8 minutes read

There is a lot of talking around banner design and banner advertising. In this article, we will show you how banner advertising works.  

But first of all, let’s see who has launched the first banner ad and which website hosted it. The fact is that the first banner ad is so popular among all the online advertising tactics that it’s having its own domain called – thefirstbannerad.com.

The first banner ad was launched on October 27 in 1994 on Wired Magazine (then it was called hotwired.com) and it was a simple banner that said “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here? You will” and the banner sent the user to an AT&T campaign.

As FastCompany said in an article:

“AT&T’s wasn’t the only clickable campaign that ran on HotWired that day, but the irony of its message is hard to beat, given that most people today don’t click banner ads.”

What was the purpose of the first banner ad? As Otto Timmons said “We saw our ad as kind of a public service announcement” Because that specific banner ad took the user to a microsite on which he could find lists of the top museums and other mind-expanding websites.

The banner advertising industry

But today, the banner advertising world has developed from the web banner ads you see on your favorite publications, to social media ads like Facebook Banners, Instagram Sponsored Ads, Snapchat Geofilters, and other social media ads.

The display advertising spending will decline search ad spending in the US. Online advertising formats as banner ads, video, rich media, and sponsorship will account for the largest share of digital ad spending: 47.9%, worth $32.17Billion.  

And to make sure we’re speaking the same language, we need to set some things straight about banner advertising and design right from the start.

Let’s begin with the basics:

1. What is banner advertising?

It’s a form of online advertising through banners. 

Banner advertising is also called display advertising (as opposed to text-only advertising) because of the visual nature of banner ads. The purpose of banner advertising is to promote a brand. The banner ad can take the visitor from the host website to the advertiser’s website or a specific landing page.

You can start a banner advertising campaign for Google Adwords or any other display network and use our banner maker to simplify the process.

2. What is a banner ad?

A banner ad, or a web banner, is an advertisement displayed on a web page. The advertisement consists of an image (.jpg, .png, .gif) or of a multimedia object (usually created using Flash or HTML5). 

Thus, banner ads can be static or animated, depending on the technology used to make them.

The static banner ad can be a simple image or a visual that is acting just like an ad but in the digital ecosystem, you can click on it and get to the website or landing page of the advertisement.

We’ve heard  lots of questions around “What is an animated banner ad?” so we want to help you with an answer:

An animated banner ad (or web banner) is a type of digital advertising that is delivered by an ad server. The purpose is the same as the one for the static banner ad: to get noticed on the website and make the user click on it.  

Also, you can call the animated ad a programmatically generated display or sequential visual that creates the illusion that the objects in the image are moving.

2. How do web banner ads work?

Banner ads are intended to generate traffic to a website by linking to it. Also, web banners can function as regular, print advertisements: inform, notify about a new product, increase brand awareness and so on.  

However, most banners are clickable and their main function is to get clicked on. But we’ll talk about banner effectiveness in a few moments.

So, why use banner advertising?

1. Brand awareness – you can grow your brand awareness using banner ads so people can easily recognize your product or service. Brands like IBM, Apple, Target, or Nike use banner ads to grow their business through brand advertising.

2. Lead generator – it’s a great way to build your user base. If you are a SaaS you can use banner ads to get more users to sign up and try your product/service.

3. Retarget your audience – if somebody came on your website but didn’t sign up on your newsletter or didn’t try out your product you can retarget them with banner ads.

Generally, banner ads are placed on high traffic websites that offer interesting or useful content.  

But, besides traffic, there are other important aspects to be taken into consideration when choosing a website to advertise on. This is why we always recommend you to advertise on the websites that are in your industry’s niche.  

One of these aspects is the website’s target, which has to more or less match with the banner’s intended audience.

3. Why is banner advertising effective?

One advantage of online advertising over the traditional one is that its effectiveness can be easily measured. Regarding banner ads, the main effectiveness indicator is the click-through rate. The click-through rate (CTR) is calculated by dividing the number of users who clicked on the ad by the number of times the ad was displayed (impressions). 

For instance, one might say that a certain ad has a click-through rate of 3%. That means that out of 100 impressions delivered, the banner was clicked on three times.

Therefore, the higher the CTR is, the more effective the advertisement is. It’s that simple.

4. Standard banner sizes for advertising

When you browse across the Internet it’s likely for you to encounter all kinds of banners in all kinds of sizes. Lucky for us, there are some standards too. And their role is to reduce the amount of work for agencies when faced with the problem of creating many banners and similar sizes for different publishers. 

And here is where the IAB standards come into play. But we’ll talk more about ad standards in a future post. 

Check the list below with the banner ad standard size:

Ad size Name Where it’s featured Supply
300×250 Medium Rectangle Embedded within or at the end of articles Good inventory
336×280 Large Rectangle Embedded within or at the end of articles Good inventory
728×90 Leaderboard Placed on top or inserted in an article Good inventory
300×600 Half Page Featured in the right or left-hand side Growing inventory
468×60 Banner Featured in small spaces inside or on the left in articles Limited, declining inventory
234×60 Half Banner Featured in small spaces inside or on the left in articles Limited, declining inventory
120×600 Skyscraper Featured in websites sidebars Limited inventory
160×600 Wide Skyscraper Featured in websites sidebars Good inventory
970×90 Wide Skyscraper Top of website pages Limited inventory
200×200 Small Square Usually featured in the right-hand sidebar Limited inventory
250×250 Square Usually featured in the right-hand sidebar Limited inventory

5. How to create a banner for advertising

Easy! You don’t have to be a professional designer to design a banner ad. You can create static or animated banner ads with Creatopy, without any coding skills. The best part is that anybody can create banners: all you need is a computer with an internet connection. You can log in with Facebook, Twitter, or your email.

But there are a few simple principles you have to make sure that you understand while you design a banner ad:

1. Who is your main target and what do you want from them? Before you design a banner ad you need to know who is your core audience and what you want from them. Maybe you want them to click on your website, or to buy your limited sale product, or to try your service for free. Think about that!

2. What is your value proposition? This will help you write the text of your banner and also choose a good CTA button text.

3. Choose a Standard web banner ad size – Because the publishers are usually using the standard banner ad sizes on their websites. So, if you pick another size you limit the reach of your banner ad campaigns.

4. Use readable fonts – You want the user to understand what you want to offer and what he can get if he will click your banner ad. 

5. Use high-quality photos – Very low-quality photos and images used in a banner ad can create mistrust between the brand and the user. 54% of users don’t click banner ads because they don’t trust them.

6. Use your brand colors – If you want to create professional banner ads and you want people to recognize your brand on the internet I recommend you to stay close to your brand color.

7. Don’t overcrowd your banner ad – The simpler the banner ad is the easier you can communicate the right message to your audience.

8. Don’t forget to use a branding element (logo, company name, or website) – It doesn’t matter how big you are in your industry, you need to use one of your branding elements to show the user that your company is behind that banner ad.

6. How do I advertise my banner?

After you create the banner, you need some webspace to use it on, so you will need to buy ad space on websites. Contacting blog and website owners and negotiating with them individually can be stressful and time-consuming, so most people choose an advertising network to help them distribute their ads.

Some of these advertising networks are Google Adwords, IAB., AOL Advertising, Right Media, BuyAds.com, OpenX. Each of these has certain standards, so you should make sure that your banners comply with their regulations before you start creating the ads.

This way, you won’t have to edit the banner again.

Creatopy banners are compatible with all of these ad networks.

7. How to start banner advertising?

It doesn’t matter what kind of advertising do you want to do, there are a few principles you must stick to it so that you can have an effective banner ad campaign.

The thing that I love about banner advertising is that it’s all about visual advertising. The visuals (photo, videos) go beyond text advertising and you can easily use buttons, colors, images, text, or even animations to create an easy-to-understand message.

So, what are the principles that will help you start in banner advertising?

1. What do you want from your campaign – Think about your product/service and see what’s the specific idea you can build your campaign on.

2. Determine your budget – Advertising is something you pay to show and banner advertising is the same. You need to know how much money you want to invest in this banner ad campaign.

3. Who is your audience – Understanding who you want to advertise to will help you create a better banner ad campaign. Because you will know their needs and you will know how to design the banner ad to get noticed by them.


Banner advertising can be a real deal for your business if you know how to optimize it and get the best out of it. There are brands like Airbnb, Wall-Mart, or Time Magazine that use banner advertising and see an increase in their business.

Here are a few ideas and tactics that will help you understand how banner advertising works.

Now back to you, let us know in the comment section below what are your biggest struggles when it comes to launching your banner ad campaign!

Robert Katai
Robert Katai is the Product Marketing Specialist at Creatopy. His work was featured on Adweek, Entrepreneur, Marketing Profs, Content Marketing Institute and other places.


  1. Thanks for giving some basic benefits of banner advertisement, I have recently started advertising campaign for my business with åKOMPANI( http://akompani.se/ ) and I am quite satisfied. I am impressed with your ideas of banner advertisement, will definitely consider. Thanks once again, keep posting.

  2. Thanks for sharing these benefit of advertising work here. I really impressed with this post. Denititely your post will get a huge success. Keep posting.

  3. Thank you. I really want to people who learn how banner works to be clickable and success.

  4. I agree, all banner will be more views

  5. good but creepy

  6. Your knowledge on display banners was very helpful and thoroughly provided me clarity on some confusing information I received about Display/Web Banner Advertising. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  7. @Tracy – You welcome. If you need any help about display ads and banner ads, let us know!

  8. Informative article,,
    Banners are really a good and cheap way to promote your site as well as your business. As banners are cheap in cost and easy to use.

  9. Thank you for giving so much benefits of banner advertisement, I can start now a new advertising campaign for my loan business!

  10. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about banner ads.

  11. It’s very good opportunity to learn banner ads .

  12. Great article! Thank you so much.

  13. Web Banner is an essential need for every website. I was really Upset and discouraged when i was getting good content for my website but lack of readers because there is no good quality designs to attract the readers to continue to stay to read more articles on my website. Not until i found an agent https://goo.gl/W11wVZ who provides me with real stocked quality web banner ads designs, to promote my website and other advertising products services i render https://goo.gl/W11wVZ .
    Now I write with passion and advertise my website and product on a quality design with ease, because i know i have audience who will be reading. what a joy in my heart. I have been using his designs for my website banner ads for sometime now and he is the best so far.

  14. Hi, does anyone know what is prohibited in-banner traffic?

  15. The trick is to make your banner ad irresistible to customers who see it. In a more cynical digital age that can seem difficult, but really all you need are some tips on creating a more effective banner ad for your business. Here they are. https://coastalmediabrand.com

  16. Splendid article! A fervid thank you for sharing your thoughts about banner advertisements. They are indeed the one that would catch the attention of the customers. “Give them the reason to click!”, they say. It should be simple yet presentable. I know a firm that makes magnificent banner ads at a very affordable price, please check this out, here’s the link: http://pixelprint.design/.

  17. I would like to thnkx for the efforts you’ve put in writing this website.
    I am hoping the same high-grade site post from you in the upcoming as well.
    Actually your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own website now.
    Actually the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your
    write up is a good example of it.

  18. Thank you, Kathleen! Good luck with your website! – Oana

  19. Thanks for sharing this article. It is very useful to us

    Mobile Advertising

  20. very useful content, thanks for sharing this information.

  21. You are welcome Gayla

  22. Banner (Display) Advertising can be and is very effective when giving the viewer (website visitor) something that is relevant for them to interact with. So, if you’re using banner ads to showcase your online show store – providing images of shoes and pricing is often effective usage of your banner ad space and often times results in engagement.

  23. Can I get some help to set up a Banner

  24. Now that I have a banner ad created where can I host it at. In other words, where do I park it at? It is not going on a website and is intended to be displayed across Book review sites, with a link that directs them to my Amazon Book sales page.

  25. Hello Gary,

    If you want the banners to be displayed on several websites to promote your Amazon Book sales page, here are a few things you can do:
    1. You can start a display ad campaign with Google Adwords
    2. You can start a Facebook ad campaign
    3. Talk with the owners of the website and ask them if they let you put your banner on their website

    Hope this helped!

  26. Hi Robert,
    Excellent post. Banner advertising is a cost-effective way to promote the sites. Thanks for sharing this informative post.

  27. Hey Robert, Great post. We are Coffee roasters in Sunshine Coast, Currently working with Digital marketing agency in Sunshine Coast to promote our brand to our target audience. Here I got awesome tips to start our display advertising campaign. Thanks for sharing.

  28. I’m new to affiliate marketing and I very interested in doing banner ads. There are sooo many websites out there. How about banner ads exchange? How long it takes until i see results?
    Thank for your feedback! I will be looking into Google Adword and BuyAds.com

  29. Thank you for sharing this nice tips of Display advertising. I like to try for my travel company.

  30. Amazing! Its genuinely amazing article, I have got much clear idea on the topic of from this paragraph.

  31. Among these advertising networks which one will you prefer for a weight loss banner based on your experience.

  32. Was hoping for some info on how banner ads work from a business perspective. Like how much they cost, what you get for the price etc. If you pay for a banner ad I don’t imagine it runs indefinitely. I imagine there are some sort of time parameters or something. It would be good if that information was in this article.

  33. I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here frequently.

    I am quite certain I will learn a lot of new stuff right here!

    Good luck for the next!

  34. Hi there everybody, here every person is sharing these familiarity, thus it’s
    good to read this blog, and I used to go to see this webpage every day.

  35. I think it is the article for those who are thinking to advertise their business through banners. Although other methods are also available, if you want a cheap advertising method then it is the best.

  36. Thanks for providing such a nice information.

  37. best article ever

  38. Useful post about banner advertising basics tactics

  39. I never knew that there was so much to a digital banner online and how much you could do with it, i.e. animate, static, retarget. My brother just developed a business and is trying to get it advertised so he can get business as you can imagine. I will have to pass along that banners on common websites or any website could help him.

  40. Hi Robert Katai,

    It was an amazing article, I have to be honest I came straight into your post thanks to google, I was actually researching about physicall banner advertising since that is what we specialize on, but your digital banner advertising techniques truly gave me great ideas to use fo my business.

    I will be trying to apply some of your techniques on my website aswell: “https://www.sign-serve.com” I would really appreciate your feedback you seem to be very knowledgeble.

    Many thanks.

  41. My stepmom is opening up a floral shop in Maricopa, AZ sometime this July. She needs to make some physical advertisements to help with her grand opening. I’ll pass on your advice to figure out her core audience and what she wants them to take from her sign when finding a banner printing service in Maricopa, AZ.

  42. Thank you for every other magnificent article.
    The place else may just anyone get that type of information in such a perfect means of writing?
    I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m on the search for such info.

  43. is banner advertising is beneficial for Affiliate Marketing?

  44. Hi, Praveen. Yes, you can definitely use banner advertising for affiliate marketing.

  45. Hi, after reading this awesome paragraph i am as well happy to
    share my experience here with colleagues.

  46. Hi there mates, good article and nice arguments commented at this place, I am truly enjoying by these.

  47. Hello, can I target areas in the world or the USA where I want banner ads to appear?

  48. Hi, Francisco. Yes, you can do that. Location targeting allows you to choose specific locations where you want your banner ads to be shown. You can select entire countries, cities, territories, or postal codes and even a radius around a location. You can also select worldwide with the option to exclude locations where you don’t want your ads to be shown. Hope this helps!

  49. As a marketing analyst I found this piece to be very insightful. Thank you, I will definitely be implementing this.

  50. Thank you Robert for providing such a detailed info about advertising. I appreciate your hard work on this post. I have learn a lot on your written post.

    Keep writing keep sharing.

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