17 Banner Ads Best Practices (That Assure Maximum ROI)

Aug 23, 2021 4:31:55 AM

Is banner ad dead?”

That’s a common question many marketers wonder about.

While banner ads do have lost their glam in recent times, they are far from “dead”. If anything, in comparison to other forms of marketing and advertising, banner ads in 2021 are less saturated. So, you’re likely to face relatively less competition and get higher returns.

But, of course, to unlock greater opportunities and more ROI, you need to have an effective strategy that’s thoroughly outlined.

In fact, the absence of a well-defined strategy is one of the reasons why so many marketers and brands end with disappointing results with their banner ad campaigns.

Don’t make that mistake!

If you’re planning to invest in banner ads, which you should, do it the right way.

Following are the banner ads best practices that assure you of maximum ROI if executed well:


Define your goals (and KPIs)

When you don’t know your objectives or what you’re looking to achieve, you will never achieve that.

Lack of goals or unclear goals is one big mistake marketers and advertisers make.

It’s essential that you thoroughly define your banner ad goals. Accordingly, you can focus on your strategy and the nuances of that strategy.

Similarly, defining the goals will also help you determine your KPIs for tracking. And when you know what KPIs to track, you can then focus on improving your ad campaigns.

What can be tracked can be improved.


Establish your target audience

Don’t target “everyone”. That’s a critical mistake that would bring you low returns if at all it brings any return.

Before you plan your banner ad campaign, you need to have a clear understanding of who you’re targeting. 

What audience are you targeting? Who are they? What’s their age? What do they do? What’s their pain point? What are their expectations? What’s their budget or financial condition?

Establish your target audience. Create buyer personas for each segment you’re targeting. Gather up as much information as possible for each persona. 

The clearer you are about your target audience, the better your banner ad strategy could be.


Choose a fitting display network

There are many display networks out there. Google, Facebook, and several top social media platforms are the most popular ones.

Unless you have a big budget, you should focus primarily on channels that can bring you maximum returns.

Now, how you can figure which channel is more relevant depends on your industry, product, and target audience?

For instance, if you’re targeting an 18-year old crowd, you will likely find Instagram more relevant for its predominantly young demography.

However, if you’re targeting working professionals who are decision-makers in their organization, LinkedIn may work better for you.

So, take your time to find the right display network. Choose relevant channels where your campaigns can reach more audiences and convert higher. This would require adequate market research and, as mentioned in the previous point, define buyer personas.


Focus on the banner details

To achieve the desired outcome, at the very least, you need to get the basics of banner ads right. 

Imagine you have invested a lot of time, energy, and money on a banner ad only to realize the readability of that banner is poor.

Font size and family, the color scheme of the banner, the file size of the banner, dimension of the banner, and more… These are some of the basics of banner ads that you must prioritize to get correct. 

For instance, if there are too many colors in your banner, people may find it obnoxious. Similarly, if the file size of the image or animation is large, it will take longer to load, in which case people with a slow connection may find it difficult to view it conveniently and quickly.

So, create a list of all the basic things that you must get right with your banner ad.


Bring together a good team

This is quite basic. 

To run successful banner ad campaigns, you need to bring together a great team that helps you excel. This includes a designer, image editor, copywriter, campaign manager, and other experts.

Make sure they have sufficient experience with banner ads. 

In case if you’re a one-person team, you should ideally hire freelancers and pool their skills to create a killer banner ad campaign. 

However, if you’re a DIY-kinda person, take your time to first educate yourself about banner ads.

Make sure you understand banner ads, including the dynamics of the channel you’re serving the ad on, the pricing model of banner ads, what type of image or animation works better, what copy suits your goal better, and so forth.

Research, educate yourself, and be thoughtful with your campaign.

That said though, it’s still ideal to have a team with you that works together to run successful banner ads and drive better results.


Get eye-catchy visuals

This is another basic point. Sadly, many advertisers undermine its importance.

Understand that your audience’s attention span is short. There are thousands and thousands of brands out there who are contesting against each other to win people’s attention.

If your banner ad doesn’t have what it takes to instantly grab people’s attention, it would inevitably fail to drive the desired results.

So, make sure the visual appeal of the banner is striking and outstanding. It should be eye-catchy that people take notice and interest in it. 

Like this video for Dots & Co made by Giant Ant:-


Hook attention with animation

When it comes to hooking attention, animation can do wonders for you.

This is especially true when you realize that even the most interesting static image may fall short in its objective just because a lot of your competitors are using static images as well.

For instance, on Instagram, all you will find are images. So, no matter how unique your image is, standing out from others could be very difficult.

Similarly, if your banner ad is served on some different website, that website may have its own visuals that may overshadow your banner. This is where you can choose animation videos.

More and more brands are now investing in animated videos. In fact, some of the leading brands have run high-stake ad campaigns in recent times solely with animation.

That alone underlines the relevance and effectiveness of this form of content.

So, join hands with an animation video production company and create good animated banners that are appealing, engaging, and interesting to grab eyeballs.

Look at this video by American Express:-


Create magic with interesting copies

There’s this misconception that banner ads are all about images or visuals. That’s not entirely true.

Your banner would have some text on it as well. And that text can make or break the deal for you.

In many ways, the visual appeal of the banner brings you the attention and the copy on that banner drives engagement and conversion.

So, get creative with your banner ad copy that captures people’s attention.

It should mention people’s pain points, and also clearly state the value proposition. The copy should succinctly explain the product aka the solution to their pain points. 


Look how this video by BUCK for Emirates uses copywriting:-


Offer lead magnets

A lead magnet is something free that you offer to people for taking a certain action. Marketers use lead magnets to generate leads.

Irrespective of the objective of the banner ad, you can offer any type of lead magnet to the target audience and tempt them to take an action.

For example, if you sell a SaaS product subscription, you can offer a 15-day free trial to the audience as a lead magnet. If you sell a physical product, you can offer a free item along with that product; like if you sell t-shirts, offer a free cap with it. 

There are many ways to introduce a lead magnet into your banner ad campaign and drive better results. Plan properly and tap on its benefits.


Make it urgent

Your banner ad campaign has a timeline. It won’t be running indefinitely. The longer it stays up, the more it may cost you. (Of course, this depends on the pricing model you have opted for, which is a whole different conversation altogether.)

In short, your campaign will end soon. And in this timeline, you have to drive as many results as possible. 

So, you want to prompt the target audience to take a certain action quickly. 

Using words and phrases like “limited time offer”, “now” “hurry” “24 hours” and more can get people to act faster. 

In all, make your banner ad campaign look and sound urgent.

Look how this video by Monetha uses urgency in its CTA:-


Include facts and statistics

Making bland claims doesn’t work anymore. Similarly, uncorroborated or static copies aren’t effective now either.

People love reading facts and statistics. They like numbers or quantifiable problems and solutions.

“This can help you save as much as 50 percent of your existing cost” is much better than “this can save you money”.

“Trusted by 73 percent of accountants” is much better than “trusted by marketers”.

“Customer retention is 5 times cheaper than customer acquisition” is better than “customer retention is cheaper than customer acquisition”.

These are just a few examples that underline how powerful, interesting, and effective facts and statistics could be.

So, find out ways to incorporate relevant stats in your banner ad. 


Adopt a minimalistic approach

There’s a whole different type of appeal in minimalism. This means, your banner doesn’t really have to be too out-of-the-box. It doesn’t have to be too colorful and overly done.

Similarly, your banner copy doesn’t have to be too unique.. to a point that it becomes unappealing.

Instead, you can adopt a minimalistic approach. This is especially important if you’re targeting an audience that would rather see something simple (but interesting). 

For instance, if you’re reaching out to people in their 50s, they might not appreciate too colorful graphics. 

In short, first, understand that simple doesn’t have to be boring. 

Second, with specific segments, employ a minimal approach for your banner ads.


Be clear in the CTA

A critical gap in many ad campaigns is the lack of call-to-action. 

Unless you tell people exactly what you want them to do or what they are supposed to do, many of them might not convert. 

So, simply making hints with your banner ad isn’t enough.

Make sure all your banners have a button-like CTA. And make sure the CTA copy is clear and concise. 

“Sign up now” or “buy it now” is much better than “join the revolution” or something similar and vague.


Learn about your successful competitors

If you don’t have extensive experience with banner ads and you don’t have much to look back and learn from, look at your competitors.

In fact, competitors are one of the best sources to learn from.

Check out the kind of banner ads they have (color scheme, font size, dimension, copy, CTA, and more). Find out the platforms where they are running banner ad campaigns or the display network they are a part of.

There are many tools out there that can help you do a thorough competitive analysis of your competitors’ paid campaigns.

So, spend some time with such tools and learn more about your successful competitors. Take inspiration from them and follow suit.


Don’t forget the landing page

Getting people to click on your banner ad is just one part of the process. 

After clicking, they would land on a page. And if that page isn’t good enough, all your efforts and investment in banner ads would go in vain.

Now, creating a high-converting landing page is a separate topic that can take a long, comprehensive blog post of its own.

In general, though, you want the landing page to compliment your banner ads and deliver on all the promises you made in your campaign.

The landing page should be responsive and load faster. It should have enough whitespace and good-quality content.

 It should look appealing and be optimized for good UX. If possible, it should be personalized per the individual buyer personas you’re targeting.

In all, you don’t want to forget your landing page. It is a key to conversion. Having a reluctant attitude towards how your landing page looks and performs will eventually waste all your banner ad budget.

This video by SLACK is a good example of how videos can be used on landing pages for new users:-


Do more A/B testing

No matter how much work you put into it, your banner ads won’t be perfect.

There would always be a big room to convert.

Moreover, at times, you may not be clear as to how your campaign and strategy should be. For instance, you may not know if a blue-green color scheme would perform better than red-yellow. You may not know if “get started now” can drive you higher conversion than “sign up”.

It is on you to find out the answer to how to optimize your banner ad campaigns.

This requires split testing. 

So, do A/B testing regularly. Experiment more. If you have the budget, be more aggressive with A/B testing to find a better combination of factors that improves your ROI.


Final Words

Banner ads are still effective… if you know how to get things right. It can bring you much higher returns in comparison to other forms of advertising or marketing.

The above-mentioned are a few banner ad best practices. Incorporate them in your planning.

Of course, there’s much more to outlining and implementing a successful banner ad strategy. So, take a lot of time in planning everything thoroughly, including budget planning. Banner ads are a lot about budgeting correctly.

At the same time, record and track all the relevant metrics. This is important to improve not just your ongoing campaigns but also the ones you will run in the future. The more data and insights you have, the more opportunities you will have to optimize your campaign for improved ROI. 

Good luck!


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