How To Create a Quality Website Banner Ad

4 min read · 8 months ago


Banner ads are an easy, highly effective way to promote products and services on your business website. With a big, bold message, a quality image or colorful background, and a clear call to action, a quality website banner ad can drive new prospects to your small business. It’s only a few words and a picture; how hard can it be? Well, creating a quality website banner ad takes work. Here’s help.

Web banner ads can be used to tout sales or limited-time offers, drive subscriptions, registrations, or enrollment, and so much more. They are a quick-click way to inspire action or tempt customers to interact with your company.

Web banner ads are just one component of the digital advertising market, which eMarketer predicts will rebound from a slower than expected 2020. The company had forecasted 19.2% spending growth but had to recalibrate because of COVID-19 for a 5.55 growth. Nevertheless, spending in this sector is expected to grow almost 23% in 2021.

While connected TVs are the biggest growth area as far as digital advertising devices (25.2% growth), mobile, desktops, and laptops still have an impact. And for small business owners, website banners remain a marketing lever that can be pulled easily and affordably. 

What does it take to design a quality website banner ad? That’s what this article will cover. You’ll learn about considerations including:

  • Ad size
  • Images
  • Color choice
  • Text
  • Call to action

Accurate Ad Size

There are several different banner ad sizes available. It will depend on the site where you are advertising. Google’s top performing ad sizes include:

  • Medium rectangle — a 300×250 pixel ad often embedded with text content or at the end of articles
  • Large rectangle — similar to the medium rectangle but 336×280 pixels
  • Leaderboard — a 728×90 pixel type of banner ad that appears above main content or on forum sites
  • Half-page — a larger space (300×600 pixels) that is growing popular for its visual impact
  • Large mobile banner — at 320×50, 320×100, or 320×250 pixels, this ad type doubles the size of a mobile leaderboard ad

When considering the types of banner ads available to you, make sure that the typography and images in your design will translate effectively. You want people to be able to scan and click. Creatopy recommends: “Use powerful words but try to make them readable by using readable fonts such as Tahoma, Roboto, Arial, Verdana, Century Gothic, Futura or Georgia.”

See some examples of banner ads in this round-up of Inspiring Ads.


Quality Images

The images in your banner ad need to speak their proverbial 1,000 words and do it quickly. You can’t expect a viewer to linger over the picture presented. Select high-quality images that still load quickly. Don’t sacrifice banner ad load time for a big, bright image. That said, you want to select the best photos you can for your banner ad campaign.

You might subscribe to an images database. Or hire someone to create custom graphics. Then, pick a single image that will compel attention. Try to cram a bunch of pictures into the banner ad space, and people will ignore your efforts. Nick Carson, a Brand Impact Awards judge, writes, “when it comes to selling particular products, it’s often more effective to zoom in close on a single item that represents the brand.” He added, “faces work well as they are easy to relate to, establish eye contact and can convey emotion quickly.”

Banner ads can be static or use animated images. In an AdEspresso test of Facebook ads, “regular still images worked better than animated images.” Also, “in terms of cost-per-lead, ads with the still image outperformed ads with animated image by 38.2%.” Yet, they cautioned their results were for just one campaign.


Conscious Color Choice

You might like purple, but that doesn’t make it the best choice for your banner ad design. Choose the colors that best conform to your brand standards (ideally, you have a style guide). Also, consider that colors:

  • Evoke emotions
  • Impact likability directly
  • Can have gendered connotations
  • Might be the sole reason someone makes a choice
  • Means different things to various cultures

Quality design uses color contrasts to help the text stand out. Having just one primary color and one or two secondary colors for contrast can help your banner pop. Too many colors in website banner design can drive customers away!


To-the-Point Text

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that many digital buyers don’t love seeing ads. Yet, according to another eMarketer survey, U.S. digital buyers ”considered static banner ads (16%), sponsored posts in social media feeds (14%) and sponsored search results (12%) to be the most useful digital ad formats.” 

Take advantage of this positive perspective of website banner ads by keeping your text short. Make sure it is easy to read too. Banner ad text is typically only a handful of words. You might think that makes it simpler. But you might have to work harder to convey your message in so few words.

You want to craft a concise message that has an emotional appeal and drives people to convert. The ad should also convey urgency and encourage the individual to do something. That’s the call to action, which we’ll discuss more next.


Clear Call To Action

Your call to action should be clear and distinct. The banner ad is only successful if your audience knows what to do and does it easily. It’s a good idea to: 

  • Use strong, simple verbs
  • Give a reason to take action
  • Speak to a targeted audience
  • Emphasize the risk-free nature of clicking
  • Create immediacy
  • Capitalize on fear of missing out

For examples of call-to-action buttons that work well, check out Wordstream’s round-up of 11 top campaigns.



Ultimately, all of these elements contribute to the overall focus of your banner ad. Effective banner ads are clean and minimal. They captivate the eye with quality image and color. They encourage the audience to take action—like going to your small business website. That’s where the magic happens, right? With these tools for quality web banner ads, your digital marketing dividends should start to grow.