Although written content is certainly important online, visual material is paramount. From images and infographics to photos and animations, the right amount of care always needs to be taken when preparing every online visual. And if there’s one place where this care is particularly crucial for success, it’s in online advertising. Banner ads are still very relevant tools for branding, lead generation, and affiliate marketing. But you can’t just throw together the perfect banner. It must hit the right notes in both form and content to grab the reader’s attention, present the brand and build trust while being as unobtrusive as possible. We’ll take you through how it’s done.
Create a design that stands out from the crowd
Your banner must reflect your brand’s image and attract attention at the same time. To do this, we recommend using unique, high-quality images and photos. As often as possible, please try to limit the use of images from your database that are too standardised and easy to identify. The more the banner aligns with your corporate identity, your values, and your position, the more effective it is going to be. This means that while it must include your logo, you are free to play around a little with the color scheme.
The right balance must also be found between quality and technical features. The banner must load quickly in order to be effective, but must not be pixelated or vague in any way.
Your banners can be either static or animated. If you choose to animate, err on the side of restraint: the era of ‘Christmas tree’ webpages has long since passed.
Sculpt your text
A banner must say a lot with just a few words. The text must be both clear and concise. On Facebook, for example, the text must take up no more than 20% of a particular post’s space. This advice can be applied to all banners. No long-winded speeches; the text must get straight to the point.
You can also adapt your text to fit the context of the banner. The content of a social media post, for example, should be different from that of a blog or a major company’s website. The text portion can also be adjusted according to which stage of the sales cycle the prospect is in. The approach could be more general in nature at the beginning of the cycle, but more specific when displayed on specialist sites.
And, one final thing to keep in mind: always proofread! Spelling mistakes are unforgivable on banners, as they will discredit your brand. Make sure your message is completely clear. If you wish to be humorous or provocative, test your message in advance, as not everybody has the same cultural frame of reference.
Optimise your CTA
Call-to-action is the button that must make people want to click on your banner. These buttons can help measure the impact of your campaign. The aim is not necessarily to encourage people to buy: it’s to get them interested in your brand. So you can change or experiment with the ‘discover’, ‘register’, ‘free trial’ or ‘more information’ CTA structures.
You could also adapt your CTA according to the kind of interaction you have had or wish to have with a prospect. When addressing a prospect for the first time, for example, a different CTA should be used to when retargeting a prospect or conducting a performance ad campaign.
Every link should be measurable, so the performance of the banner can be properly evaluated. This is an important KPI as it assesses the relevance of the banner. By tracking clicks, you learn which CTA is most effective. A/B testing can be a very powerful tool for remedying uncertainty, optimising your banners and trying out new messages.
Adapt your banner to different formats.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to making banners. They can be vertical, square or horizontal. This means taking time to re-frame banner content according to requirements. In some cases, pre-prepared visual content could perhaps not work from a new layout perspective. You must, therefore, be flexible enough to start again from scratch, rather than trying to forcefully hold everything together to the detriment of the final product.
Creating perfect banners for an ad campaign is a precise job that should not be underestimated. Every detail counts. Plus, if there are templates available online, it’s very difficult to completely customize them to your brand. This is the reason why it is always more worthwhile to work with professional designers (internal or external to your organization) who can offer a fresh perspective on the challenges you face. We would, therefore, like to offer you the services of our graphics studio. If you need to overhaul or create new banners from scratch, please don’t hesitate to get in touch !