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Use Banner Ads Like Billboards to Drive Visits

Banner ad design

Online banner advertising has powerful branding potential that helps visitors remember the name of a site and increases the odds that they will return again.

It has its place in any online promotional campaign.

Text ads on the search engine result pages build response, but banner ads build branding. Branding drives repeat business.

All advertising is a mix of branding and response. A TV commercial brands a car model, and the hoped-for response is for the customer to go to the dealership (a lead) and buy the car (a conversion).

Online Branding and Response

Pay per click contextual ads such as Google AdSense are almost entirely response, which means they are all about the click.

A pure cost per click strategy is a great way to achieve efficient spending with an advertising budget. It works well for certain business categories such as automotive and real estate. They are largely a single purchase that may not occur again for years.

Categories with frequent repeat purchases such as food, beverage, clothing and others have a much greater need for branding. It’s branding that often brings a customer back.

Imagine the impact on a world-famous product such as Coca Cola if it didn’t emphasize brand.

Branding in Web Ads

Look at the green type at the bottom of the typical search engine text ad. It usually shows the name of the website in a format that can’t be clicked. That’s branding, but its impact is almost nil.

In contrast to the small pay-per-click text ads, online banners are large on purpose. They have grown much larger over time.

The original horizontal or “leaderboard” ad was 468 pixels wide by 60 deep. It then grew into 728×90 and now is available in 970×90, 970×250 and other responsive sizes. The pillow or rectangle ad was 300×250 for a time and has grown into other options including 300×600.

The growth in their size is the result of a focus on more branding to compensate for the response rates of highly efficient, low branding text ads.

Notice the simplicity of good banner ads. They show the name of the advertiser in large type, typically have one simple graphic and include maybe a few other words.

They are designed only in part to get people to click on them. They are especially designed to get people to remember the name of the advertiser and visit the site either now or later. They want people to come back later and later again, again and again.

Those ads drive branding, awareness and frequency.

Design Them Like Billboards

If a business wants branding in a campaign, it should either create the ads or have them produced by an agency or the website running the campaign.

Regardless of who produces them, they should be designed much like outdoor billboards. Effective banner ads include:

  • The name of the site in large, prominent type
  • One simple graphic on a dominant impact image along with a small logo
  • A few more smaller words, such as a slogan
  • Possibly a call to action, such as “Click here”
  • If it doesn’t get too crowded, include a phone number because site visitors usually have a phone nearby. A phone call is often better than a click.

With so many ads crowding websites, a banner ad has only a moment to make an impression. It is no different than the impact of an outdoor billboard on a highway with cars driving by at 70 miles an hour. Like the banner ad, the outdoor billboard impact lasts only seconds.

Make the most of the opportunity to attract a visitor by making a Web banner ad that is brief, simple and effective.

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