How to Design Web Banners Users Want to Click On

Posted on February 28, 2020 | Updated on February 26, 2021

You might wonder if web banners are worth the effort. Do people even click on them anymore, or are they just a waste of time and marketing dollars? Despite where you can place them, there are things you can do to encourage people to interact.

According to one study, mobile web banners are 120% more effective than video ads. This form of marketing isn’t dead, but you still have to be creative about the ways you deliver it. Consumers see thousands of different ads each week. Yours must stand out.

Just how do you design web banners that users want to click on? Discover some quick rules of thumb that will help you create a campaign that sees excellent click-throughs.

1. Choose the Right Size

You can choose from many different sizes for web banners. At times, you may be limited by what the site allows. Other times, you’ll have more flexibility. You’ll come across dozens of different possibilities, but 89% of all banner ad impressions come from four sizes:

  • 300 x 250 medium rectangle: Around 40% of banner ads.
  • 728 x 90 leaderboard: Makes up 25% of inventory.
  • 320 x 50 mobile leaderboard: About 12% of banner ads.
  • 160 x 600 wide skyscraper: Makes up 12% of ad impressions.

Experiment and track your own ad clicks to see what sizes work best. You can always try split testing a couple of different sizes, too.

Score’s leaderboard style ad appears on sites such as Note how the ad fits perfectly into a blog sidebar. This campaign allows the company to target readers of specific types of articles across the internet. Knowing where your users are most likely to view your ad is a vital part of choosing the size.

2. Perfect Your Word Choice

The words you use in your web banners can make a difference in how well they convert. While there is no rule about whether to use first, second or third person, first and second are more personal. If the user feels you are speaking directly to them, they are more likely to click on the ad. Spend time creating buyer personas that reflect your target audience.

The more you know about your customers, the better you can refine wording so that it speaks directly to users. Would you be more likely to click on something specific to you?

3. Select Colors That Pop

No matter where your web banners appear, you want them to pop on the page. You may even want to have a selection of different color schemes. This decision allows you to switch up your choice depending on the background of the site where the ad appears. Colors that grab the eye include anything bold, such as yellow, red or orange. You also want to ensure the ad itself has sharp contrast. If you use a dark background for your banner, then choose light-colored text.

Carnival Cruises shows this ad on a site with a white background. Notice how it blends perfectly with the website and uses Carnival’s brand colors. However, it also pops with deep blues and reds that contrast sharply with the light back.

4. Retarget Interested Users

When you control who sees an ad, such as on Facebook or your website, retarget those who’ve clicked before. One study showed that users retargeted with web banners were 70% more likely to convert into customers. The person already indicated an interest in what you offer. A retargeted ad simply reminds them of your product or service.

5. Focus on Your CTA

Web banners give you very limited space to offer a call-to-action (CTA) to viewers. Therefore, it’s essential to refine the words down to one or two. However, make sure they’ll encourage the user to click. Think about the pain points your typical customer has. What’s the one problem they need solved that makes it likely they will click on your graphic for a solution?

Now, how can you summarize the solution in a word or two? Go for power verbs and refine until you hit the perfect mix of language that entices your audience to convert.

Squarespace offers a banner ad on a black background. Notice how they stick with high contrasting colors of black and white. They then reverse the colors and use the simple language of “Start Your Free Trial.” Their research seems to indicate that their users want a solution that lets them try before they buy. As a result, they solve the pain point by offering a free trial upfront.

6. Find the Ideal Spot

Does it still hold true that web banners should appear above the fold? Yes, no and it depends on the site and the nature of how people scroll. One thing you can do is ask for heatmaps of the page where your ad will appear. This data tells you a lot about which areas users are most likely to try out. You might also run some test ads and see where yours perform best.

You might discover your displays work best above the fold. You might also perform best at the bottom of a blog post after the user has finished the article. You don’t just want traffic to your site. You want to attract people who convert into customers and buy your product.

Planning a Campaign? Invest in Web Banners

Web banners are still a viable advertising option for nearly every type of business. The key to success is figuring out the places to advertise and hitting the points that speak to your audience. Track your results and test as much as possible. Split testing allows you to analyze different designs, text, CTAs and much more.

Remember that successful campaigns may look different on different platforms, such as your website and social media. Once you find something that works, be sure to repeat it.

About The Author

The Designerly staff is committed to providing well-researched and ongoing learning resources. We're dedicated to educating you on key design concepts and showcasing strategic marketing plans to help grow your business.

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