Simple Steps to a Great Banner Ad

by : Kelly Paal

Everyone is using them now and if you’re planning on creating your own banner ad then there are some things that you should know.

Standard Size

I’ll admit I made this mistake. I was too caught up in creating a really nice looking design that I made something that was not the standard size. Now it wasn’t much off the norm but when I found out I promptly changed the size. Keep to standards. I know that if your ad is slightly larger it may get more attention but if we all start doing this where will it stop? Creating an ad that is larger than standard is not the way to get attention. And in many places they will require you to keep to the industry standard.


This must be short, simple, and very direct. You’ve really got to simplify this. I know that this is hard but there is not a lot of room on these banner ads and the more information that you try to cram on there the less likely that someone will read, or try to read it. Keep it to a few words, if you can’t manage to say what you want in a few words enlist the help of friends and family, ask them to define what it is that you do, or sell in five words or less. You may get a really clever saying to use by doing this.

Color and Animation

Keep colors eye catching but easy to look at and make sure that they match your site. Maybe it’s just me that prefers this but I’ve clicked on banner ads that looked really great and ended up on these hideous web pages. Try to match your ads to the look of your website.

Animation, please, please, please keep this simple and a short download. I don’t know how many times I’ve clicked off a page before the banner ad animation even started. Please make sure that you run your ad several times. Have others watch it, make sure that the download is reasonable. Don’t assume that everyone has DSL. Now you also don’t have to make allowances for older computers or bad connections but most of the country now has enhanced or accelerated connections. Make sure that your ad downloads quickly on an accelerated connection and you’re doing fine.

Call to Action

Apparently we’re all still highly suggestible since studies show that call to action words still work. Things like: call now, click here, and buy now. Try to work some call to action words into your content if you can, it won’t hurt.

Lastly for those of you working at home, or running your own business. Never underestimate the value of family and friends for critiques. They may not be able to tell you what is wrong with the way your ad looks but if they look at it and only say, “Eh, it’s okay." Then don’t use it. We all instinctively know what looks right or wrong. If you ask around and don’t get positive feedback from family and friends who love you and want your business to succeed then what do you think that a total stranger is going to think? Also before you even start creating your own ad, look around at what everyone else is doing. Decide what you like and don’t like about other ads that you see. And then don’t make the same mistakes.