owners offer up space in their design for an advertiser to fill with a banner ad in return for a fee. Much like any form of advertising, however, the success of a given campaign can be easily ruined by a bad design.

Size, Standardization and Specification

If you already know where your ad’s going to be shown and understand the sizing of that space, that’s great but, if not, limiting yourself to the IAB-endorsed sizes ensures you the best chance of compatibility when you find a space. However, the IAB’s guidelines go beyond just the size of the ad. The Bureau also publishes guidelines on specifications such as maximum video frame rate, the limit of the Z-Index of the unit and file size. These are just guidelines, but trying to stick to them is a good practice that ensures your ad is as technically efficient as it will be aesthetically. We’ll look at a few of these concerns later in the article. For all banner ads sizes click  here. 

Clear, Attention Grabbing Copy and Images

When a user comes into contact with your ad, the chances are they didn’t come looking for it. Instead, they’re here to see some other piece of content and your ad is just there. Since users aren’t looking for what’s in your ad, grabbing their attention with a combination of images and clear copy is key.

Design Unity

Just as a website should have unity between the individual pages that it’s made up of, an ad should be visually relevant to the site it takes you to. Clicking through to reveal a website with little to no visual relationship with the original ad seriously degrades the user’s experience and will likely throw most users off the process. Your ad should use similar, ideally identical, colors, images and typography so the user’s partially accustomed to your site before they’ve even visited. You wouldn’t expect a Coca-Cola ad to be made up in Pepsi blue, so mimicking key designing decisions of the target in your ad is important to keeping users on track, not allowing them to drop off when they wonder where they’ve ended up.

Animate CC

I would recommend Animate CC for web banners. You can even include ad network specific code within them. Buy animate CC here.