By Matt Imhoff, Display and Advertising Manager

We’ve all been there.  You’re scrolling the web for the latest news story, researching for a project, or maybe even just online shopping.  Arriving at a website, only to see it littered with spammy, annoying ads, covering the page. But what if these ads weren’t annoying?  What if they were eye-catching, easy to understand, and even help you with what you’re looking for?

Believe it or not, banner creatives can add value to user experience and better yet, leave a positive brand imprint on those that interact with them.   Last year alone, it was estimated that digital marketing consumed around 75% of all marketers’ budgets1.

At the rate we are going, you will not want to miss out on these 5 important tips to consider while designing banner ads for your brand.

1) Propose a Clear, Concise Value Proposition

The easiest way to think about your banner ads’ value proposition is by answering this simple question: What gives my brand a competitive advantage over others in our space?  While this could be anything from offering success, providing something for free, or even social endorsement from peers, the main objective is making it attractive to the user and making it concise!  InSkin Media, Research Now, and Sticky conducted a study2 that found the median time an ad is “gazed” at is just 0.7 Seconds.   In this instance, time is money and your copy better make an impression, quick!

2) Simple, not Distracting

To supplement a succinct value proposition, every great banner ad needs to be eye-catching.  No, that does not mean flashing with bright, unpleasant lights.  Rather, a simple and smooth design can go a long way.  A survey taken by Color Psychology Researchers3 found that 42% of online users form their opinion of a company’s website based on the design, with color being the leading contributing factor.  If opinions can be formed that easily for websites, imagine how fast an opinion can be formed from your brand’s banner ad!

3) Follow Brand Guidelines

Although you may think of a great idea for your ad, you cannot move forward in the design process unless this idea follows your brand guidelines.  Maintaining a consistent brand image while advertising is imperative.  Using the same fonts, colorway, types of images, and even grammar rules will benefit you after a user has viewed your ad multiple times.  Staying consistent with your brand image is even proven, in some cases, to increase revenue by up to 33% 4.

4) Utilize Call to Action Buttons

A banner ad is not complete until it is equipped with a Call to Action (CTA).  Providing the user a place to click creates a more interactive experience while ensuring the user’s journey is as clear as possible.  The importance of the CTA’s placement should not be overlooked.  Neil Patel (a New York Times Bestselling author and proclaimed “top influencer on the web”5) found that CTA’s in the top half of an ad can decrease conversions by up to 17%.   Ideally, the user would be able to learn about an offering before clicking on your ad.   Make sure your ad reads in a logical order, with the Call to Action at the finish line.

5) A/B Testing

After following these straightforward and effective tactics, it is important to employ multiple versions of your banner ads for A/B Testing.  One of the biggest mistakes an advertiser can make is to assume they know what their target audience likes.  By running multiple creative iterations, you can discover what brings you success and what doesn’t resonate with your user.

With these best practices, you are already on your way to becoming a master at your digital advertising craft.  Staying true to your brand, utilizing concise value propositions, and being transparent with your audience will prove to create positive interactions with the users.


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