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Oh, You Want that Banner to be Effective?

Posted on April 24, 2012 and read 3,316 times

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julia casale Oh, You Want that Banner to be Effective?Julia Casale
Chief Marketing Officer
Casale Media

We deliver more than one billion banner ads daily at Casale Media and, as you might imagine, a whole lot of advertising artwork flows through our platform.  We’ve seen it all: the good, the bad and the ugly. A big part of the work we do for clients involves monitoring the impact of every campaign that we run in accordance with the brand’s objectives and, in our experience, it’s the quality of creative used that can make all the difference.

Over the years we’ve accumulated quite a bit of insight into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to top performing online banner ads. Amazingly, that which is pretty doesn’t always perform.

It does not matter if you are a graphic designer, a flash developer or a creative director, nor whether you’re knee deep in creating artwork for online banner ads, or are just looking to get started, the job of a creative is a tough one. Your work needs to strike a balance between your personal passion for design and the goals and wants of your client.

Below you’ll find our top 5 tips for creating banner ads that not only look good, but generate bottom line results that will delight your clients to no end:

1.) Include a prominently displayed call-to-action.  “Click here”, “learn more”, “subscribe”, “order now… including a strong call-to-action in your banner design may seem obvious, but it really works.  It reminds your audience to interact with the advertisement.  Do you want them to click through?  Fill out a survey?  Play a game? Activate a video? Don’t assume that your audience will “get it” on their own. A banner ad can never be too obvious. Spell out what you want them to do with a visible message that is easy to understand.

2.) Evaluate the ad from your audience’s point of view.  While it is important to maintain the “elements of design” and produce a well composed banner, it is also important to think about how your audience will react to the overall experience.  Where will they look first?  How much text is too much?  What colours will stand out best?  What size font is legible?  All of these little components and more add to a richer user experience, and thus a more effective ad.

3.) See the forest for the trees.  If the ad campaign you are working on contains multiple ad units that are intended to run in tandem on the same page, make sure that you take the time to view all your ads playing together in a single view (as they would appear while in flight).  Check for visual flow, harmony between colors, messaging consistency, font consistency, etc.  Tandem ads should build upon (not compete against) each other.

4.) Check for visual consistency beyond your project’s scope.  If you are designing banners that are intended to run as part of a larger cross-channel campaign, whenever possible make sure that you refer to other campaign assets (e.g. print ads, billboards, commercials) to ensure that your project harmonizes well with the overall campaign experience.

5.) Triple-check, then check again.  Is the copy spelled correctly?  Is the client’s logo crisp?  It doesn’t matter if these elements were provided to you – it is vital that you conduct a thorough quality check of the assets you are working with up front to avoid unnecessary rework and client disappointment.
Now that you’re armed with tips for developing amazing display ads, why not put your creative prowess to the test?  The Engagement Directive is a global competition open to creative newbies and pros worldwide with up to $15,000 in cash prizes to be won. Learn more at and be sure to submit your entry by June 1st.




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