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How to design a banner ad

An online banner ad can be an essential part of marketing

Creating a great banner ad can help you grab the attention of your target audience and increase traffic, leads, and sales. They’re a necessary component of your marketing approach in these digital days. Digital advertising may be on your radar to start doing but you also might be wondering how to begin the process of designing a banner ad and how to best address the task.

Keep in mind your goal is to get more clicks so you want to make sure you spend time creating the perfect banner ad. It’s not a project you want to tackle on a whim or put off until the last minute. Learn about how to create and design the perfect banner ad so you can apply basic design guidelines and reach your marketing goals. The result will be successful banner ads that you can be proud of and that will help you stand out among the competition.

Web Banner Design in Detail

Your first step is to better understand what a web banner design is and its purpose. It’s a popular and sought-after way to get in touch with your target market online visually. They come in all shapes and sizes and it’s all about creating a banner ad that’s the most clickable. In short, a banner ad is an advertisement that’s embedded on a webpage to showcase a product or brand through media and text which allows you to click to the company’s website. The reason why you might want to use banner ads as part of your marketing strategy is that they’re effective, affordable, measurable, and can quickly help increase brand awareness. So the question that needs to be answered next is how do you design a great banner ad that receives clicks?

Make A Plan

You can design the perfect and most clickable banner ad by having a plan in place that outlines your goals and what you wish to achieve with your banner. Avoid tackling this task without first thinking it through in detail and figuring out the objectives and results you wish to see. You must spend as much time planning your design as you do designing it. There are some questions you need to ask yourself as you map out what you want to design and how you want it to look. For instance, you should know what the goal of your banner ad is such as increasing conversions or building brand awareness. Always build and create your banner around your end goal.

Define Your Target Audience

An important step in the process of designing a banner ad is to define your target audience for it. Ask yourself who they are, what do they need and want, what problems are you trying to solve, and what’s going to get them to click the ad? You should already have a good idea of who your customers are but consider narrowing it down based on what you’re trying to sell. Do your homework and research and make sure you’re targeting your audience in a specific manner. If you try to appeal to too broad of an audience or the general public then you risk missing the mark and not receiving much interest in your banner ad. People want to be spoken to for a particular reason or purpose and not feel like they’re seeing a generic advertisement online. Find out more on what a target audiences is.

Gather Information & Resources

Consider what type of information you want to include and what resources you’ll need to get the job done. You may need a banner in a few different sizes or languages, for instance. Get someone who knows the language instead of relying on translation websites. Think about if you’ll need skilled designers or to work with a company or platform such as Fluid Ads as an effective way to design and deploy banner ads. Fluid Ads offers a fully managed display advertising service where all the design work is taken care of for you if you don’t have access to these types of resources and help. You’ll want to create a timeline and set a deadline for when you need the work completed by and when you plan to launch your banner ad.

Create Clear & Concise Copy

Make sure your text is instantly readable and easy to digest. The headline and body copy should be different sizes and no more than four lines in total. The copy is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to designing banner ads. It’s a chance to clearly communicate your offer to your audience and encourage them to take action. Keep it short, sweet, simple, and to the point. No one wants to read a bunch of text when skimming or clicking around online. Focus on thinking about what message you’re trying to convey and clearly state what you’re offering. There should be no errors with your spelling or grammar and avoid using cursive or fonts smaller than 10 pt. Focus on writing winning headlines that are constructed as an action.

Use Visual Elements & Animations

While you don’t want to distract away from your message, animated web banner ads typically perform better than static ones. You may even want to dabble with using video or dynamic ads but make sure you keep it relevant to your brand and offering. Regardless, you should use visual elements on your banner ads. It’s one of the most important aspects as you design your banner ad. Use visuals to create a sense of urgency so your audience feels motivated to take action. You can either use a solid-colour background or a photo background for your ad.

Be choosy about what colours you go with and figure out what emotion you’re trying to ignite in your audience. Remember that different colours have different meanings. If you have a white ad then best practice is to put a frame around it and always have a clearly defined frame around it with edges. Make sure you select a font that’s easy to read because you don’t want to cause your audience to feel distracted or frustrated. Your font should be large enough and not too close together. Your banner ad will be more eye-catching and attractive when you use graphics and images. However, do your best not to overcrowd your ad or make it appear too busy.

High-quality images are key to you getting your audience to click your banner ad.

Choose the Right Banner Size & Placement

You can design a banner ad by using the most effective and common banner sizes. Consider where it’s going and how much information you need to fit on it. The right size can help your banner stand out for all the right reasons. A few options that are highly recommended are as follows:

  • 728×90px — Leaderboard
  • 300×600px — Half Page
  • 300×250px — Medium Rectangle
  • 336×280px — Large Rectangle

Another design element to take into consideration is placing your banner ads correctly. Your best bet is to make sure your design is featured above the fold and nearby the main content of the page.

Furthermore, maintain hierarchy in your banner ad by achieving the right balance. Make sure you include your company logo, value proposition, and, most importantly, a call to action. Your call to action should clearly stand out and you may want to use phrases such as “learn more” or “get started.” The button should be placed on the lower right-hand side of your ad and be a contrasting colour.

Have A Dedicated Landing Page

There is a good reason why you should always have your banner ad linking to a dedicated landing page. If you ask someone to take an action then they want to be able to do it as soon as they click. Your landing page should match the offer in the ad and not make your audience take multiple steps to get to the end goal. If you send them to the main site then they may feel confused about what to do next or where to click next. Dedicated landing pages work because they are a natural step on the conversion path.

Be Consistent with Your Brand

Now isn’t a time to get too creative and completely take a different turn with your banner ad. Instead, you should be consistent with your brand to build awareness alongside other marketing channels. Consider the colours you use, the tone of voice and copy, and your message. It should be the same voice you use across all your other channels and in your other marketing campaigns. Keep in mind your banner ad will link up to and click to your offer or website. You want your banner ad to match the landing page so potential customers don’t become confused and click away.

Keep it Simple

If there’s one rule of thumb you follow when creating your banner ad, it’s to keep it simple. It includes elements such as your content, visuals, and call to action. Remember that users are likely to quickly glance at your banner ad and decide within seconds if they’re going to click or not. You have to be able to quickly grab and keep their attention and get your message across without causing any distraction or confusion. Trying to do too much or having too much unnecessary text may cause your viewer to feel overwhelmed or confused and to click away.

Perform Testing

Another important aspect of designing a banner ad is testing it. It’ll quickly tell you if your banner ads and design approach is working and improving over time. The most ideal way to test your banner ads is to use A/B testing. You can try different variations with this approach and see which is producing the most clicks, conversions, and sales. You can then use the most effective design as a foundation for future campaigns. You’ll quickly get a better idea of the general reaction from your audience and which design is the most functional and can drive results worth talking about. If you fail to test out your ads then you risk wasting time, money, and resources on banner ads that may not perform well.

Next Steps

If you need help designing your banner ad because you’re not a professional designer or are busy running your business, then consider using a platform such as Fluid Ads to get the job done right. Fluid Ads has grown to take on the market leaders and become the standard for digital display advertising. Using the ad builder feature and function you can:

  • Quickly create beautifully engaging and effective Digital Ads and Ad Templates in no time
  • Easy to use design tools for any skill set
  • Multi-shape time saver with fully responsive designs
  • Automatically cascade creative changes to one tag
  • Deliver campaigns in-platform or use agnostic tags to use on another network
  • Powerful and feature-packed for any HTML5 Ad style

Book a demo or get in touch with us today. Sign up for your account and play before you pay with our Ad Builder and Campaign functionality, you only pay when you want to send your campaigns live through the platform or when you download your tags to send your campaigns live through a different display network.


These tips and pieces of advice will help you to design a banner ad and reach your goals with your online marketing. Implement these best practices and you’ll be on your way to designing better banners that get noticed.

It’s not a task that you should take lightly or rush through. Make sure you have plenty of time to make a plan and follow through with these suggestions. Be patient and learn from your mistakes along the way. Make sure you track your results and know what’s working and what’s not. You can always make adjustments and changes for the next time around. Consider your banner size, background, headline, images, CTA, and landing page to help you create the perfect banner ad that will get noticed and clicked on. Have fun with it and think through what you want to tell people to help you keep it concise.

To find out more about our digital advertising platform or our fully managed display ad campaign survive, contact one of our customer success managers today.

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