Some banners are so brilliantly designed that they grab your attention despite several competing elements. Others are so poorly executed that you wouldn’t even notice they are there. And, even if you do, you’ll most likely click, “I don’t want to see this ad.”
So, what's the secret to creating business banners that shine? An effective banner has a clear call to action, speaks to the target audience's needs, and is visually appealing.
Before dealing with the creative elements of your banner—like how big the logo should be or the ideal background image to use—you need to be clear on three things: your goal, target audience and platform.
Your goal is your North Star metric. It determines the overall direction of your banner from the copy and call-to-action to the visual elements like color and font. Creative banners can quickly go out of scope, especially when there’s no collaboration between your creative and marketing teams. Having one goal (and clear communication) keeps things on track for everyone.
When you know your goal, you can decide on the kind of support you need to achieve it on time. For example, you might need to hire external experts like Superside to handle some aspects of the banner design process. Or, you might need to get your leadership team to approve a larger budget for the project execution.
Tie your banner ad goal to your overall business objectives. As we explain in our video below:
“An effective ad drives business results. Whether you're looking to build your brand awareness, generate leads or increase sales, an effective ad should help you achieve all those goals, and a great ad will help you surpass them.”
For example, if you’ve launched a new product, you can create banner ads for lead generation to drive customer acquisition. And, if you’re an early-stage startup trying to get in front of your target audience, your banner ads should be part of your brand awareness strategy.
In 2012, Levi’s, an American fashion company, launched a marketing campaign for its new jeans for women tagged “Hotness Comes in All Shapes and Sizes.” The ad was supposed to suggest that Levi’s jeans look good on any woman, regardless of body type. The only problem? The models in the banner were all slimmer than the average American woman. Of course, the campaign was met with a lot of backlash. This is a classic example of what happens when you create any ad without truly understanding your audience.
In-depth audience research provides valuable insights that you can use to make your banner appeal to your audience's preferences, experiences, and pain points, making it more effective. You can, for instance, discover the platforms where your audience is most active, increasing the chances that they will interact with your banner.
At Superside, we think you need to know your audience in words and data.
Relying on data alone will only get you so far. Don't just send out surveys; have conversations with real people. Talk to your customers and potential customers. Learn their struggles and how they talk about them. See what your users or customers are currently saying about your brand. Look at comments, engagement, and social posts and try to understand what resonates with them.
You'll get the right words to use for your ad copy and creative concept ideas. You can send customer surveys but make them short and thematic. Send one asking about their interests and another asking where they spend their time online. Be curious.
You must choose your ad platform early to tailor your banner to fit the platform’s compulsory and recommended specifications. With this approach, your ad will perform optimally and you can avoid wasting resources on shipping, recalling, and fixing a poorly-fit banner.
These specifications differ from one platform to the other. For example, Facebook banners must not have a file size of more than 30MB, while the maximum file size for LinkedIn banner ads is 5MB. Google AdSense has recommendations for top-performing ad sizes. If you’re putting your banner up on multiple platforms, optimize it to meet these different requirements rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.
The most important rule for choosing a platform is to go where your audience is. LinkedIn display ads are a great option if you're targeting C-level professionals. If you’re targeting GenZers, your ideal platform would be TikTok or Instagram. You should also consider factors like your budget and the degree of personalization and customization the platform supports.
You should pay attention to these four things when designing your banner ad.
Hierarchy means setting up the different elements of your banner design in a way that draws attention to the most important information. You must have seen the image below making rounds on social media: it’s a great example of how visual hierarchy plays out.
The bold and centered text draws the reader's attention first, whereas the text at the top of the banner is read last, despite its position, because it is not as prominent as the others.
To achieve visual hierarchy, consider how your logo, value proposition and call-to-action interact on your banner.
Your logo should be visible so your audience can easily identify your brand. But it should not be the most dominant element on the banner. You can see how Superside created this ad for Salesforce and HIMSS that achieves this. The logos make their presence known, but they don't take away from the overall message of the ad.
Your value proposition is the benefit your audience gets from engaging with your ad. Value propositions should be bold and clear, and take up the most space on the banner, so your target audience notices them immediately. Here’s a prime set of examples that Superside created for Mitto. The value proposition is clear and the customer can immediately understand what Mitto can offer.
Use direct action phrases like “download now”, and “sign up”, so the reader knows what exactly happens when they click that button.
Your call-to-action button should be distinct from the other elements on your banner so it’s easy to spot.
Typography defines the style and overall appearance of the text on your banner. You should pay attention to two crucial typography elements if you want your creative banner to be clear, legible and visually appealing to the reader.
Choose bold Serif and San Serif fonts like Arial, Calibri and Times New Roman so your banner text is clear and easy to read. Avoid cursive and script fonts like Pacifico and Lobster, as these are more aesthetic than legible. And once you choose a font, stick with it throughout the banner.
Make sure your font size is at least 12pt. This is generally the size of legal disclaimers, and you don’t want to go smaller than that for your banner copy, except perhaps for copyright notices and disclaimers. If you have a headline, it should be about 16pt font size and formatted in bold.
You can create a visually appealing banner by nailing typography, copy and colors. But, to make your banner more attention-grabbing, add an image or a simple illustration that is relevant to your core message.
For example, you can see the added value and eye-catching quality that a unique design can bring to an ad through this work Superside created for Quattr.
Overall, you need to ensure any images or illustrations on your banner do not distract readers from the core message and the action you want them to take.
Read this article to learn more about experimenting with illustrations in your creative banners.
Emotion, brand guidelines and placement are the essential factors to consider when choosing the right colors for your ad creatives.
Choose a color that matches your emotional response to your banner. People associate specific colors with emotions. For example, green is often associated with agriculture and growth. Purple is associated with royalty.
As much as possible, choose color combinations that align with your brand guidelines to boost brand recognition among your target audience. Keep your banner's colors in sync with your overall visual identity.
Make sure your banner ad colors contrast with the platform's background where the ad would be placed. This allows your banner to stand out rather than blend in. For example, if the website has a dark blue background, you can use colors like white or yellow to stand out.
There are three things you should do once your banner goes live to ensure you make the most out of it:
Ensure your banner is reaching the right audience and that the audience is taking the necessary action.
Rotate your ads every two weeks to keep them fresh and engaging.
Do this on organic channels like social media to support your banner and achieve your desired results.
Want to create brilliant ad banners? Get started with a dedicated design team for less than the cost of a junior designer that can quickly scale up to support an entire enterprise with a fully-stacked creative team built for your needs.
Sofie is an SEO and content specialist. From being a journalist at your daily news television broadcast, to producing films and writing travel blogs; she has ended up at the more technical side of content and has a nose for sniffing out the creative pieces that will make your competitors look like digital noobs.
When not busy operationalising Content, she is happily cooking up a storm, hiking through the mountains or searching for the best flight tickets to her next travel destination.
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