Though the display ad more commonly known as the banner ad has been around since Internet adoption overtook the world, it is one of the least understood areas of digital marketing. It is difficult to understand banner ad effectiveness, as there are so many factors that impact performance.? Banner ads are easily overlooked if it isn’t distinguishable with succinct copy and compelling design. The following tips will help you create or identify banner ad designs that will engage your target audience.


Location. Location. Location: Many of us start designing or evaluating banner ads without considering where the banner ad is going to appear. Location is key. Too often, banners are not optimized for the audience they are reaching or they become lost among other banners and ads. Or, they are found near the bottom of the page with little likelihood of the consumer seeing it.

Location can profoundly enhance or undermine the power of a banner ad and you should always confirm where the banner ad will appear before making design decisions. For instance, animated banner ads are effective individually, but can easily disappear in the din of other animated ads. Instead of engaging consumers, multiple animated banner ads create a ?Times Square? effect, where consumers are over stimulated and simply scroll past or click away from the advertisements.

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Extend your brand: A banner is not an island. Banner ads are extensions of your brand, and therefore should align with your brand’s aesthetic, from the tone and voice of your website and images to in-store messaging and even employee uniforms. Strong brands convey a cohesive design aesthetic, and you should incorporate these important brand identity attributes into your banner ad design. Great brands tell a story and banner ads should be designed to fit within the context of your brand’s unique story.


Check these three boxes Identify. Engage. Inspire: Banner ads should accomplish three objectives: immediately identify your brand to consumers, offer an engaging value proposition that captures your prospects? interest, and inspires prospects to take an action such as purchasing a product, signing up for a newsletter, or clicking through to your website.

A banner ad?s value proposition and call-to-action? (CTA) are typically expressed through text. Too much text can overwhelm your customer, so be sure to keep your message concise. Because banner ads are relatively small, designers should make the best use of the space they have; the brand’s identity should be expressed through powerful images that don’t compete with the written messaging. If you have a well-known logo or brand, it is often sufficient – there’s no need to write out ?McDonald?s? when a simple image of the golden arches suffices.

The copy in the banner ad should reflect your brand’s image. For example, a banner ad for a luxury watchmaker might read, An exclusive sneak-peek of our latest collection,? which is a very different value proposition than Save $$$ before this deal expires!!!? The same principle applies to CTAs: the language should be brand appropriate.


Be distinctive: Successfully differentiating a brand is imperative. You should make every effort to design banner ads that pop and stand apart from the competition. Though the size and dimensions of banners ads are relatively uniform for most advertisements, you should maximize the limited space the medium affords by using strong, well-defined borders that define the ad and allow it to stand out from its background.

People immediately recognize the smallest visual anomaly, so banner ad designers should integrate small peculiarities into their work. Odd numbers, for example, stand out. Consumers glance over a promotion offering 10% savings, but might be more intrigued by an ad offering 11% off. Use fonts that are brand appropriate, but simple; avoid fussy cursive lettering. Remember that differentiation should never be a liability find the balance that works best for your brand, and your business will grow.

Master these four tips when designing or evaluating banner ads and you’re well on your way to creating clickable and high-converting ads for your business.