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A Beginner's Guide to Banner Advertising

Understand the importance of banner advertising and why you should add this type of display advertising to your marketing strategy.

When crafting your brand's marketing strategy, you have many options. Not only can you choose between traditional and digital marketing tactics, but within each category, there are several strategies to choose from. Of course, what works best for your business depends on your available resources, budget, and audience.

When searching for the best digital marketing solutions to promote your business and attract more customers, you'll come across many different possibilities, ranging from organic to paid digital advertising strategies. However, while both options have pros and cons, many agree that paid ads can help you get results faster.

But which online ads should your business invest in? There are two types of consideration: image and text-based, or display and search ads. Display ads are ideal for companies with lots of imagery to choose from to showcase their products and services, and one effective type of display advertising is banner ads.

What are banner ads?

A banner ad is a type of digital advertising that focuses on images rather than text. Of course, there is still ad copy, but the image is one of the most important aspects because it can grab an audience's attention.

Display ad banners are rectangular ads you find on all types of websites, from blogs to national publications. You can also find banner ads in email marketing if you receive newsletters from publishers.

Essentially, banner ads are to digital marketing what billboards are to traditional marketing; they grab someone's attention in hopes of that person taking action.

Clickable banner ads can be found on the top, side, or bottom of a website, and they're used to drive traffic to a business website. They're a type of pay-per-click (PPC) ad that allows businesses to attract attention.

Banner ads can be used in several ways by publishers. For example, magazines may have a department that sells banner ad space for their online publication, selling directly to businesses. Meanwhile, display networks and banner advertising platforms allow businesses to target specific types of websites and their audiences.

The main goal of banner advertising is to generate traffic. A website visitor clicks the banner ad and is taken to the company's website or landing page to claim an offer or learn more about the business.

Banners can be used to promote brand awareness and generate leads. However, they have lower conversion rates because they're a more intrusive form of marketing than search engine optimization (SEO) or content marketing. Still, they're a great option for companies who want to improve brand awareness and generate buzz about products and services.

How do banner ads work?

As we've mentioned, you can use banner advertising with a dedicated display advertising platform or by working directly with a publisher to promote your brand. You can use many banner ad networks, including Google Display Network and AdRoll, to begin developing display advertising campaigns. With banner ad networks, you can effectively target certain websites based on their audience, niche, and location.

These ads can be static or dynamic, in which certain elements on the ad move to attract more attention from website visitors. Remember, the ultimate goal of banner ads is to generate traffic to your website; they're only part of a larger campaign, which may consist of driving traffic to a particular website or landing page to promote sales or generate leads.

Once your banner ad is published on a host site, you'll pay by click, impression, or action, depending on your goals. For example, you can create Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram banner ads and pay per click. When you set up your campaign, you'll bid on ad placement in your selected websites or publications and pay based on results.

If you use Google Display Ads, you can set up your campaign to only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Therefore, you won't pay for every impression (or every time someone sees your ad), allowing you to save money on both brand awareness and conversion PPC campaigns.

On average, internet uses receive over 1,700 banner ads per month, but only actually see half of them.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of banner advertising?

Banner ads are an effective marketing strategy to help you increase website traffic and convert more visitors into paying customers. However, to determine whether it's the right option, you should consider its pros and cons.

Advantages of banner ads

The advantages of banner advertising for businesses include the following:


Banner ads are a cost-effective way to market your business, increase website traffic, and grow your audience quickly. Compared to organic methods, banner ads allow you to increase traffic as soon as your ads are published instead of waiting for results. In addition, you can set a budget and ensure you don't go over it by using a platform that allows you to pay for results rather than impressions.

Increase brand awareness

While banner ads can effectively promote lead generation, they're best for increasing brand awareness because they don't need website visitors to click to view the ad. Instead, your banner ad will be displayed on various websites to be seen by thousands of people every day.


Like other types of digital marketing strategies, banner ads allow you to measure your results to determine what's working and what isn't. With each banner ad you create, you can measure everything from impressions to clicks and click-through rates (CTRs) to brainstorm new ways to entice viewers to click your ad.

In addition, display ad networks allow you to create A/B tests to determine which design elements and advertising copy works best to attract more customers.

Easy to create

Anyone can create banner ads to improve their online advertising strategy. If you create a graphic, you can start using banner ads. In addition, you can work with graphic designers to create banner ads for you or digital marketers to run your campaigns and provide you with results.


Banner ads allow you to effectively target your audience in several ways. First, you can target specific publications in the same niche as yours. For example, if you sell pet products, you might target a popular online consumer pet magazine. In addition, you can target your audience based on demographics like age and gender, interests, or even behavior to ensure you're serving them relevant ads that make them more likely to take action.


If you have website visitors who haven't taken action yet, consider remarketing them with banner ads. Remarketing is the process of finding ways to bring past website visitors back to encourage them to take action. You can use banner ads to remarket your audience based on their actions on your site.

For example, if someone visits a product page but doesn't checkout, you can target them with a banner ad to bring them back. In addition, you can target existing customers to keep your brand at the top of their minds.

Disadvantages of banner advertising

Unfortunately, no digital marketing strategy is perfect, and there are some pros to banner advertising for businesses, including the following:

Lower CTRs

Banner ads (and display ads in general) have a lower click-through rate than other types of ads, like search ads, because they're more intrusive, and people have trained themselves to ignore them. Banner ads have a drastically lower CTR because individuals aren't looking for a brand's products or services when they come across one.

Consider this banner ad example: You're reading an online publication about cars when you see a banner ad for an electric vehicle (EV). How likely will you click off the page you're already reading to learn about that particular car?

Not very likely because you weren't looking for it in the first place. With search ads, users are already looking for your products and services when they type in a query associated with your brand.

However, with banner ads, people are simply browsing the web and may not be interested in your products and services. Most people who see your banner ads aren't ready to make a purchase unless you're using a retargeting marketing approach and those individuals have already visited your website.

Lower conversions

Because banner ads target people who aren't necessarily ready to make a purchase, they have lower conversion rates than other marketing strategies that target individuals, like search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO).

Depending on your goals, your conversion action may be someone completing a form or making a purchase on your website. However, because individuals who come across your ads aren't necessarily ready to make a purchase, banner ads have lower convection rates.

Not allowed for all businesses

Unfortunately, some types of marketing and advertising aren't allowed for specific markets. For example, Google doesn't allow advertisements for potentially dangerous products and services.

In addition, the industry you're in might have strict advertising rules you must follow to remain in compliance. For example, a supplement business cannot state that its products can be used to treat medical conditions in advertisements or on websites.

Ad blocking

Ad blocking software allows users to turn off advertisements when browsing the web, so your ads may be blocked and not seen by users who would be most interested in your products and services.

Users ignore ads

Over time, we've all learned to subconsciously ignore any ads we see. You may notice billboards when driving down the expressway, but do you ever remember what's on them?

The same is true for digital and print advertisements; many people ignore them because they've seen so many ads throughout their lives they've accidentally been trained not to see them. This is why it's so crucial for your banner ad to stand out. Potential customers won't see them while reading articles online because they've trained themselves not to, so your ad must be special if you want it to be seen or clicked.

Now that you understand what banner advertising is and how it can increase website traffic, let's discuss some of the basics you should know.

Ad spending in the banner advertising segment is projected to reach $172 B in 2023

How much do banner ads cost?

Banning advertising costs depend on different factors, including your overall goals. Display networks use different pricing models, but most are based on cost per thousand impressions, also known as CPM or cost per mile.

However, if your ultimate goal is conversions, you can use an ad network that allows you to pay per click instead. In general, though, you'll pay for every 1,000 ad views.

Depending on your banner ad and how you purchase ad space, you may also be able to pay based on the cost per action (CPA). For example, if you purchase your banner ad space directly from a publisher, you may be able to pay per action, which works similarly to commissions.

Top performing banner ad sizes

What are the standard banner ad sizes?

Banner ads are rectangular display ads that come in different sizes. Your ad size will depend on the publisher or publishing platform.

For example, if you're using an ad network, you can create multiple versions of your ad in different sizes to fit more ad space across the internet. Meanwhile, if you're working directly with a publisher, their prices may affect the size you choose. The standard banner ad sizes include the following:


Standard square banner ads are 250 x 250 pixels and are ideal for small ad spaces on websites.


The standard banner size is 468 x 60 and is placed on the top, middle, or bottom of the webpage. Since these ads are long and thin, you must find graphics and copy that won't look cluttered.


Leaderboard banner ads are 728 x 90 pixels and are usually placed at the top of a page. However, again, because they're long and thin, it can be difficult to fit all the essential graphic design elements you need to encourage users to click your ad.


There are several rectangle sizes ranging from medium (300 x 250 pixels) to large (336 x 280 pixels), and they're some of the most popular options for brands because they're placed on the sidebar of a page. Many publishers prefer them because they don't cause a distraction when visitors are scrolling pages and trying to read the content.

Half page

The half-page banner ad takes up the most space on a web page. It's 300 x 600 pixels and offers high visibility. However, since this option is bigger than the rest, it will be more expensive for brands.

What should you include in your banner ads?

Banner ads are visual ads, so they don't rely on text as much as search ads, but both are essential if you want to convert customers and encourage clicks. Successful banner ads have the following elements:

Visual elements

Your visual elements should reflect the brand's unique identity, such as the logo and other imagery that can be found on the website.

Remember, your visual elements are crucial because they're what will attract attention to the banner ad. Therefore, your imagery must be relevant to your target audience and offer. For example, if you're a company that sells pet products, you should include pet imagery, like an image of a dog with your product. Meanwhile, if you're a digital marketing agency, your ad might consist of real results you've gotten clients.

Copy that sells

All successful banner ads need copy that sells. Banner ad copy is important because it tells customers what they can expect when they click the ad and why they should click the ad.

Unfortunately, you don't have a lot of space for copy, so you'll need to think of a snappy headline that can attract attention without taking too much focus away from the visual elements. Your text should also be easy to read; viewers shouldn't have to squint to understand your ad, so always use a short headline and easy-to-read fonts.

Call to action

Every ad needs a call to action (CTA) to tell users what to do. If your ad doesn't have a call to action, it won't get clicked because people may not even realize it can be clicked. However, your call to action should be short.

Something as simple as "Shop now" can be an effective CTA if you sell products online and want to send them to a dedicated page where they can start shopping. It's important to note that your banner ad should have only one CTA.

Any more than that, and they can be confusing for your potential customers, ultimately driving business away. For example, if you want customers to learn more about your business, tell them to "Learn more." Meanwhile, if you want them to browse your collection of winter coats, tell them to "Browse the collection."

Always look for ways to improve your advertising strategy

Banner advertising is a great way for businesses to improve their advertising strategy and attract more website visitors while boosting brand awareness. Whether you choose to work directly with publishers or use an ad network to expand your reach, anyone can create banner ads that make an impact.

Mailchimp makes it easy for any digital marketer or business owner to create ads with our ad builder. Simply choose your design elements, copy, and CTA, and we can help you design the perfect banner ad for your next campaign. Try Mailchimp's ad builder today.

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