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3 January 2019  /  
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Top 10 tips for effective banner ad design


There’s no doubt about it – online marketing is becoming increasingly challenging. With so many products and information contending for attention, how in the (digital) world should you make your brand stand out in a website?

Banner ads, also known as web banners, are a form of digital advertising on a webpage that aims to send traffic to a specific page or site. And these ads, done correctly, can be an amazingly effective yet affordable way to increase brand awareness and even conversion.

According to a Google study, the banner ad for their Android Wear campaign in 2014 increased brand recall by 15.8% and intent to buy by 9.4%*.

Banner ads are definitely a useful tool that you can bank on, but there are certain things to keep in mind if you are serious about creating result-generating banners.

Tips and guidelines for designing banner ads

1. Banner placement – position effectively

No matter how brilliant your banner is, it is useless if nobody sees it. Positioned your ad in a place that is easily viewed, usually above the fold and close to the main content of the page. Remember: a banner that is beautifully and effectively designed will mean nothing if it cannot be seen.

2. Blend in, but stand out

Your banner ad should complement the sites where it is featured. You wouldn’t want your banner to stick out like a sore thumb, but neither would you want it to blend in so much that it gets overlooked. A great banner fits in with the overall design of a website, yet stands out enough to encourage visitors to click on it.

3. Emphasise the value proposition

How will your product or service benefit your customers? Why should they buy from you and not your competitor? A value proposition deals with those questions and sets you apart, making it one of the most important messages to get across. Hence, this should occupy the most space in your banner ad, and be highlighted for all to see.

4. Tell your customers what to do

The next most important message to include in the banner ad is the call to action. Letting people know that you’re having a storewide sale is great, but what should they do if the offer piques their interest? Tip them over the edge and convert them into a customer with a call to action! Use text or buttons with simple phrases like ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Start your trial today’. Speaking of buttons…

5. Use buttons appropriately

Buttons are a great way to increase the click-through rate (CTR) of your ad. But if you are planning to use them, remember to place them after your copy in contrasting colours so that they pop and are hard to miss. This is not a good time to play ‘hide and seek’ or ‘spot the button’.

6. Less is more

We are all for creativity and being experimental. But, did you know that most people spend fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page?** Which means, you should probably keep your banner design as simple and straightforward as possible, so that the message can get across in 2 seconds before the visitor wanders off.

7. Make your text instantly readable

Forget cursive fonts or extremely thin font weight. Don’t even consider font sizes smaller than a 10 pt. You need to make your text readable at a glance, instead of having the viewer stop and squint. Guide the eyes along with different font sizes for headlines and body copy. And, if possible, keep all copy to four lines or less – get to the point!

8. Choose the right colours

Colours are powerful. Different colours evoke different emotions; some colours draw people in, some push them away. Colours are also subjective and may have different meanings in different cultures. As colour will be the first thing a viewer notices in your banner ad, keep your target audience in mind when choosing your colours.

9. Use relevant graphics

Go for images and photos that are relevant to your message and/or directly related to your product, unless there is a specific point you want to make. And always use high quality images, because nobody likes blurry, unattractive pictures. Also, remember that it is not always necessary to include images in your banner ads. Again, less is more.

10. Animate your banner

Animated banner ads are on trend right now, as they stand out and usually outperform static banners. Most people would spend more time watching an animation or video, so animated banners can be used to deliver a more complex story or message. Having said that, be careful not to let the animation distract the viewer from the actual message of your ad.

How to design banners that look good on desktop and mobile

Your web banners needs to be able to respond and adapt to the device used to view the site, whether a desktop, a phone or a tablet. As the user switches from the laptop to the phone, for instance, the site should automatically switch to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities. It also allows you to maintain consistency when it comes to your brand image on all major devices.


The banners on the desktop and mobile devices in the example above have the same information and imagery. However, pay attention to the different layout in both devices. Everything is in its proper position, and we are able to read the text in the mobile device comfortably.

Using the same banner on desktop and mobile means that the banner would have appeared smaller, the text could have been unreadable, and the call-to-action button might not be visible or clear.

As such, it is often a bad idea to use the exact same banner for both desktop and mobile designs.

Points to keep in mind when designing banners

  • HTML banners are easier to view and to read on any device.
  • HTML banners are much smaller in file size than a single image, which means a faster loading speed.
  • Use different elements in your banner – text, video, image, scripts and forms can be used on the banner.

These are just some of the banner ad design guidelines that can help you create effective ads to increase click-through rate. But then again, it does take a lot more to create truly awesome banners, so if you want to know more, speak to us today!