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Banner Ad Basics

Following these basic guidelines can dramatically increase your banner ads' effectiveness (and the rate at which they are clicked.

1. Be professional
People are going to get their first impression of your website based on how your banner ad is presented, so you need to be certain that it represents your web site in the best possible manner. This means you should be extra careful that all your spelling and grammar are correct, that you’ve selected font sizes, styles and colors that maximize your ad's readability, and the layout is consistent with the context you want delivered. If your banner ad is of poor quality, people will assume your website and what you have to offer is too.

2. Cause for an action
What do you want people who see your banner ad to do? Most likely, first and foremost, you want them to simply click on it, so be sure your ad says so. Because this is so important, most of the banner ad designs already have a “call to action like Click Now built in.

3. Keep it simple
Your banner ad may only have a few seconds to make its impact on the viewer. As a result, it must be able to convey your message in a small amount of time. By keeping your ad's concept and wording clear and concise, you increase the likelihood that the viewer will actually get your message. Remember, if the viewer can't easily and quickly understand what your banner ad is saying, it is unlikely he/she will click on it. Use the fewest (and most simple) words you can. Just because you can fit more words in your ad doesn't mean you should. Once someone clicks to your website, you'll have ample opportunity to provide more details.

4. Use words that get attention or cause an emotion
Words like “free”, “special offer”, “secrets”, etc. help grab the visitor's attention and increase his/her curiosity in your offer. Try this technique: pretend you are reading your banner ad's text for the first time: would YOU be interested in or excited about what it offers? If not, then most people probably wouldn't be either.

5. Emphasize benefits, not features
What is the difference between a benefit and a feature? In simple terms, a feature is a service or an aspect of a service that you offer. A benefit is the actual impact it has on your customer or how something causes a difference or adds a quality. Let's say your site offers income tax services.

Which of these is more enticing:
“We specialize in finding deductions” (a feature) or
“Pay fewer taxes (the benefit)?
Advertisers realized long ago that more than anything else people want to know how a product or service can improve their lives.

6. Test your banners
iPlan has made designing banner ads quick and easy, we can design several, using different styles and messages. We can set up a program where the each banner is run each one for test period of a week or two and collect the types of data you can use to analyze each banner ad’s performance, like click through rates. One we’ve analyzed the data to determine what the more successful ads have in common and we can then refine the banner ads and test them again.

Banner ads can be an important part of a successful campaign. Web users have developed “banner blindness”, but are keenly aware of banners that deliver a context that they share or expect. For this reason, placement is important to the success of a banner.

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