Website Banners: Get to Know Them and Get Inspired

June 2022

Traditional marketing differs from digital marketing and advertising in countless ways. Still, whether marketers operate in the physical or the virtual world, they share one common goal: they thrive on the attention of potential customers.

Banners are a popular form of internet advertising because they do just that. They are affordable, actionable, and effective at conveying straightforward messages, which makes them the go-to option for CTAs, notifications, and sparking clients’ interest.

Ironically, the popularity of banners may as well be their biggest flaw. Each month, the average person gets exposed to more than 1700 banner ads but only sees half of them. Therefore, if you want to ensure that your ads end up in the better half, you need to help them stand out.

Luckily, modern banners offer much-needed variety, and the internet is brimming with creative ideas. Let’s see how to use insight and inspiration to make your banners draw the right type of attention.


Why website banners?

Because, despite being a relatively simple form of advertisement, banners offer a range of benefits. Here are some of them:

  • Generating consumer interest — Creative, rich-media banners excel at drawing the attention of large audiences.
  • Increasing brand awareness — Thanks to their wide reach, banner ads effectively build company image, trust, and customer loyalty.
  • Motivation for action — simple and eye-catching banners are the perfect format for CTAs and actionable messages.
  • Flexibility — Banners come in various shapes, sizes, and forms, including interactive formats such as polls, sliders, or games.
  • Precise targeting — Banners allow you to connect particular audiences with the ads that match user location, interest, website topic, display time, and other parameters.

Add a relatively low cost of banner campaigns to the equation, and you have the answer.

Where to place banners?

The answer is simple: almost everywhere! Banners can help you achieve specific marketing goals depending on where you place them.

  • Websites — A banner on your website will help you promote your product or service (eBook, newsletter, etc.). However, remember about banner blindness—if you place too many banners on your website, then the user will not notice any of them!
    • Banner advertising on a large popular platform with a high proportion of the target audience can create a solid image of your company and tell the maximum number of potential buyers about your product or service. 
    • A banner on websites with a specific industry will help you reach a particular customer base faster and at a lower cost.
  • Social media — Banners on social media work on the same principle as on websites. They aid you in acquiring new customers and creating interest in people to buy your product or service. 
  • Emails — Email banners are an effective way to promote your company, increase recognition, and set the tone for the rest of your email.

Now, let’s look at the two main types of banner ads.

Static and rich-media banners

In general, ad banners fall into one of two categories: static and rich media.

  • Static — Also called graphic or standard banners, these are static or animated images in .png, .jpeg, .gif, or .swf format. The formats and sizes of these banners depend on the technical capabilities of the website.
  • Rich media — Rich media banners communicate with users through interactive and multimedia content. In the past, flash technology was used to create them. Nowadays, these banners use JavaScript and HTML5 technologies, making them look much better and more interesting than other banner formats.

Both static and rich-media banners have their advantages and specific applications. Let’s look at the benefits of both.

Benefits of static banners

Static doesn’t have to be boring, and it certainly doesn’t mean ineffective. On the contrary, static banners offer a range of advantages over their rich-media counterparts.

1. Cost-efficiency — A static banner-based campaign is a cost-effective method of advertising your products or services because these ads are much cheaper to produce than animations, interactive banners, or fully-fledged advertisement clips. That’s not to say that they can’t be just as interesting—after all, limitation breeds creativity.

Knight character holding a Red Bull can and a CTRL button with text above Take ctrl of the game. and below Red Bull gives you wings.This Red Bull banner aimed at the gamer audience combines clever copy and image, two elements that are the mainstay of virtually any ad. They don’t require a million-dollar budget—all you need is imagination!

2. Safety — Thanks to their low cost, static banner ads are usually low-risk and safe for virtually everything. Static banners are a good option when you don’t know what to expect from your target audience or when you don’t have enough information about them, for instance, when addressing a general public.

FinalStraw's banner The greatest advancement in sucking technology–since, like, foreverAnother use case is experimentation. Bold ideas like FinalStraw’s playful copy may or may not work out, and a static banner campaign is a safe testing ground.

3. Simplicity — Classic banners are good when you desire to send out a simple message packed with impact. The space is limited, so you must keep the copy concise and focus on your messaging.

Brita Great taste, less waste.Brita got straight to the point in its banner campaign, conveying its core values in just four words. Plus, they get bonus points for the catchy rhyme.

4. Unobtrusiveness — Static banner ads require less attention and engagement, which can sometimes actually be a good thing. Imagine, for example, that you’re targeting readers of long-form content. They are less likely to pause reading to watch a video. Instead, they may get annoyed by the distractive ad. As a subtle advertising format, static banners get readers’ attention for long enough to get the message but not for long enough to irritate them.

The New York Times This is when journalism matters the most.The New York Times uses a white background, bold lettering, and a powerful, convincing message in a banner that blends into the website while remaining distinctive.

5. Clarity — Static banners are good at making a clear point, providing the users with exactly what they need to know. Because sometimes, presenting your offer or the product is enough, especially when the ad is precisely targeted.

Red-purple illustration Make it with Creative Cloud. Apps for photography, design, video, and web from US$9.99/mo.Adobe lets its Creative Cloud tool speak for itself. It’s all here: why users need it, what’s in the package, and how much it costs, with a solid dash of vivid color to spice it up.

Benefits of rich-media banners

As you can see, static banners can be very effective, but rich media truly make you stand out from the banner crowd. Here’s how they achieve it:

1. Engagement — Interactive, rich-media banners encourage viewers to engage with the ad and its message. Engagement means more time spent with the ad and more exposure to its content. Both increase your chances of a higher click-through rate and generate brand awareness.

Smart solutions for any space. Click and drag to resize this banner.When clicked and dragged, this modest but playful banner reveals the company and its clever concept.

Floor plan of IKEA room with a sofa, TV, dining table, and chairsThe rumor has it that there are people able to resist the urge to try at least four different “room” sizes when interacting with this brilliantly captivating display ad.
That’s certainly not us.

2. Attention — Movement and special effects of rich-media banners immediately catch the user’s eye. These features also make rich-media banners unmistakable for other website elements.

Animation of two runners running the opposite way with yellow-pink shoes and the Nike logoNike’s simple but sleek animated banner conveys the brand image in a way no static image could. It’s crisp, fast, and links with physical activity all at once.

3. Character — Rich-media banners excel at building the company’s identity and narrative. The former helps your brand become recognizable and likable, which is crucial for any marketing effort. The latter achieves the same while telling an interesting story. And if there’s anything we all have in common, it’s the love for good stories.

Stacking boxes inside the fridgeWells Fargo took a different approach with a box-stacking interactive ad that has users fit as many meals as possible inside a virtual fridge. The a-ha moment comes right after the game when users discover that it’s an ad for a subscription management service. Clever!

4. Fun — Nothing less, nothing more. Be it a short video, image carousel, or an interactive minigame, rich-media ads are generally more entertaining and enjoyable for the user than static banners.

Volkswagen puzzle game. The new Golf. A drive less ordinary.Ads like these make it easy to see why. Who needs another photo of a new Volkswagen when you can go for a short but highly engaging game and top it off with a witty slogan.

Conclusion

Banners have been with us since the dawn of the internet, but—as you can tell—they’re not going anywhere. There are many great reasons for that, from their flexibility and simplicity to affordability and effectiveness. For the same reasons, banners remain a great option to expand your company’s online presence. So, get your creative juices flowing and prepare to stand out! Of course, you can count on our support, as always😉

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