In the brave new world of digital marketing, banner ads might seem old school. Newer options such as paid search, SEO and video advertisements generate all the buzz. Yet there’s still a place for banner ads placed on websites that have sufficient traffic with the right demographics. That’s why Hollister Creative still designs them for clients like 1406 Financial.

Banner ads like this one for 1406 Financial can help build brand awareness


Before we tell you what banner ads are good for, let’s quickly dispel the notion that they are going to drive a lot of traffic to your website. Studies show the average click-through rate, or percentage of viewers who click on a banner ad, is less than one-tenth of one-percent.

Banner ads like the one for 1406 Financial above are most effective for building brand awareness. You are buying “impressions” — the number of people who see the page, or section of a page, where your ad appears. Impressions can be especially valuable to little-known brands trying to clear the big hurdle called “never heard of them.”

Potential customers who don’t need your product or service immediately won’t click through, but down the road when they want what you offer, your brand will be among the ones they’ve “heard of.” The few who do have an immediate need are the most likely to click through, so the small amount of traffic you get is most likely from shoppers deciding which company to buy from.

Here are some tips on making the most of a banner ad:

  • Design in the proper size. According to Google AdSense, the most successful sizes are large rectangle, 336 x 280 pixels; medium rectangle, 300 x 250 pixels; leaderboard, 728 x 90 pixels; and wide skyscraper, 160 x 600 pixels.
  • Include the right information. To build brand awareness, include the company logo, value proposition and a call to action that is risk-free, such as “Click here for a free report.”
  • Instill a sense of urgency. To encourage clicks from the shoppers most ready to buy, feature an “act now” message such as “10% off … limited time offer.”
  • Keep it simple. The design should be as clean and simple as a highway billboard. Impressions take place in the blink of an eye, so use easy-to-read fonts and provide plenty of contrast between the background color and the text.
  • Get animated. Animated banner ads usually out-perform static ads. But a word of caution: Ads that annoy the user or distract from the message are counterproductive.
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