In 1994, the first-ever banner ad launched. Astoundingly, almost 44 percent of people who viewed it clicked on it, according to the Guardian. Unfortunately, today's banner ads don't have nearly this success rate. Although ads are seen by many users, they don't draw the type of clicks that the first ad drew. With this data in mind, it can be daunting to launch a banner ad campaign. However, there are ways to craft banner ads that are eye-catching without being obtrusive and that attract the attention of even the staunchest ad-ignorer.
Feature the Value Proposition Prominently
Your brand's value proposition is the single most important part of your banner ad, and it will be the first thing a user judges your ad on. As Mashable notes, "The intersection of the product and the customer needs is the sweet spot of the value proposition."
Though users may largely ignore banner ads, a strong value proposition can call attention to an ad and increase click-through rate. Ideally, the value proposition should be no longer than ten words and should convey a sense of urgency without being as overt as a call-to-action. For example, an organic whole-bean coffee retailer's value proposition might say, "Our beans are 100% organic. You'll taste the difference."
Use a Single Image that Represents Your Brand Simply but Effectively
Though it can be tempting to jam a banner ad with plenty of product images that show the breadth of all your company has to offer, too many images will make your banner ad look over-crowded and busy, which will repel potential eyeballs. Instead, find a single image that represents your brand well, even if it isn't all-inclusive.
Effective banner ads will entice users to learn more through a strong value proposition, and a single image that piques their interest will draw their eye and encourage them to learn more. Using the example above, an image of various coffee beans behind the value proposition text will support the message without overloading viewers.
Use Buttons and Calls-to-Action Appropriately
In certain situations, buttons and calls-to-action can help create a sense of urgency. For example, if you are trying to promote a limited-time sale or a certain type of product, a button drawing attention to that fact can be effective. However, buttons that have superfluous or vague calls-to-action like a simple "buy now" or "click here for more" do not make your ad stand out and could turn away potential customers. Additionally, because buttons and calls-to-action are common in banner ads, users might be tempted to continue scrolling, assuming your banner ad is just another ad instead of a unique message.
Though there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating effective banner ads, these general guidelines will help you create eye-catching ads that don't repel consumers.