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Banner Ads Best Practice - Rules To Break!

It’s true to say that there are a number of well-established best practices for designing effective and successful banner ads. Rules however are made to be broken or bent according to the brand identity, product, campaign goals etc. Here are five design ‘rules’ you can break with impunity!

1. Photos of people boost performance

It’s undeniably true that an ad featuring a real person using or wearing a product can be a really effective way to showcase it. Get the wrong picture though and you are far more likely to turn potential customers off. B2B companies or brands with more abstract services are not always as straightforward. Photos can be used together with a testimonial to establish a customer connection but this can be tricky to get right.

The photo must be relatable; in other words your customers should be able to envisage themselves wearing, benefiting from or using your product for the ad to be really effective. If your ad doesn’t achieve this; try a different tactic.

2. Colour matters

Green means more clicks; red catches the eye etcetera. It’s certainly true that adding a splash of colour to a bland background makes your ad stand out but the popular belief that certain colours equate to more clicks etc is just an urban myth. Test results show indisputably that there is no magic colour formula.

For the best results it’s more important that you stick to your brand colours so that you are easily recognisable. Changing colours just because certain are supposed to be ‘action inspiring’ will only detract from your campaign and dilute the impact of your brand, especially if you are retargeting.

3. Calls to action (CTAs)

It’s certainly true that including a CTA in your banner design is crucial if you want to encourage customers to click on your ads. Tread carefully though especially in the field of B2B software and the like where larger purchases are involved. Here you may find that softer CTAs; “learn more” for example, will probably prove more effective than, “buy now to avoid disappointment”.

4. CTR is the only reliable performance metric

Although CTR is a valuable measurement tool there is plenty of evidence to suggest that clicks do not necessarily correlate to conversions. If your campaign is intended to achieve stronger branding, clicks are clearly not worth recording anyway.

Other metrics like branded search or share of conversation may be better to measure the impact of your campaign. No matter what your campaign style, you’re looking for revenue rather than just page visits and clicks.

5. Flash is always more effective than static

Virtually all the studies that have been carried out to compare performance of Flash and static ads show that Flash ads outperform statics. No-brainer, right? Not when you consider that the metric used is usually CTR. There are no compelling stats which show that a Flash banner produces more sales than a static banner.

So, there are no rules when it comes to the most effective banner ads.  Your best course of action is to carry out A/B testing of various banners to find out what works best with your audience. 

Alison Page

About Alison Page

Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies. Read her full story at http://www.theladywriter.co.uk

Alison Page

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