7 minutes read

“Success” is a very complex word. Even if we talk about success in the digital advertising world, social media marketing or traditional marketing. And it depends on so many variables such as: place, time, money, people and brand.  

Some debates about “success” in the digital marketing world revolve around clicks, traffic, mentions, shares or impressions.

In my opinion these metrics will never beat the only factor we need to fight for: the happiness and comfort of our customer. 

Exactly! Our customer’s satisfaction will always beat the biggest shared video on Facebook or the biggest impression, CTR or other measurement point we try to figure out at the end of the month/week/day/campaign.

Every little thing a marketer does, he should be doing it in the customer’s interest. Even if he writes a piece of content, sends a newsletter, launches a feature or designs a banner ad.

Looking into our data and analyzing how our users design their banner ads, I realized that there’s one identical thing in every one of them. They are all designed in a customer-centered way!

In this article I will share with you the 5 ingredients that can help you design successful banner ads.

1. Start with your audience

The only thing you should have in mind before you start designing a banner ad, is your audience. They are the ones who will see your banner ads and you want them to click on it, right? So in that case, you need to think exactly like your audience.

When you open your banner editor think about your audience’s profile. Because every solid audience profile starts with an essential understanding of who your audience is.

When you want to picture your main audience you should consider the next criteria: gender, professional life, demographic, how much do their earn yearly, hobbies, personal and professional struggles.

For example:

  • A single woman in her early twenties renting a studio in Washington and making $150.000 a year. She loves traveling alone, she has a personal blog and her biggest professional struggle is taking time to learn more for her industry.
  • A married man with 2 kids in New York, a start-up entrepreneur. He lives in a rented house, close to NYC. Personal struggle: taking care of his family. Professional struggle: hiring the next Chief Marketing Officer for his company.

I wrote these 2 examples only to show you how to start creating your big picture when you think about your audience. You need to make sure that the picture you design about your audience is something that you have done after a very deep research.

Check out our articles about targeted audiences and user persona!

If you want to have a successful banner ad you need to start doing some research about your public and the first step towards this is to start checking this demographic list:

  • location
  • age
  • gender
  • income
  • educational level
  • religion
  • ethnicity
  • marital status

If you know these details about them it will be easier for you to identify their biggest struggles and come up with solutions meant to solve those problems.

2. Solve a problem

Now that we know something about our audience, let’s get to the problem part and see how our banner ad can solve it. 

You read that right. A banner ad can indeed solve a problem. You only need to know how to do it.

Your banner ad can be the bridge between your customer’s problem and solution. So, the banner you’re creating must tell him that after clicking on it, it will take him to a page that will help him solve his problem.  

 

When you design a banner ad I recommend you to look at all the features of your product or service and see what problems they might solve. Do they give more time to the customer? Do they simplify a complex work process? Do they help the user develop a new skill?  

Understanding your audience’s profile makes it easier for you to understand what problems they have.

[Tweet “Every great banner ad should be an answer for a problem.”]

3. Unique Value Proposition

How important is value proposition for you, your campaigns, your brands and even your banner ads? Peep Laja from Conversion XL said:

Value proposition is the #1 thing that determines whether people will bother reading more about your product or hit the back button. It’s also the main thing you need to test – if you get it right, it will be a huge boost.

So, what’s your promise of the value you will deliver?  

UVP (Unique Value Proposition) will be one of the reasons why people will click on your banner ad. Because you promise them a value that they can have. 

There are 3 questions you need to ask yourself when you want to write a great value proposition:

  1. How can my product solve a problem?
  2. What specific benefits can my customers achieve?
  3. Why should people buy from me and not from my competitors?

Think about that: when you design your banner ad and it has all the elements it needs to stand out from the crowded web, you need to also create a powerful  value proposition that will trigger an emotion in the mind of the user, so in that way he will click on your banner ad.

If you want to create a great value proposition you need to keep in mind the next steps.

1. Clarity –  make it easy to read and understand. Remember the KISS principle? Keep It Short and Simple! Shout-out to the “Think Different” campaign, from Apple. They came up with a new and different product for the market and made it big through only two words!

2. What will the customer get – communicate what he will get if he will click on your banner ad. If you want him to download your ebook, just tell him that he will get great information about your topic. Why should he click on your banner ad? What results will he get after he clicks on them? 

3. Why is it better and different – from your competitors, from the market.

And if you don’t know whether your value proposition will gain some results or not, just A/B test it. Try different value proposition on your banner ad and measure the results. The numbers will tell you which one converts better.

4. Placement

This element is sometimes the most valuable one for a successful banner ad, even if we talk about Google Display Network, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Pop-In on a blog or a banner ad on a website.

So, what’s the best placement for your banner ad on a website? 

According to Google, you should place your banner ads ABOVE the fold and “show off your content”. Simple said, place your ads close to the content that your users wants to consume, and also, make sure that the banner ad is not intrusive and lets the user read the content.  

Did you know that by simply moving an ad from top right side to the left, increases engagement by 74%? This is the experiment that Dr. Flint McGlaughlin made on designing better banner ads. Here you can read the test results and learn how to make it better for your banner ad.  

 

You can place your banner ads on top or at the left hand side, but the best way to see which one drives more results is testing it.

If you want to embed ads on your own website (or blog) just try to stay relevant to your content. Don’t interrupt your user’s visit with unwanted and irrelevant ads that he might not be interested in.

5. Simplicity in Design

Everybody can complicate a simple thing but only a few ones can simplify a complicated thing.  

And this applies to banner ad design too. 

I’ve seen hundreds of thousands of banner ads and what I can say is that only a few ones were simple and easy to understand. I truly believe that they converted better than the complicated ones. Why?

Because people react better to simple than to complicated. 

Why do you think that the best math, physics, chemistry, biology or science teachers are the ones who can explain complex things in simple words and make them comprehensible for everybody?

In an article on Harvard Business Review, Patrick Spenner and Karen Freeman wrote about a study that found out that the best tool for measuring consumer-engagement effort is the “decision simplicity index”. 

The easier a brand makes the purchase-decision journey, the higher its decision-simplicity score. Brands that scored in the top quarter in our study were 86% more likely than those in the bottom quarter to be purchased by the consumers considering them. They were 9% more likely to be repurchased and 115% more likely to be recommended to others.

So yes, we are working to educate the industry and our community to understand the power of simplicity when it comes to banner ads. A banner ad doesn’t need much explanation about what the product does, why should you click on it, where the product can be used, how much does it cost and so on and so forth.

A good banner ad is the one that values the importance of  the “whitespace” and has all  the important elements:

  • A strong Call To Action
  • A Single and Creative Headline
  • Company’s brand (logo or name)
  • Eye Catching Visual

To learn more on how to design a successful banner ad, I recommend reading our how to make a banner guideline.

Conclusion

Here are the 5 points that can make a banner ad effective for a campaign in my point of view. I tried to stay close to what is important and to give you information that can help you do a great job! 

Now back to you: Which do you think are the elements that make a banner ad successful?

 

Robert Katai
Robert Katai is the Product Marketing Specialist at Creatopy. His work was featured on Adweek, Entrepreneur, Marketing Profs, Content Marketing Institute and other places.

11 Comments

  1. Hello Robert, First of all I just want to say thank you so much for this post and yes of course for this tips. I really didn’t know much about how to approach in nut shell but after reading this post I think I have got much knowledge.

  2. Hey Gaurav,

    You are welcome:) Thanks for reading it.

  3. You are welcome:)

  4. Robert , Thank you for sharing such a useful information…

  5. Muchos Gracias for your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

  6. con mucho gusto @New yeark packages 2017 :) – next time please write a real name in the nick name :)

  7. Thanks Robert – Sharing such a useful information

  8. I value the post.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

  9. I value the post.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

  10. Stunning post. I really loved this article. Thank you for your sharing this valuable post.

  11. Never seen such a nice blog ever, very well presented, and the theme of the blog is appealing, how you will post such a blog in the future. keep it up. Looking towards your new blogs.

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