A web banner or banner ad is a type of online advertising delivered by an ad server and involves embedding an advertisement into a web page. The purpose of a banner ad is to drive traffic to a website or landing page by direct linking to the website of an advertiser for the purpose of getting a prospect to take a pre-designated action––whether it’s to subscribe, register or buy.
A banner ad is a special type of hypertext link, only instead of text the link is displayed in a box containing graphics (usually with textual elements) and sometimes animation (i.e., flash banners).
Why Banner Ads Are Important In Affiliate Marketing
Banner ads are one of the fundamental building blocks of an affiliate marketing campaign. Affiliates use banner ads to deliver their sales message to prospects, and in turn generate click-throughs and drive qualified traffic to their websites and landing pages in order to make sales of a product or service.
Banner ads incorporate relatively simple pieces of HTML code, but they have immense importance in the grand scheme of online marketing. Due to its graphic element, a banner ad is similar to a traditional print ad, but it has the added ability to drive a customer directly to the advertiser’s website where they can then make a purchase or take some other pre-designated action.
Standard Banner Sizes (dimensions in pixels)
There are a lot of different standard sizes of banner ad, but the Full Banner (469X60) is by far the most frequently used size on the Internet today. There’s no universal file-size constraint imposed on banner ads, but most websites will try to keep their banners within the 12K to 16K range. That’s because the bigger the banner file-size, the slower it takes to load on the page and the more likely it is to get glossed over by the reader.
Types of Banner Creative
The graphical content of banner ads, known as the “creative”, varies widely depending on the advertiser. The simplest banner ads feature only one static GIF or JPEG image, which is linked to the advertiser’s Home Page. A more common type of creative is the GIF-animated banner ad, which displays a series of images in succession, sometimes to create the effect of animated motion.
Another less common format is the “rich media” banner ad. These are banner ads that use audio, video, Java and Shockwave to deliver their impact. Rich media ads are bigger files and are usually interactive beyond their basic linking function.
Do Your Research
There is one consistent theme among affiliates who are successful at media buying: they do their research. Spending a large portion of time researching before getting started will pay off. Make sure to find out who your competitors are, what keywords they use, what banner ads they’re running, and where they place these banners.
There are several competitive intelligence tools that can help you research keywords. The Google Keyword tool is the most well known, followed by What Runs Where http://www.whatrunswhere.com/?a_aid=rw
Some other tools worth reviewing include:
- Mixrank – http://mixrank.com
- Adbeat – http://www.adbeat.com
- Adthena – http://www.adthena.com
- Quantcast – https://www.quantcast.com
- Google Display Planner – http://www.google.com/think/products/display-planner.html
- Alexa – http://www.alexa.com
Best Practices For Building Banner Ads
There are best practices an affiliate can follow when creating banner ads. Here are a few of the most important ones to keep in mind:
- Make sure the banner ad content is relevant to the sales page it links to
- Keep ad text short, simple & impactful
- Include a strong, clear to call-to-action (Buy Now, Try Now, Learn More, etc.)
- Make one clear value proposition to the customer
- Highlight the unique selling point of the offer in the ad text
- Use creative language or unique selling angles to grab the customer’s attention
- Use eye-grabbing complimentary colour schemes in the banner design
- When using multiple frames, make sure the timing between images gives the reader enough time to scan the content
- Don’t use excessive frames (try to keep it to 3 or 4 at most)
- Include trust badges and branding elements