Banner advertising is undoubtedly the most admired and common form of advertising on the Internet since its early days. Copywriters are always looking for new designs to grab the visitor’s attention and compel him to click on their banner. There are different ways to design a successful and effective banner. Besides some pretty universal ingredients there are a few tricks that are distinctive to online ad space. Applying all or most of them will always get you a higher click through for your various banners.

File size

The ideal file size of a web banner is 10kb or less. Since banners are usually displayed at the top of web pages, they should load before or with the main page text to seize the viewers' attention instantly. If the .gif or .jpg file is large it will take a few seconds to load and by then the visitor could have scrolled down the page. If people do not see your banner they certainly are not going to click on it.

Call to action clichés

Banners with "Click here", "Go", “Sign up now” or something alike increases the click-through rate by almost 20%. ‘Call to action’ serves as a visual indicator to increase the CTRs. It includes the fact that there is so much advertising off-line, such as TV, Radio, billboards etc. where target audiences watch or read the ad. Online ads bear a link to be clicked by the people taking them to the advertiser’s website. That's why having call to action improves the effectiveness of a banner.


Animated banners appeal the eye more than inactive banners do and generate almost 30% higher click-through rates than static banners. Animation with larger file sizes is a big disadvantage and is generally annoying to people. If your banner irritates them, they will most likely leave without clicking on it. You can get the required value of an animated .gif banner by decreasing both the number of colors used and vertical color change.

Excellent ad copy

Excellent ad copy provokes people to check into your product. Try to focus the benefits, not features of your product or service. The text should hold the banner punch line and should be short, simple, informative and pragmatic, making the viewer curious. Preferably, the copy should end with the same appealing phrase as on your web site unless the banner punch line is the same.

Fake element

Several successful banner ads lately contain fake elements as fake scroll bars, text links, selection boxes, text boxes, submit buttons etc. These fake banners are made by Print Screen button. Image is, then, cropped around the button or scroll bar area and pasted into a banner. These fake elements do so well since people believe they are clicking on a link to go to another page of the current site but in fact they are clicking on a banner.

Several banners for a single ad campaign

Don't crowd your banner with more than a single concept tied to a clear call to action. If there are multiple offerings that are relevant, use separate ad vehicles to communicate them. Start with 6-10 banners and keep rotating them. As the ad campaign progresses you'll come to know which banners are generating higher click-through rates. Track the success of each banner in terms of CPMs, CTRs and CPCs.

Efficient marketing mix

Rich media tends to produce a much higher CTR than animated GIF banners. A successful online marketing mix combines rich media with animated GIFs. Devise the finest mix to achieve your client's goals. Only flawless blend of creative, technical and media creates a successful online creative.

Something Free

Nothing entices a visitor more than the word "FREE!" in your banner. Naturally, you should only do this if you deliver what you have promised in the banner. Bespeak it promptly on your site; else the visitor would leave the page never to return again. Besides, it also generates some negative publicity.

Logo and URL

It is suggested to include the logo and the web site address in the banner if your ad campaign is a brand building exercise. For other types of banners, you might like to include both but make certain that they don't dilute the banner punch line or the copy. It's best to keep the logo and the URL together either on the right or the left side of the banner. The logo should be small and the URL should be in a very small font size.

Blue underlined text

Blue underlined text is known as links. Create a banner with blue underlined text written in common fonts such as Times, New Roman, Verdana or Arial if you are sure that the banner would be exposed on a web page with white background. The banner thus blends into the web page appearing to be a part of the content.

Remember that every person use different metrics to interpret the success of the banner. CTRs have been dropping. Some things can't be achieved in a few weeks. Altering people's perceptions and creating an online relationship with the brand takes a while.

No one can precisely anticipate the next trends of banner design. It’s up to some web designers to come up with a new effective insight. Undoubtedly in future we will see new ways of designing banners, chiefly when to a greater extent advertising budgets are being spent on the internet rather than on off-line advertising media.