Display advertising has been around almost as long as the internet it’s self. In 1993 AT&T paid Wired $30,000 to place an ad at the top of the website for 3 months, the first time space on a website had been rented to an advertiser to place a banner advert. 10 years later Google gave the world AdSense its ubiquitous platform for placing banners across websites, bringing display advertising to the masses. The rest is history.
Over this time many things have changed with display advertising, but the principal fundamentals of what makes banner adverts work have remained constant. Before starting your next campaign, make sure you’ve ticked all these boxes with your banner ads to get the best results.
1. Stay on brand
Display advertising is an incredibly strong channel for building and cementing brand awareness. For some, a banner ad might be the first time they’ve interacted with your brand, for others it will be your brand that catches their eye and leads to a click. Use colours that match your products and website and always include your company logo.
Ensuring banners have a strong connection with your brand is a good way to encourage engagement with your display campaigns. Well branded display campaigns can also improve conversion rates from other advertising channels, improving ROI across the board.
2. Clear messaging
The message in your banners is your one shot at enticing the viewer to pay attention. Be clear and concise with the language you use. Use strong, readable text that contrasts with the background.
If you have something special to offer, make sure that your banners show it. Using price offers, discounts, or promo codes is a great way to catch peoples attention and encourage them to click. If you don’t have an offer to promote, let people know what the benefits of your product are.
3. Use quality images
The images you use in your banner ads are just as important as the text. Chances are you’re selling a physical product. If so include a clear, stand out image of the product your promoting. If your images are blurred, pixelated, or lost against a cluttered background, they won’t be clear to the viewer.
If you don’t have or don’t want to use product images in your banners, use people. Studies have shown that as humans we respond positively when seeing other humans in advertising. Using pictures of people can help convey emotional messaging, but make sure the images are clear and stand out from the background.
4. Use a call to action
A call to action clearly sets out what you want a user to do when viewing a banner advert. Studies on CTAs are extensive and have shown that a clear button that encourages a user to click will improve performance of your banners.
Obvious choices for retailers will be Shop Here, Buy Now, Get Offer. All clear and compelling words explaining in no uncertain terms how the viewer can move forward and take advantage of the product on display in the banner ads.
CTAs should be clear, bold and stand out from the rest of the advert. As westerners, we read from left to right, then down. Naturally, the best placement for the CTA is to the right or at the bottom of your banners.
Once you’ve understood these fundamental requirements of banner advertising, the creative process can begin. As with all marketing, remember to test different ideas for results, optimising your creatives to increase clicks and conversions.