To quote a famous saying: â€śBanners: canâ€™t live withâ€™em, canâ€™t live withoutâ€™em!â€ť. As an browser you probably wish they sometimes didnâ€™t exist. As a business, however, you canâ€™t have a proper promotional campaign without using them.
As is the case for most things in life, the key is keeping a balance. Here are a few tested tips on how to plan and execute well performing banners.
1.Clarify your bannerâ€™s purpose
Are you aiming to promote your brand, sell tickets to a specific event, communicate a special discount offer or give freebies to collect email addresses for your future campaigns? It makes all the difference to have a clear objective for your banners as that will help you focus your design and deliver a clear and compelling ad.
2. Decide where your banner will be displayed
Are you simply changing banners featured in your websiteâ€™s homepage carousel or do you plan to run your ads on external domains or even social media? Your design needs to be adapted to each medium, to suit the specifics - from size and orientation to how its various components will be arranged within the banner and how targeted users are known to generally behave in that environments.
3. Plan the elements of your banner
Will you have a call-to-action button? (Your answer to this question should generally be affirmative). Will you include explanatory copy or just a simple product/ service title? Will you use background visuals or go for a simple ad in which you bet everything on typography?
These are all simple yet highly relevant questions and you should correlate them with your brandâ€™s personality and your campaign objectives.
4. Typography, photo, illustration or video banners?
This question implies considering a few aspects. First, your resources - do you have enough budget for a video banner or custom photography? What about stock photography?
Second, what is the personality of your brand and of the product you are promoting? If your entire brand is built on a â€śminimalâ€ť appearance it might make more sense to create banners sharing that style.
Third, what does your target audience prefer and what is their general profile? You should address your potential customers using banners they can easily understand and relate to. Adapt your banner to their age, lifestyle, education and expectations.
5. Strike a balance to communicate clearly
The basic elements of a banner are the images, company logo, value proposition (copy) and the call-to-action (your ultimate goal). Prioritize these 4 elements and decide the space and best placement for each. Key messages and elements should be placed along the diagonal line between the upper left corner and the lower right corner of your banner.
6. Mobile, desktop or all-in-one?
Weâ€™ve talked about where your banners will be displayed but itâ€™s also essential that you consider how they will be shown. For example, a smartphoneâ€™s screen means less space (due to display size) and time (people like to scroll!) given to your banner, so strip it to the minimum information yet go for maximum visual impact.
7. Abstract, landscapes, people or objects?
This question is, once again, related to your brand & product profile but thereâ€™s a little more to it than that. Itâ€™s useful to remember that users tend to favor images they can relate to instantly and that usually means photographs of other people. But thereâ€™s a catch and its name is: authenticity. Use high quality stock photos for such cases and not a generic free photo which theyâ€™ve probably already seen on tens or hundreds of other websites already.
8. The color psychology
The fundamental rule is to use colors specific to your brand and website - this helps users make quick associations between your banner and your company, reducing bounce rates.
The second rule is to pay attention to how various colors of the spectrum influence public perception and reactions. For example, red is generally associated with emergencies or errors.
User psychology varies with geography, however, so make sure you research more into the specifics of your target audience before choosing your main color(s).
9. Keep it simple
Although itâ€™s tempting, donâ€™t overdo your design and copy. Your purpose should always be to create â€śhooksâ€ť for readers, making them click to find out more, and not to tell the entire story in a 300x250 pixels banners. Focus on delivering one key message (through both your copy and the supporting visuals) and keep the extended sales pitch for your landing page.
10. Banner quality talks about the quality of your business
Invest in high quality photos or illustrations to convey a favorable image and message for your brand. You are aiming to win both the attention, interest and trust from your viewers, and not bore them. Stock photography can be a great ally in your endeavour, offering quality resources for very reasonable prices.
And that concludes this guide. Good luck with your future banner designs!
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