Creating Effective Banner Advertising

(Ping! Zine Issue 9) – Banner advertisements seem to be everywhere on the web.  In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a site without the small boxes that scream “click here”.  While web surfers may view these ads with annoyance or even indifference, the reality is, this form of advertising can attract visitors to your site.  The important thing is knowing how to create an advertising banner that is not only eye-catching, but also results in the all-important click-through.  Here, we offer you some tips to get visitors clicking.

1. Though it sounds simple, one of the most important factors in designing an ad banner is making it clear exactly where the visitor should click to get to your site.  Sometimes just saying “click here” is the best way to cut through the clutter and get them to your site.

2. Now that the visitor knows where to click, you need to give them a compelling reason to do so.  One of the best words around to inspire that action is “FREE”.  Who can resist the lure of something for nothing?  Just be sure that you really are offering something free on your site.  It can be as simple as a free newsletter.

3. Another tactic is to get visitors to click as soon as they read the banner.  To accomplish this, use phrases like “last chance” or “limited time offer”.  People can’t seem to resist these kinds of messages.

4. Along those same lines, when visitors click the link, they want to go directly to the offer they have been promised.  Don’t annoy your visitors by sending them to your home page and making them search for the specials.

5. When designing a banner ad, it pays to keep things simple.  Your text should be short and to the point.  It’s best to advertise a particular item or concept rather than just giving a general plug for your site.

6. It is also important to feature your brand and domain names in the ad.  One exception to this rule is when you have an existing brand that is introducing a new product or service.  In this case, you don’t want visitors to think they already know everything about your brand and not click through.

7. Be sure your banner ad is reaching your target audience.  No matter how great your ad is, if the right people don’t see it, you have wasted money.  Research shows that banners attached to keywords help pull visitors in.

8. Though you want to keep the text to the point, you can be a little more creative with the graphics.  Animation and interactive banners get noticed.

9. Always try to keep the file size of your banner small.  A good range is between 10K to 15K.  Any bigger and you risk the visitor leaving the page before your banner has even finished loading.

10. This does not mean your ad size has to be small.  In fact, larger and wider ads get more clicks.

Now that you know the ins and outs of creating the perfect banner ad, let your creative juices flow.  You never know, your next big sale may be right around the corner and that awesome banner ad will help pull it in.