How to design a banner - Goals In Designing A Banner
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      >  Tutorials  >  Design A Banner  >  Chapter 3



    How To Design A Banner

    Chapter 3: Goals In Designing A Banner

    What makes a good banner?

    There are a number of things that you need to consider when designing a banner: The most important of which is that you should always remember that banners are advertisements, not purely artistic creations. In other words, don't focus so much on the artistic considerations that you forget the primary purpose of the banner, namely advertising.

    The next consideration is what is your advertising goal? There are two main goals that are commonly given for banner advertising:
    1. Branding: Increasing awareness of your brand because people see your banner.

    2. Direct Response: Getting people to click on your banner, come to your site, and respond how you want them to (buy your product, sign up for your ezine or whatever).
    If you have (or are building) a well-known brand like "Coca Cola" or "Nike", I can see that there could be value in increasing brand awareness. However, for small sites and businesses, I personally am rather doubtful than banner advertising can help you with this goal - because you're unlikely to get nearly enough people seeing your banner to make a difference.

    So, let's focus on direct response...

    What are the goals for a direct response banner?
    1. First, you need people to see your banner.

    2. Second, you need people to click on your banner(in order to get to your site).

    3. Third, you want to try to encourage the right kind of people (people who would be interested in whatever it is that you have to offer) to be those clicking. It's no good having random people, or worse yet, people who aren't likely to be interested in what you are offering, clicking.
    So what tips can I offer you offer on designing your direct response banner?
    • Keep your banner files small: This is because banners can take a few seconds to load, the larger the file, the longer, and you don't want people to have scrolled past the banner before they've even seen it.

    • Make your banner look clickable: If your banner looks like a picture, then that is what many users may assume it is. Try to make it obvious that users can click on your banner.

    • Include a call to action: Including a phrase such as "Click Here" or "Sign Up Now" can dramatically improve the number of people clicking.

    • Use bright colors: Blue, yellow and green banners may have a higher response rate than black-and-white.

    • Attention grabbing: Your goal should be to make sure your banner is sufficiently attention grabbing that users will notice it, but not so attention grabbing as to be annoying (otherwise they may simply click to a different page). Animation (but not over the top animation) can help here.

    • Good copywriting: Make sure users can see why they should click on your banner and visit your site. This is about benefits that your site/product/service offers (what's in it for the reader) rather than features, or even the benefit from clicking on your banner (for example: "Need help with taxes?" - if the answer is on your site).

    • Keep the message short and on-point: Shorter text messages usually attract a higher response than wordy banners.

    • "Free": Using the word "Free" can increase response rate for some banners. Of course, this depends on context - a free trial of a product/service is one thing - but offering free money will probably just arouse suspicion.

    • "Fake" banners: These are banners that look like they contain buttons or windows elements (and can be made by using screenshots - see How To Make Screenshots). Using such elements can help make your banner both more attention grabbing, and more obviously clickable. However, you probably don't want to go so overboard as to make your banner deliberately confusing so that users click it by mistake.

    • Track everything: Try several banner designs and see how each performs. This way, you'll be able to pick the best ones out and perhaps iteratively improve them. To do this, you'll need statistics for each banner design that you use, so if you don't already have it, invest in some ad tracking software and then track the performance of each design separately.

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