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How to Create Profitable Banner Ads

Creating profitable banner ads is a non-negotiable skill in the marketing world. Like understanding Twitter and knowing your way around Google Analytics, it's just something you need to know. But mastering banner ads is no walk in the park.

Here are eye-opening stats to consider:

It’s hard to get banner ads right. When done well, not only are they an effective way to generate leads and sales—but they can also be used to increase brand awareness and drive website traffic.

We'll take a look at what banner ads are, why you need to use them—and how to make them profitable. Keep reading to learn more.

What is a banner ad?

A banner ad is a digital marketing placement that promotes a product, service, or brand using a rectangular image, GIF, or video. Banner ads are typically displayed on websites, social media platforms, and email newsletters. 

Banner ads come in a variety of different sizes, and each size has its own unique benefits and purpose. Here are the most common banner ad sizes:

  • Medium Banner: 300 x 250. This is a popular size for rectangle ads on websites, social media platforms, and email newsletters.
  • Leaderboard: 728 x 90. This is the largest banner size and is typically used at the top of a website. It can also be used as a rectangle ad on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Wide Skyscraper: 160 x 600. This is a popular size for skyscraper ads that appear on the edges of websites.
  • Full Banner: 468 x 60. This is the standard banner size that's used on most websites. It's also the smallest size that can be used for a 728 x 90 leaderboard ad.

How do banner ads work?

Banner ads typically work on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-mille (CPM) basis. This means that you'll pay every time someone clicks on your ad (CPC), or every time your ad is displayed 1000 times (CPM).

When creating a banner ad, you'll need to consider the following:

  • Your goals: What do you want your banner ad to achieve?
  • Your target audience: Who are you targeting with your banner ad?
  • Your budget: How much are you willing to spend on your banner ad campaign?
  • The size of your ad: Banner ads come in a variety of different sizes. Choose the size that's right for you.
  • The placement of your ad: Where will your banner ad be displayed?
  • Your call to action (CTA): What do you want people to do when they see your banner ad?

Once you've considered all of these factors, you'll be ready to create your banner ad.

Advanced tips for creating a profitable banner

Here are some tips to follow:

1. Keep it simple

When it comes to banner ads, less is more. You only have a split second to capture someone's attention, so don't try to cram too much information into your ad. 

Stick to one message and make sure it's clear. CTAs surrounded by negative space see an increase in conversion rate of 232% compared to those surrounded by clutter—so remember: give your buttons room to breathe! 

2. Use strong visuals

People are visual creatures, and that's especially true when it comes to banner ads. Use high-quality images and videos that are relevant to your product or service. And make sure your visuals are attention-grabbing and visually appealing.

Pixellated pics, busy backgrounds, and generic stock photos are all big no-nos if you want your banner ad to stand out and look trustworthy.

In addition to choosing a good quality image, make sure your banner ad carries the blueprint of your brand: your colors, fonts, and logo should all be present and correct. Consistency is key to building trust with your audience—if they see a banner ad that looks like it belongs to your company, they're much more likely to click on it.

Here are some great banner ads. Brand logo, font, and color? Check. Nice images? Check. Short, persuasive copy? It’s a home run! (Image Source

3. Make it mobile-friendly

More than half of all web traffic is coming from mobile devices—so you can't afford to ignore this crucial step. 

Make sure your banner ad is designed with a mobile-first approach. This means creating an ad that looks good and is easy to navigate on a mobile device. Use a large, legible font and big, bold CTAs. And keep the overall design of your ad simple and uncluttered.

4. Test, test, test

The only way to know for sure whether your banner ad is effective is to test it. Try out different versions of your ad and see what works best. Test different images, copy, CTAs, and layouts. Keep track of your results and continue tweaking your ad until it's as effective as possible. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to testing. 

When it comes to testing your banner ad, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Test different versions of your ad: It may surprise you which designs appeal to people more than others.
  • Keep track of your results: You won’t know what’s working unless you watch your metrics.
  • Optimize your ad regularly: It's important to continually optimize your banner ad so it remains effective. As your business and target audience change, so should your ad. 

5. Use the right format

The display network you choose should have all the info you need on which sites your ad will appear. Make sure you read it!

Banner ads perform best when they're:

  • Close to the content
  • Above the fold
  • On the left-hand side

It's unlikely you'll have a say over where your ad appears on the page, but you can target specific types of websites that align well with your brand.

6. Use persuasive copy

Your banner ad copy should be short, sweet, and to the point. You only have a few seconds to get your message across, so make sure it's clear and concise. Use persuasive language that speaks to your target audience and drives them to take action.

Remember, banner ads are not the place for long-form copy. Stick to one or two sentences at most.

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