Banner ads are just what they sound like – a digital advertisement that resembles a banner and promotes the company name, logo, and call to action. These clickable ads drive viewers to a website or landing page. There are various networks where these ads are displayed, most familiar of which is the Google AdWords Display network.
An article by technology website, Recode, eMarketer wrote this about digital ads outpacing TV ads:
“Digital ad spending reached $209 billion worldwide — 41 percent of the market — in 2017, while TV brought in $178 billion — 35 percent of the market — in 2017. That’s according to Magna, the research arm of media buying firm IPG Mediabrands.
Next year, Magna expects digital ad spending to grow by 13 percent to $237 billion, while TV ads will grow 2.5 percent to $183 billion.
By 2020, Magna expects digital ads to make up 50 percent of all ad spending.”
When designed well, banner ads can make a direct impact on a business’ conversion rate and ultimately its bottom line. With intentional and creative design, good banner ads send website traffic – and potentially sales – through the roof. But, on the flip side, poorly designed banner ads are generally regarded as spam and are ignored, or even worse, damaging to a brand.
What Makes a Good Banner Ad?
There are three requisite components:
- Company Name/Logo
- This should be a no-brainer. Include your company name or logo in your banner ads, so that viewers immediately know who’s behind it. It should be easily readable and stand out from the background.
- Unique Offering
- Why did you make this banner ad? Your unique offering is why…the world needs to know what you’re offering them, so pitch it, but make it succinct and not salesy. For example, an esteemed Central Texas deck builder could write, “5-star Texas-sized decks, just in time for summer. Save 50% in May.”
- Call-to-Action (CTA)
- And, finally, the CTA is what you want your readers to do. Do you want them to call you? Fill out a lead capture form? Send you a message? Visit your website? Turn your CTA into a 2-3 word “command” and put it on a button (Call Now, Sign Up, Learn More, Contact Us, etc), such that clicking the button helps them make the action happen. If you want them to call you, the button can even be designed to automatically dial your number. Or, if you want them to fill out a form, link the button to a landing page.
For example, a custom homebuilder might include their logo, a headline of “Free appliance upgrade with new home purchases. Today only!” and then follow up with a CTA button of “Call Now,” which would then take the viewer to a landing page with a phone number and lead capture form. But, just seeing a blob of text on a plain white rectangle wouldn’t compel many people to pick up the phone. Typically, good banner ads include images, colors and the use of empty space. The images should be high quality, the colors eye-catching, and everything spaced such that it’s easy, and quick, to read.
The following are some examples of effective banner ads that employ the above tips:
The above example would be considered a “static banner ad”, however, each could be converted to animated banner ads to make them more impactful and eye-catching. Animated banner ads have the same purpose of static banner ads – to grab the reader’s attention – but might use more than one image, or even a GIF, to give the impression of motion or action within the ad.
Retargeting with Banner Ads
Banner ads can also be used for retargeting, which means that if someone comes on your website without taking any action, your banner ad can retarget them, aka “follow” them around the internet, and pop up on sites they visit, therefore reminding them of your company and offering.
For example, let’s say someone is browsing their local news website and it’s the middle of summer and 100 degrees. They’re hot and cranky. When your banner ad shows a refreshing swimming pool and an offering for 50% off new pool purchases over the July 4th weekend pops up, they quickly click through to your custom swimming pool website.
They spend a few minutes looking at your previous pool installations and reading your customer reviews, but they don’t pick up the phone to call for a quote. They’ve decided to think about it some more and talk to their spouse. They leave your site and start searching for last minute flight deals, because maybe they just need a break from the heat???
This is where retargeting comes in – since they’ve already clicked on your ad and visited your site, the ad is now “following” them as they browse on other sites. As they’re scrolling through flight deals, they notice that same refreshing swimming pool pop up in the left sidebar and it makes them pause a minute – wow, that really DOES look nice. This time they click on the ad and give you a call, because that 50% off deal sounds great and they want to know when construction can get started. Success! Your custom pool business just used retargeting to gain a new lead, and not just any lead, but a warm lead ready to purchase.
Measuring Banner Ad Effectiveness
Banner ads are popular digital advertising tools because their effectiveness can easily be measured via their click-through rate (CTR) and actual conversions that occur on the website. CTR is calculated by dividing the number of users who clicked on the ad by the number of times the ad was displayed (impressions). For example, if your ad is seen 100 unique times (impressions), but only 22 people click on it, then that means your ad had a CTR of 22%. The higher the CTR, the more effective the banner ad.
Wrapping it All Up
Banner ads can deliver an uptick in traffic to your website or boost the number of times your phone rings, but it depends on how you design them and where you place them. The components are simple, but making them all work together to grab someone’s attention is a little more nuanced. However, when done right, banner ads can deliver new leads, grow brand awareness and provide a measurable form of digital advertising. If it all seems a little overwhelming, don’t worry, just give us a shout and we’d be happy to walk you through the process and share some of our success tips.