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Understanding Banner Ads: Their Functionality and Operations (2024)


Varieties of Banner Ad Sizes

Banner Ad Costs

3 Effective Banner Ad Examples

Where to Buy Banner Ads

How to Create Banner Ads

Useful Pointers for Crafting Effective Banner Ads

Bottom Line

Utilising banner ads can significantly enhance the process of online product sales by enabling access to a broad and diverse audience. For an e-commerce store owner, this heightened visibility plays a pivotal role in fostering brand recognition, introducing new products, and maintaining prominent promotion of offers within the public sphere.

However, the challenge with banner ads lies in the inherent need to disrupt the visitor's ongoing activity to secure clicks. This initial disruption can potentially create friction in engaging with the target audience. Nevertheless, implementing effective tactics can mitigate these challenges and render your ads more compelling and engaging.

By employing a touch of ingenuity, you can craft banner ads that seamlessly capture your audience's attention and drive sales. This comprehensive guide is designed to provide insights into the fundamentals of clickable banner ads, effective web banner design, and practical strategies for creating captivating web banners.

Understanding Banner Advertising and Its Functionality

Banner advertising entails the use of graphic digital displays to promote a brand or incentivize users to click on the advertisement, leading them to the landing page of an online store. These ads typically appear as rectangular visuals spanning specific segments of a website or social media page.

Here's a breakdown of how banner ads operate:

  1. Advertisers upload their ads either to online advertising networks or directly to websites. These ad networks manage a multitude of ads from various advertisers, distributing them across numerous websites within their network.

  1. Targeting specific demographics and user behaviours holds paramount importance for advertisers in ensuring their ads effectively reach the intended audience. Targeting parameters may include location, browsing habits, interests, age, gender, or device type. Ads that exhibit greater precision in targeting tend to yield more effective results.

  1. Many ad networks employ real-time bidding (RTB) mechanisms to display ads to users. In a matter of milliseconds, an auction transpires between different advertisers' ads on a site, and the victorious advertiser's ad is then displayed. Advertisers have the option to optimise their banner ads by leveraging performance data, which can involve making alterations to the ads themselves, refining the targeting strategy, or adjusting the bidding strategy.

Varieties of Banner Ad Sizes

Banner ads come in diverse sizes, catering to various advertising needs. Below is a list outlining the different sizes of banner ads, aiding in the selection of the most suitable format for your business:

Small square (200 pixels x 200 pixels): Notable for its limited visibility, this size may appear cluttered due to its small dimensions. It is not widely favoured among e-commerce businesses.

Square (250 x 250): Well-suited for smaller ad spaces, this size offers more versatility than the small square, albeit still being relatively compact for business advertising purposes.

Standard banner (468 x 60): Often positioned above the navigation bar or between the main content of a webpage, this size surpasses square banner ads in dimensions, requiring thoughtful ad design to fit within the narrower space.

Leaderboard (728 x 90): Significantly larger than square banner ads, the leaderboard size stands out prominently and is typically placed above navigation bars for heightened visibility.

Large leaderboard (970 x 90): An expanded version of the standard leaderboard, this size provides an even greater visual impact.

Medium rectangle (300 x 250): This format represents the most popular type of banner ad among businesses, functioning effectively when positioned in the sidebar amid organic content.

Large rectangle (336 x 280): Particularly effective when placed in sidebars and within the main content of a website, this size is a common choice among online publishers for banner ad placement.

Skyscraper (120 x 600): Well-suited for sidebars due to its elongated shape, this size is ideal for ads featuring downward descending visuals.

Wide skyscraper (160 x 600): Widely used in the sidebars of websites, this broader skyscraper size tends to command more attention compared to a regular skyscraper.

Half-page ad (300 x 600): A notably large format boasting high visibility, this ad size covers nearly half of a webpage, making it a prominent and attention-grabbing advertising option.

Banner Ad Costs

According to research by BusinessofApps, the average search advertising cost per click (CPC) across all industries stood at 67¢ in 2022, while the average CPC for Google Display ads amounted to $2.32.

Nevertheless, there exist several distinct types of ad payment models, each catering to specific business objectives. It is imperative to select the model that best aligns with your unique business goals. These models include:

Cost per thousand (CPM): Under this model, you pay a fixed price for every 1,000 users who view your ad. It is important to note that users do not necessarily have to click on the ad; merely viewing the page on which your ad is displayed counts towards the 1,000 impressions.

Cost per click (CPC): This model requires you to pay a fee each time a user clicks on one of your ads. It is an advantageous payment plan for business owners seeking to enhance their click-through rates.

Cost per action (CPA): Primarily used for affiliate marketing, this model involves providing a banner ad to an affiliate partner, such as a social media influencer or celebrity. The affiliate partner covers the fees to incorporate the ad on their social media page or website and receives a commision for each successful sales lead generated.

Cost per view (CPV): Typically applied to video ads, this model entails payment for each view of your ad. A view is only counted if a user watches your ad for at least 30 seconds or engages with your video ad, whichever comes first.

Cost per lead (CPL): Similar to the CPA model, CPL involves payment for specific user actions. For instance, this could include compensating for a user signing up for a newsletter, registering an email address, or following your business's social media accounts, among other designated actions.

3 Effective Banner Ad Examples



To capture the audience's attention effectively, the Sugarlips ad strategically aligns with the website's content, ensuring maximum visibility and engagement. Positioned at the top of a high-traffic area on the CNN site, this large banner ad is situated besides the main content, drawing the focus of visitors and increasing the likelihood of click-through rates, lead generation, and boosted sales.

Health Bloom


The Health Bloom advertisement employs a simple yet impactful design, featuring a prominently placed logo and brand name for immediate brand recognition. Utilising high-resolution images of fresh greens, the ad effectively communicates the brand's organic and fresh produce offerings. Clear and concise text, including "Organic Groceries" and "Stock up on your everyday essentials," succinctly conveys the brand's value proposition without overwhelming the audience.


Allbirds' banner ad campaign resonates with environmentally conscious consumers by emphasising sustainability. The clean and straightforward layout minimises distractions, allowing the product and its environmental benefits to take centre stage. The inclusion of the text "A Truly Sustainable Alternative Leather" effectively communicates the product's unique selling point. Additionally, the prominent "SHOP NOW" button encourages immediate action, designed with a contrasting colour to stand out without overshadowing the primary message.

Where to Buy Banner Ads

When it comes to purchasing banner ads, there are two primary options: direct dealings with the website or collaboration with an advertising network. Let's explore the specifics of each approach:

Direct Purchases

In certain industries, there are niche websites known for their popularity and robust advertising programmes. Establish contact with the website operators and enquire about their advertising rates. These sites often offer excellent value for your investment in banner ads. Furthermore, prolonged advertising on such platforms can facilitate the development of a strong rapport with their loyal audience.

Consider periodically refreshing your ads and tailoring them to specific themes to maintain engagement with the website's visitors. By consistently updating your ads and evoking positive audience responses, you can solidify your brand's relationship with the site's visitors.

Advertising Networks

Opting for an advertising network provides a broad approach. These networks serve as intermediaries between your business and the websites where your ads will appear. While this approach grants access to a wider array of websites with minimal effort, it may not yield the most favourable advertising rates and limits the opportunity to establish personal connections with website operators.

In addition to renowned options like Google and Bing, BuySellAds stands as another popular advertising network.

We recommend initially focusing on establishing direct relationships with publishers. If you require further advertising reach, consider engaging with ad networks and identifying the network that best aligns with your specific advertising requirements.

How to Create Banner Ads

  1. Determining Ad Placement

To begin, it's crucial to identify the optimal locations for displaying your ads. Ensure that the websites, affiliates, and networks you choose are in line with your business objectives and effectively reach your target audience.

You can opt to directly approach individual companies for a personalised arrangement or focus solely on advertising through social media platforms. Alternatively, consider joining networks like the Google Display Network or the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) to have your ads showcased on a vast array of websites within these respective networks. While membership fees for such networks may apply, the potential access they offer could prove invaluable.

  1. Selecting the Right Creation Tool

If you lack graphic design expertise or are unfamiliar with software like Photoshop, there's no need to worry. Numerous ad creation tools are available to assist you. Many CRM and e-commerce platforms offer integrated ad creation tools as part of their software suites. Ensure that you understand the specific features you require and confirm the supported file types and specifications of your chosen ad creation tools.

  1. Crafting Compelling Visuals

Next, focus on choosing the appropriate size for your ad, considering the advantages and disadvantages of the banner ad sizes listed earlier. Take into account the prevalent format through which your target audience accesses your site, be it through mobile devices or laptops.

After determining the banner size, select a suitable background colour that complements the websites where your ads will be displayed. If your ads primarily appear on blogs or news websites, opt for a vibrant colour that contrasts with the white backgrounds typically used on these sites.

Additionally, carefully curate the images, videos, or animations to be included in your ad. Utilise high-quality images that are visually appealing and avoid using blurred or poorly composed visuals. Given the limited space available to make an impact and the presence of competing ads and distractions, ensure your visuals stand out and capture the audience's attention effectively.

  1. Crafting Compelling Copy

This is your opportunity to captivate the attention of viewers and encourage them to engage with your brand. Consider utilising discount offers, clever or inspirational language, or providing concise and informative content.

Follow these guidelines:

  • Opt for a font that is both easily legible and representative of your brand's aesthetic.

  • Maximise the use of your ad space while ensuring your banner ad remains uncluttered.

  • Incorporate a strong call to action (CTA) within your text. You can include a creative button prompting individuals to sign up for a newsletter or visit your store's homepage.

  1. Optimise Your Landing Page

Now that your ads and calls to action are in place, it's essential to ensure that your landing page is prepared to receive visitors. Similar to the thought process applied to your banner ads, employ a similar approach when evaluating your landing page.

Ensure that your landing page is visually appealing, easy to navigate, and consistent with your brand's image. Consider featuring advertisements on your landing page with exclusive discounts for specific products. This presents an opportunity to use an entire webpage to sustain visitor interest, fostering a path that leads to successful conversions.

Take inspiration from Gymshark's landing page, which prominently displays the menu bar and features an easily legible font. Gymshark effectively utilises its landing page to promote featured items and new releases, thereby maintaining viewer interest and steering them towards potential sales.

Useful Pointers for Crafting Effective Banner Ads

The key to achieving success with banner ads lies in comprehending the challenges mentioned earlier and devising strategies to capture the audience's attention or provide assistance.

Consider the following suggestions to optimise your approach:

  • Carefully select relevant websites for displaying your banner ads. Avoid spreading your ads indiscriminately across the web, as this can lead to subpar ad performance. Instead, opt for websites frequented by your target audience. Choosing niche websites can yield better results.

  • Infuse creativity into addressing the web visitor's concerns. It may seem straightforward, but many retailers invest minimal effort into designing their ad artwork. Focus on elements that can capture the viewer's attention and resonate with your target audience's interests and needs.

  • Conduct tests to refine your approach. The initial banner ad you publish serves as a test to gauge its effectiveness. It's essential to continuously refine your message, destination pages, and artwork. Monitoring and analysing the impact of various ads on your web analytics is crucial for making informed decisions.

Consider the destination of your banner ad traffic carefully. Depending on the nature of your banner ad message, you can direct the traffic to the following destinations:

Your home page: We typically advise against sending traffic to your home page, except when your advertisements primarily focus on brand awareness. However, it's crucial to understand that directing traffic to the home page might not lead to significant sales conversions.

A category page: If your ad is related to a specific category of products, directing the traffic to the relevant category page is a viable option. Consider organising the products on the category pages to showcase the most popular or lowest-priced items.

A product page: If your advertisement highlights a specific product, sending the traffic directly to the product page is highly recommended. This approach often results in higher conversion rates, especially when users are immediately presented with the product they are interested in.

A promotional page: In cases where you are offering giveaways or conducting contests, it is advisable to direct users directly to the promotional page. Simplify the process for users to access the promotion, as it can significantly enhance engagement and participation.

Bottom Line

While display ads may not initially be the top choice for ad placement due to their potential to disrupt the user experience, it's essential to recognise the scope for creatively crafted banner ads to not only drive traffic and conversions but also boost sales for your e-commerce store.

These ads, when designed thoughtfully, have the power to engage potential customers effectively and encourage them to explore your offerings. By implementing innovative strategies and considering the user experience, you can navigate the challenges associated with display ads and leverage their potential to increase brand visibility and sales.

With a strategic approach, you can develop engaging banner ads that seamlessly integrate with the user's browsing experience, providing value and relevance. This fosters a positive connection with your target audience and enhances the overall effectiveness of your advertising campaign.

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