Banner Ad Design Best Practices & Pitfalls to Avoid

Banner ads are still a great way for your clients to promote their business or product.  Let’s create a compelling and impactful banner ad that captures attention, communicates your client’s message, and generates the results that will keep your clients coming back for more.

When you have a popular website that brings in visitors consistently, banner ads can be a great marketing tool for your clients and a revenue generator for your station.  The key is overcoming banner fatigue and creating something for your client that stands out and gets people to take action.

On the radio, a decent commercial can still maintain top-of-mind awareness for a business.  However, if a banner ad is just a business logo it fails to serve the same purpose because there’s no message or call to action associated with it.  Those banner ads are too quickly looked over.

Banner Ad Best Practices

Here are some key steps to take to ensure your banner ads are effective.

1) Define Your Goal

Before diving into the design, clearly define the goal of the banner ad.  The goal of most ads is to get a click to their website to purchase a product of some kind.  For others, the goal may simply be brand awareness.  In that case, the number of clicks may not matter to them as much.  Understanding your goal will shape your strategy.

2) Keep The Ad Simple and Focused

Much like 15-second radio commercials, banner ads have limited space, so simplicity is key. Keep your design clean, uncluttered, and focused on the main message or call-to-action (CTA). Use concise and compelling words that convey the value proposition quickly.

3) Design for Visibility and Branding

In addition to the company logo, choose contrasting colors that grab attention and align with the client’s brand identity. Always choose a quickly readable font that complements the design.

4) Use Eye-Catching Imagery

Images play a crucial role in capturing attention. Use high-quality and relevant images or graphics that enhance your message and evoke emotions. Ensure that the imagery is visually appealing, relates to your product or service, and is optimized for quick loading.

5) Utilize Compelling Copy

Use concise persuasive copy that encourages action. Use strong headlines, taglines, or slogans that pique curiosity and create a sense of urgency. Incorporate power words or emotional triggers to evoke a desired response. Remember, less is more when it comes to text in banner ads, so choose your words wisely. If the client has a radio commercial running, having a banner ad with the same copy is a great way to tie the two.

6) Create a Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

Your banner ad’s CTA should be the focal point of your design. Make it clear, prominent, and actionable. Use actionable verbs like “buy now,” “sign up,” or “learn more” to prompt users to take the desired action. Use contrasting colors and include a button object with the call to action within the ad because it encourages clicking.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

There are several common mistakes that you should avoid to ensure the client’s banner ad is effective. Here are some of the most common mistakes to watch out for:

1) Overcrowding information

One of the main mistakes that advertisers make is trying to pack too much information into a single banner ad. This can lead to a cluttered and confusing ad that fails to attract the attention of the target audience. Instead, focus on a single message or offer and keep the design clean and simple.

2) Using Low-Quality Images

Another mistake is using low-quality images or graphics in the banner ad. Poor-quality images not only look unprofessional, but they also fail to capture the audience’s attention. Use high-quality images that are relevant to the message or product, and make sure they are properly sized and optimized for the ad.

3) Ignoring the Call to Action

A strong call to action is essential in any banner ad campaign. However, some advertisers make the mistake of burying the call to action or making it difficult to find. Make sure that the call to action is prominently displayed and easy to understand.

4) Using Too Many Colors

While using color can help a banner ad stand out, using too many colors can be distracting and overwhelming. Stick to a limited color palette that is consistent with your brand and message. Choose colors that contrast well and make the text easy to read.

5) Not Paying Attention to File Size

Your banner ad should not be the reason why the page it’s on takes longer to load.  As with every image you upload to your website, ensure the file size is small as possible.

6) Not Tracking and Analyzing Performance

Failing to track and analyze the performance of a banner ad campaign is a major mistake. Without tracking, you won’t know how well your ad is performing in its duty. Use tracking tools to monitor clicks and conversions.  Use this data to refine your ad and improve its performance.

Conduct A/B testing with different variations. Test different elements such as colors, copy, imagery, or CTAs to identify the most impactful combination. Continuously track and analyze the performance of your ads and make iterative improvements based on the data.

Should You Use Animation?

It depends.  Animated ads can allow you to give more information about your client within the designated ad space.  Animated ads have also been shown to convert into more clicks.  However, animated ads can come with a price.  File sizes can become heavy when there are multiple frames and elements.  Ad creation may take more time compared to a static banner and sometimes expensive software must be used.  In the end, use animation for a specific purpose – not just to be flashy and grab attention.


Crafting an effective banner ad requires a thoughtful approach that combines creativity, strategy, and optimization. We hope these steps will help you create compelling and impactful banner ads that attract attention, communicate the client’s message effectively, and drive desired results.  Remember to continuously test and monitor the performance of your ads to achieve the best possible results.

We want to help your radio station grow and succeed online.  That journey starts with an amazing website that keeps visitors coming back often.  Reach out to us to start your path to online success, or schedule an appointment to see our tools in action.

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