Creative Online Banner Ads & Digital Display Advertising

Online banner advertising is often overlooked in favor of other digital ad formats, but results show that banner ads can increase brand lift.

Google Media Lab, which is the in-house team responsible for planning, buying, and placing media for Google, found that cross-screen banner ads can drive brand lift. They looked at the results of U.S. campaigns for 2014 and saw that online banner ads, not video or more complex digital display formats, accounted for 82% of the unique reach of tier one campaigns (those with large investments). In the second half of 2014, the banner creative for Google’s Android Wear campaign increased brand recall and intent by 15.8% and 9.4%, respectively.

The success of online banner advertising campaigns depends primarily on creative quality. The best banner ads are eye-catching, timely, and personalized. The key to improving your banner ad success rate is the art of creative testing.

Creating Successful Online Banner Ads

1. Be compelling. Banner ads have to be eye-catching enough to attract attention. Only then does your marketing message have the opportunity to break through. Things like animation, the use of faces, brand colors, and clear text help digital display advertising stand out.

2. Be concise. At any given moment, someone might see a banner ad and only pay attention to it for a moment. In that moment, be concise to make sure your message sticks.

3. Be clear. Banner ads tend to be relatively small, so you don’t always have a lot of space to work with. Don’t try to say too much; the ad may just end up looking cluttered. Instead, clearly communicate a single marketing message about a single product.

Dynamic Creative Banner Ads

A primary benefit of online advertising is reaching a highly specific audience, and dynamic creative banner ads allow you to pull the audience insights from your media buy into your creative strategy, so your message is just as targeted as your placements.

Dynamic creative can also play a crucial role in a mobile strategy. Google wants to convey the power of Search in a way that’s interesting, relevant, and hopefully, a value-add to mobile users. To do that, Google is using search insights and leveraging contextual signals (time of day, weather, and location, for example) to give the audience the right information at the right time.

Creative Banner Ad Testing

How do you know if you’re making the most of your online banner advertising? When you see your campaign results, how do you know if your creative is driving performance (or the lack thereof) or the media is? The answer is to systemize the process with creative testing. Then, you can develop creative best practices using the results.

Unlike in-market testing, where both creative and placement are variables, creative testing only analyzes the creative, keeping placements constant. Smart creative testing helps legitimize banner ads, and advertisers gravitate to channels and tactics that deliver measurable results. Creative testing also provides a benchmark for success.

Without testing, creative quality turns into a subjective debate. Data can streamline the dialogue. Since creative testing isolates creative quality, it’s possible to extrapolate which tactics work to formulate a set of best practices.

The importance of online banner advertising shouldn’t be underestimated. Strengthening the creative quality of digital display campaigns requires some work, but good creative and proper testing can yield dramatic results.


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