The Anatomy Of A Banner Ad
3 minutes read

Before you get down to actually creating your banner ad, let’s see what is a banner ad.

The banner ad is a rectangular online graphic display that is intended to attract clicks to a website by linking to the website of the advertiser. The banner ad is also called the web banner. In most cases, these banner ads are delivered by a central ad server and it’s called banner advertising.  

Now let’s get to the technical considerations that will ensure that your banner ad gets approved by the ad server.

1. Banner ad size

Banner ad sizes matter in an ad campaign.


Choose unpopular sizes and you’ll see a lower number of impressions and with that, in turn, you reduce the audience you can get in front of. If, on the other hand, you choose popular sizes, your chances of getting your banner ads in front of the right people increase.

So, what’s a good banner ad size?

Most websites that run ads (publishers) accept ads that are 728×90, 160×600 and 300×250.

The IAB standard ad package also includes banner ads, but that size is not that popular with publishers.

2. File size & Formats

Generally, banner ads should be up to 150 KB.

However, different ad networks and different publishers may have specific requirements. Unless you’re running ads through Google Display Network, check with your ad platform or with the publisher you want to run ads with the maximum size allowed.

The following formats are accepted:

  • .GIF
  • .PNG
  • .JPG
  • .JPEG
  • .SWF (Flash)

Due to recent changes, SWF (Flash) banners will be no longer supported by browsers and HTML5 is said to take its place.

3. Animated banner requirements

For banner ads that have multiple slides and animated banners, there are a few requirements. First, your banner animation shouldn’t run longer than 30 seconds.

The banner can be looped, but the animation has to stop after 30 seconds.

GIF banners are required to have a speed of 5 frames per second or lower. Flash ads require a speed of 20 frames per second or lower and that you set the clickTAG variable.

4. Content requirements

a. Images:

Use only clear, professional images in your banners. Adding images that are blurry or hard to recognize could get your banner ad disapproved.

b. Tricking behavior:

Your banners must be easy to distinguish from the rest of page where they will be displayed.

Your ad must look like an ad, and the advertiser should be easy to recognize and identify (use brading or a logo).

Make your display ads and your offering as engaging as possible for your users.

Also, you are not allowed to replicate site or system warnings, dialogue boxes or error messages. Animated ads can feature animations or features as long as they can be replicated on the landing page.

c. Restricted domains:

Unless your ad network approves, the following categories are restricted from display online advertising: illegal drugs, alcohol, adult products and services, tobacco or tobacco-related products, gambling (both online and offline), “anti” or violent concepts, counterfeit goods, weapons, fake documents.

Also, health and health related products have a specific set of requirements, you can read more about it here.


Landing pages don’t and shouldn’t be concerned with banner ad design. However, to get your banner ad approved, here’s what you need to know about the landing page to which your banner ad links to.

  1. You must link to a working website.
  2. You cannot direct users to a 404 page, to an email address or to a website that’s under construction. More, you cannot use the landing page as a bridge page to another website
  3. You cannot use short links. If you want to track your campaign results, tag your links with the appropriate parameters.
  4. You need to have links to a privacy policy on your website.

Chapter 1: Advertise For Your Target Audience


Chapter 3: Design Principles When Creating Banner Ads

Chapter 4: What Visual Elements Use in Banner Ads

Chapter 5: How To Define Value Proposition

Chapter 6: How Important are Colors in Banner Ads?

Chapter 7: The Power Of Call-To-Action In Banner Ads

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.

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