New media marketing 101 series: #3 Banners

19 Jan
I was looking for my banner, officer

I was looking for my banner, officer.

Everyone clicks banners. But it’s not as simple as it seems. Banner fatigue is something that is more and more common, so try to be original and create something people want to see and preferably click on too.

This is edition 3 of the New media marketing 101 series.

There are four distinc categories that you have to hold into account:


  • A banner is a banner but you have a lot of different sizes. Using standard sizes is always a good idea as you can use one banner for a lot of different sites. The IAB has set standards for years and keeps them up to date. Follow these and you won’t get in trouble (much). If you work with bigger sites with cms systems and traffic report services, they will have their own ways so be sure to contact them with for a specifications sheet.
  • If your budget and time allows it, try different sizes and choose the one that suits the campaign best. It’s no use to publish three banners on the same page unless the message warrants it. Try to spread the sizes around so the viewers don’t get bored with it.
  • Do not use audio (!) unless absolutely necessary and even then ask user consent to play it.
  • This may be the easiest tip: Use easily distinguishable colors and fonts. Your banner can be a work of art but if it’s not legible people won’t click on it. Keep in mind, you have probably been designing it for a while, so a fresh pair of eyes can come in handy. Ask a colleague or friend to look at it and give feedback. (Don’t ask your boss untill you are absolutely sure)


  • Your message is the most important thing on the banner. No colour scheme, animation, sound can replace the effect of a good message.
  • Send a clear call to action. Don’t beat around the bush, if you want people to buy, say “buy”.
  • The content of your banner is the most important thing. You want your reader to get the message. Keep it clear and consice. “50% off all new cars! Buy now!” is all it takes. Your banner can be amazing. If the message does not appeal to your audience, it will get no clicks.


  • As you roll out a big campaign, you are distined to publish your banners on different sites. So do your research. No two site audiences are the same. So communicate differently with them. Whether it’s using a different messages or different colors or just a different position of the banner, every bit of info can be put to good use.
  • If you decide to change the message around, it’s handy to use xml where possible. This way, you only have to create one banner and you can change the txt around as much as you want, even during the campaign.


  • Read up on the standards of the IAB. It’s a good guideline.
  • If you create a heavy animation, chances are that the weight of the banner will go through the roof. People don’t wait for sites to load, so they won’t wait for your banner either. Balance weight and look when designing the finished product. Question if the juice is worth the squeeze.
  • As said earlier: ask specifications from the site you will be published on. They probably have a document ready and if they don’t, IAB rules will cover the basics.

So to summon up: content is king, do your research and follow the rules.

If you think this is handy, why not read the other articles in this series:
New media marketing 101 series: #1 the Blog
New media marketing 101 series: #2 Social Network Sites


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Posted by on January 19, 2009 in Advertising, internet


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