November 3, 2021 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
Display banners are one of the most popular tools used by businesses that advertise online. They help attract visitors and build brand recognition and awareness. Engaging in this type of advertising makes it easy to track metrics and determine if you’re getting a good return on investment (ROI) for the price of the ad space.
Display banners, also known as a display ad or banner ad, is a type of paid online advertising. Each one includes written copy and a visual element, like a custom design or photo. They also function as unique forms of hypertext links, where instead of seeing the link text, you see images or animations. Website visitors click on the promotional image to visit a corresponding landing page, website, or other online host location.
Unlike text ads, display banners don’t appear in search results. You can find them on websites with interactive displays and animation used to engage visitors. Designers model many of them after traditional banners you’d see out in the world, like on billboards or in stores. Display banners inform viewers about changes to a company, new products, or any other important information the company thinks its target audience should know.
Designers define banner ads both by their content and construction. Examples include:
Animated or GIF banners are dynamic, eye-catching ads that incorporate motion into the design. They work on mobile devices and have a small file size to speed up page load times. Each one may contain multiple animations or slides. GIF banners in particular don’t require a special plug-in for viewing because they’re saved in the GIF file format.
Announcement banners give viewers information about updates or changes coming to your business. Messages may include language like “Coming Soon” or “Now Hiring.” Use this type of display banner if you’ve done things like open a new store location, reopened an old location, changed your hours, updated your contact information, or are searching for new employees.
Some companies use display ads to thank someone for their hard work, service, or dedication. You can also use this type of display banner to recognize team members or share news about awards your company wins. This type of promotion works well for emphasizing brand image and recognition.
These display banners are helpful if you’re hosting an event online or offline and you’re trying to generate interest and registrations. Links from these banners may lead to a landing page with more information about the event, such as schedules, media, and sign-up forms. For the images and text for this type of ad, consider including your company logo, a background image relating to the event, and the basic details like name, time, date, and location.
Expandable banner ads grow from their original small size as a user browses the host page. The action usually results from something like a scroll, mouse-over, or hover. When the ad expands, it takes up more space on the page and may even provide more information or elements you couldn’t see with the original version. These may be useful for mobile devices where users scroll through content, providing more room for expansion. Lightbox ads are a type of expandable banner that turns into a full-screen box on a hover.
Interactive banners go a step beyond animated and GIF banners to get users to engage with the ad. They may include elements like demos of games or trailers for events. Other types of interactive banner ads may allow viewers to answer a poll or fill out a contact form to receive more information from the company.
Interstitial banners are full-screen ads that appear within the text of content marketing efforts or within the functions of another program. They show up during transition points within the main program. For example, when you play a mobile game, you may have to sit through an ad before you can proceed to the next level. This is a transition point in the game and is therefore a good place for an interstitial banner. We use these types of banners at CopyPress in between sections of our articles, like this:
“CopyPress gives us the ability to work with more dealership groups. We are able to provide unique and fresh content for an ever growing customer base. We know that when we need an influx of content to keep our clients ahead of the game in the automotive landscape, CopyPress can handle these requests with ease.”
Director of SEO at Auto Revo
These types of display banners may not advertise for a specific product or event, but just for your brand in general. They may include your logo, tagline, and company name. Promotional banners may help brand new businesses establish a customer base, or they may reintroduce a company that’s recently gone through a rebranding phase.
Static banners, also called standard banners, differ from animated ads because they don’t move. They include still images, plain text, and other elements. Static banners may be less intrusive to viewers and provide fewer distractions than moving ads. They get straight to the point and display all the important information consistently without changing slides. Static banners may be less expensive to list with hosting companies than animated banners.
Video banners are like animated and interactive ones, but look more like ads you’d see on television. In fact, some companies may even use their commercial content for their banner ads, too. Video banners are popular for mobile sites and apps. On Facebook, video ads drive 59.3% of the engagement out of all total ads on the platform.
The cost of a banner ad usually depends on the estimated number of impressions it receives or could receive online. Factors like banner size and placement can also affect the price. The larger the ad and the more prominent the host site, the more expensive your display banner may be. Banner ads are popular in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. This method doesn’t cost you anything to list your ad and have it displayed, but if a visitor clicks on it or if it reaches a certain number of impressions, you have to pay a fee.
PPC rates can be as low as 50 cents per 1,000 impressions, depending on the service you use. Conversely, certain sites or services may charge a flat rate fee to display your ad for a predetermined period. The company determines these rates based on the positioning, sizes, and audience, much like traditional advertising. The cost of banner ads has decreased over time because more people use them as a go-to form of advertising. But, because prices can change at any time, it’s important to check with your host or service provider to get the most up-to-date numbers.
Display banners can be the key piece of a paid advertising campaign. Besides general promotion, you can use them for re-targeting throughout a visitor’s browsing experience. For example, if someone puts an item in their cart and tries to exit the site, a display banner may appear. It can remind shoppers of the items in the cart to incentivize them to complete the transaction.
Other uses for display banners include developing clickable, enticing images that direct a viewer to a landing page or other webpage with relevant content. Display banners increase brand awareness and engage or re-engage visitors in order to push them through the marketing funnel and turn them into a lead, then into a customer.
Designers measure display banner sizes in pixels. A pixel is an illuminated area on a screen. When you combine many of them, you can make a full image. Think of it as a more complex Lite Brite toy. Each peg is equivalent to a pixel. When you put enough of them together, you get a picture. A picture with a size listed as 300×250 means the banner has a length of 300 pixels and a height of 250 pixels. According to Google AdSense, certain types of display banner sizes perform best online. They include:
Image via Google AdSense Help
Image via Google AdSense Help
Image via Google AdSense Help
Image via Google AdSense Help
Image via Google AdSense Help
While these are the most common choices, they’re not the only ones. Other options for mobile display ads include:
Other supported ad sizes for text and display banners include:
Some ad services also provide regional ad sizes for publishers in certain countries, like Sweden, Russia, and Armenia.
Use these steps to learn how to create a display banner ad for your business:
Choose where and how you want to host your ad. It’s important to do this first because it not only determines the pricing for each ad but also the sizing and content creation. Google Ads is a popular service for listing banners, and its help section provides a lot of the information you may need before creating an ad.
You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create a banner ad for your company. However, if you have access to a design team, or someone with knowledge of programs like Adobe Photoshop, that could help. If you don’t, try using an ad creator tool to make your design. When choosing a creation program, look for ones that provide different-sized templates, the ability to resize images and designs, and elements like text, stickers, and even animation.
Pick a size for your ad. The sizing may determine where the ad can display on the page, and the types of sites, ads, or devices on which it can appear. Consider choosing one of the popular ad sizes. This means there are more places your ad can display and therefore get you more exposure.
It’s also important to choose a size that your service provider supports to make the uploading and posting process easier. If you’re creating a banner ad for a specific website, check with the web developers for the recommended or required sizes so that the ad fits on the page.
There are several different options for your banner background. Static banners use backgrounds that don’t move. For these, you can use either solid-colored backgrounds, patterned ones, or photos. Solid-colored backgrounds make the text pop and provide a pleasant contrast against the background of a website. If you have many other elements in the ad, a solid background may be a good choice. Patterned backgrounds may work well if you have minimal additional content on the ad but don’t have a photo or video to include. This can provide more eye-catching features without overwhelming the banner.
Photo backgrounds may work well if you have a physical product to showcase or an abstract concept that could benefit from the use of an image. If you use a photo or patterned background, you may make it opaque or faded to put the focus on the text. For animated, interactive, or video ads, the background may be dynamic and take the place of the discussed static elements.
Create a headline for your ad. This is the largest piece of text on your banner, so you will want to use few words to catch peoples’ attention. Try to communicate your message in just one or two sentences. Explain what you offer and why it matters to people. Consider being humorous or emotional to attract leads if that alights with your company values and voice. You can also use action words that urge people to do something.
Consider using subheadings with your headline if you need to explain your ad in more detail. This may be helpful if you don’t have many other elements on the ad and have room for more words. You can also hire a copywriter or freelancer to help you with your ad copy. Content creation organizations like CopyPress can provide this service and much more to help you get your ads online.
You may include additional images or moving elements on your display banners in places other than the backgrounds. If you use a solid background, consider adding images of your products, storefront, or team members to the ad if appropriate to the message. You can use either photos or illustrations, and you might add your logo for brand recognition as well.
For dynamic ads, you may add GIFs, video clips, interactive tools, or slides that change. To develop these interactive ads, consider seeking help from someone who understands coding. This can ensure all banner elements function properly once the ad is online.
A call to action (CTA) tells people exactly what you want them to do. Do you want them to “Click Here”? Maybe you want them to “Shop Now.” No matter what it is you want viewers to do, there are two parts to consider when including your visual CTA: text and color. Use a color that contrasts with your display banner background so the CTA stands out. You can make the CTA look like a button, or it can simply be text if the entire banner is linkable.
Many of your display banners link to a landing page or a specific page on your company website. Optimize the page for visitors by preparing the entire page before you upload the ad. Make sure the landing page contains all the necessary and accurate information about your product or service. You can, of course, update this page after the ad is live, but preparing it beforehand makes your business look professional and ready for visitors.
Most of the internet runs on ads. You can capitalize on this by creating your own banner ads and placing them in space online. Using display banners can help build brand awareness and increase your sales.
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