Banners have not lost their importance in today’s world of design. Take for example the Google Content Network, if you are on it, but aren’t using banner ads, you are certainly missing out on a lot. The main reason why banners are still important though is that they work! You can outperform a text ad with a banner any given day, especially in places similar to Google’s Content Network.
They are and always will be one of the most important parts of an advertising campaign. But remember, a banner that looks pretty is not always a great banner in the true sense of the term.
An efficient banner is one that generate clicks. If a banner has a high CTR (Click Through Ratio), it obviously means that it is performing well. Some of the basic rules of creating a banner are as follows:
1. Know the proper placement
When it comes to creating a good banner, it is very important to first figure out the right place where the banner will be displayed. This is actually not as easy as it sounds.
If you are working on AdWords, then the banner you create will be automatically displayed in a large number of locations on different websites on the Internet. The key problem here is that you will not have a clue on which ones they are displayed. You can of course look up the reports later on, but that is much later and not that helpful.
Therefore, examine the various possible locations of the banner and decide carefully.
2. Good copy is bound to sell
Yes, it is a banner and not a textual advertisement, but still, to make it effective good copy has to be used. A few tips will come in handy here, for example, the headline needs to be spot on and inspirational. It needs to urge the viewer to read on. The better the headline, the more successful the ad will be. You can use some other already successful headlines as inspiration.
It must answer the following questions of the visitor: What? Why? And what does it do for me?
Each of these questions are equally important. Customers will have the desire to know what exactly it is that you are offering. Why should they choose you? Answering these questions will be more than enough.
Another very important and necessary thing is that, if there is a linked article, tell them where to click, for example – a simple “click here” key.
3. Convincing graphics
This is if you are making a graphical banner. By the term convincing it is meant that the graphic should be used in a way that it brings forth some specific information about the ad. It should not just be something that looks nice. It should have information which is useful to the people who will visit. Something that will be noticeable quickly and easily.
4. Fonts that are easily readable
It is amusing to see the exorbitant number of banner ads which have been designed with almost illegible fonts. And it is not just about the font. Poor contrast along with too small or too big lettering adds insult to injury.
5. Appropriate colours
Various colours have various connotations in the vast number of cultures all around us. It is essential to know and understand your target audience and act accordingly, to prevent a faux pas. The whole issue is quite a wide and vast topic and it can be mastered by going through the many books already written covering the subject.
See also: Web Typography: The Basic Outline