How to Design Banners Like the Pros

Written by Ted Dhanik

Veterans of the Web know that banner advertising is one of the most prevalent forms of outreach currently in existence on the Web. The pop-up ad, the in-content banner and the margins are all common places to see advertising on some of the most popular sites around the Web. Before you open a new canvas in Photoshop, be sure to read some of these tips pros use to make their ads more clickable.

Ad Sizes

The display advertising network that you use will have restrictions on the ad sizes you can feature, although they may not tell you this upfront. Some networks include helpful messages about the acceptable size of a banner, but you should always ask a representative which size performs best on their network. Aside from the actual pixel length and width of the ad, there may be restrictions on the usage of video in the ad, or a recommendation on file size.

Adhere to these restrictions as closely as you can. Keeping your file size low helps increase load times, and having fewer frames of a flash banner increases the speed of your messaging.

Clear Copy

Too often, marketers are tempted to use a lot of flowery language to try to explain away any possible objections to a product. The mantra to “tell your story” is taken all too literally, with long and irrelevant narratives.

To be clear, the average attention span of a user is less than ten seconds, so your copy must have a laser-like focus. Copywriting is a bit like writing a haiku, except you can make a ton of money off of the right ad. Except to say that testing is the norm, there isn’t really a set of clear instructions to provide on copywriting. Review some of your competitors before you sit down to write and see if you notice any trends in their copywriting.

Strong Enticement

The call to action is the statement on your page that drives users to action. It asks them to buy something, sign up for something or subscribe to something. The wording here is extremely important because it is the first step towards conversion. A traditional button that says “Click Here” is the norm, but there will be different designs to fit every sales proposition.

The best calls to action clearly lay out what the user needs to do in order to reap the benefits of your ad, and in some ways, they rely heavily on the copy that precedes them. Spend time refining this aspect, helping your copy and call to action flow seamlessly together.

Unity of Design

When a user clicks your banner, he should end up at a landing page that matches the proposition proposed in your ad. When offering a free report, your landing page should help push the customer to that report as soon as possible. Everything else is secondary to the objective you stated in your ad. Therefore, put extensive time into crafting a landing page that satisfies the user’s needs in the fewest possible steps.

Bio: Ted Dhanik is the president and co-founder of engage:BDR. With over fifteen years of experience in the sales and direct marketing space, Ted Dhanik is poised to help businesses succeed through online lead generation. Learn how direct marketing can expand your business by visiting Ted Dhanik online.