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BizReport : Advertising archives : September 02, 2016

5 Steps to Better Banners

While banners may be the first thing people see when visiting a website, most consumers agree they are also the most distracting and irrelevant. Banners can be relevant and engaging, though. Here are five steps to improve banners.

by Kristina Knight

First impressions are everything

"Your banner should clearly say who you are and what you do, or sell at first sight. To achieve this, you must make your banner readable. Your copy needs to be short, concise, and visible. Nothing flashy, nothing fancy. Just think of three to five words that will deliver your message. Once you've got the text on the banner, take a couple of steps back and squint to see the whole picture. If you can read it, so will others. A word of advice: give people something they're used to, and choose clean, easy, classic bold fonts. You may laugh when hearing designers recommend Helvetica, Courier, Old Sans, Arial or Times, but there's a good reason they're over-using them," said Carmen Pietrau, Content Specialist at

Catch the eye, conquer the heart

"If your banner is eye-catching, you've already found your way into your audience's heart. It's that simple, and the simpler the better. Think of the ratio and placement of the ad and allow image, colors, fonts, and words to blend together in an impactful design. If you can't control the placement, as it happens in most cases, then avoid using too many colors, words, bold letters, and buttons. A simple layout will allow viewers to easily find your message on any web page, whether it's crowded or not," said Pietrau.

Color can make or break it

"Designers will always tell you it's important to engage the audience. An effective banner must get the audience to interact with your business/product," said Pietrau. "In this sense, you should choose a consistent color scheme and top it with a powerful call to action. People feel comfortable once they recognize a color, a layout, and a logo as familiar. Colors help you achieve branding. You don't even need to mention the name of your business. Needless to say, the colors should match your product or service. Don't go for pink if you're selling men's razors. Next, a call to action will always give people the feeling of continuity, of a purpose for the banner. We've said you should go for a very simple banner layout, but you're allowed just one extravagance: make the call to action stand out with a brighter color and bolder font."

Size matters

"Banners come in all sort of sizes and shapes. Some will tell you that a wide banner is more effective for click-through rate. Know your product and your audience, and you'll know what shape to choose," said Pietrau. "Better yet, you can always test various shapes to see which ones perform better. When it comes to sizes, it's common design knowledge that you must use standard banner ad sizes or your banner runs the risk of appearing as out of the picture, distorted, or cropped. If you know where your banner is going to appear, then make sure you size it appropriately."

Strike a visual chord

"Last but not least, should you use an image? Some banners may work with just text and a simple background, while others may require a strong visual element. If you do use an image, then it should be a simple, clean image that either speaks for itself or goes along with the message. Pick the image that communicates the purpose of the banner, or the image that induces powerful emotional response from your audience. Even if people say bad advertising is still advertising, don't make people hate your banner. Avoid crowded, cluttered, flashy images. Contrary to what you may think, they do not draw attention in a good way," said Pietrau.

Tags: advertising, advertising design, banner ad design, banner ads,

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