How to Create Effective Banner Ads

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A couple of days ago, I wrote a post offering tips for buying profitable banner ads. In the post, I mentioned the importance of testing different banner ad designs and copy. That leads me to this post. Today, I want to talk about what it takes to create effective banner ads that make your target audience click.

1.    Look at other banner ads—
Every single day, you come across banner ads on the various websites you visit. Take some time to sit back and truly study the different banner ads you see. Ask yourself: Would I click on this ad if I was in their target audience? What works with this ad and what could be better? Researching banner ads is integral to finding the formula that works best for you.

2.    Clearly state your message—You’ve probably heard the saying, “Keep it simple, stupid.” While I’m not going to call you stupid, I will tell you to keep it simple. Have one clear message on your banner ad. It can be something as simple as “Save 25% when you order today!” Your banner ad is going to be small enough as it is, so the less clutter, the better.

3.    Use clean, readable design—
Speaking of clutter, keep your design clean and easy to read. I’ve come across way too many banner ads with poor combinations of background color and text color, making the copy difficult to read. Your copy (main message) should pop out immediately from the advertisement. Anything that distracts from the message needs to be removed.

4.    Create compelling call to action—No one is going to click your banner ad unless you give them a reason to do so. Tell the viewer exactly what you want them to do. If you want them to call you now, say “Call 555-5555 today to get your free sample.” If you want them to sign up for your newsletter, say “Click here now to sign up for your free newsletter.” You get the idea.

5.    Keep file size small—I mentioned this in my last post, but it’s worth repeating: Avoid flash banner ads if at all possible. While flash ads might seem more aesthetically pleasing, the truth is they take longer to load and viewers won’t watch the entire ad cycle through. Instead, create a simple gif or jpg that loads quickly, getting your message out instantly.

What tips would you add to this list? Share your experiences with banner advertising in the replies.

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