Dr. Banner the Banner Doctor

Banners. Normally in this spot we take a look at someone’s banners and make a critique. Today, we’ll switch it around. Instead of working on a cure, we’ll take a look at prevention. Information is knowledge folks.

Moving on…

Want to make the perfect banner? The good news is it’s possible. The bad news is…there’s no perfect formula for making one that works. At least someone who’s being honest will tell you that.

Wondering why?

Because there are tons of factors that contribute to whether a banner works or not. And most of the time you can’t control it. Other times you can.

Here’s something that will blow your mind… “A banner that works, might not…or a banner that doesn’t work, may”. Okay that’s a little vague and nonsensical, so let me give you an example.

“A banner that works, might not…or a banner that doesn’t work, may”

Let’s say you have a banner that is working like gangbusters on one website to the point that it never fails and you use it on another site, but it doesn’t come close to getting you clicks. Is it the banner? Is it the website?

Likely it’s both.

Let’s take a brief look at what may goes into the success of a banner, or more appropriately, the things you should be considering when you’re creating your banners and setting up your ad campaigns.

Starting with the banner design here are some things to think about:

  • Size matters: smaller banners require you to work small. If you can’t read something in your banner – no one else will either. More times than not, the saying is right: less is more.
  • Colors: putting your blue banner on a blue website won’t help it stand out. Gradients make text hard to read. Don’t think being outrageous will guarantee your ad will get noticed.
  • Make sure your fonts and text are easy to read. Shadows and blurs should help make anything stand out – or don’t use them.
  • Clean designs tend to stand out.
  • Make it entertaining: cool characters or images help draw eyeballs. Someone is giving you their time – even for a split second – you better grab their attention while you can!
  • Use a ‘call to action’: it may seem simple, but if you’re not inviting someone to visit your site they may not.
  • Sell it: if you can’t describe your comic or website in a banner – don’t. It doesn’t have to be the best steak, but if looks like it’s smoklin’… the sizzle sells it.
  • Don’t be misleading: don’t say your comic is something it’s not and don’t try to offend people unless it’s what you do. Getting someone to your site is half the battle – getting them to stick around and come back is the other half.

That last tip leads us to the website (or campaign you’re running).

  • Advertise on sites that make sense: don’t try and advertise a kid’s site on an adult site – or vice versa (you perv!).
  • Target popular sites that offer valuable advertising spots and prices. Don’t be afraid to do a little research.
  • Use sizes that will get you good placement: don’t build 300 pixel by 250 pixel banners – unless all of the sites you’re advertising on use them. Most don’t so it’s a waste of time. Likewise don’t buy the ad spot in the middle of a row of banners. There’s too much going on. Save your money.
  • Be prepared to test. Having some success with a button? Try getting a different spot on the same website’s page. Try it on a similar website.
  • Don’t give up on a great looking banner. Here’s a tip you won’t hear often: you don’t have to get them the first time out. Just because someone didn’t click on your banner this time, doesn’t mean your banner didn’t make an impression. Sometimes advertising is about frequency – meaning you may have to get in front of them more than once!

Is that a lot to chew on? Does any of this help? Let me know if you’d like me to dig into some of the things pointed out above and we’ll dig deeper in a future article.

Ken Drab sporting the thin faced lookKen Drab (me) has a small brain but a savant-like interest in branding, marketing and design. He better, that’s what he gets paid to do in real life. In make believe – he’s a webcomicker.

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