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27 July 2020 Victoria Duben

How to create a banner? Specs of Ad networks. Design banner tips from the Pros.

Successful ad campaigns all have one thing in common: they all use high-quality ads that have a stunning visual appeal. Not all ad banners work fine though; some can cause confusion or even irritation whereas some can truly inspire. That’s why it is essential to make an ad banner that is as engaging as possible which will truly satisfy your business goals. Below, we will go through a few different ways of creating banners of any kind. On top of that, we will discuss the most appropriate method that will help you generate cool banners with absolutely no coding skills. As a result, you will get a beautifully designed banner that is ready-to-use across many different ad networks.

Essential parts of a banner

I assume you already know what an ad banner is, but if not, let me remind you that it consists of key essential parts:

  • Image background – this gets your audience’s attention and is their first impression of your brand
  • Logo – this helps your audience recognize your brand as unique
  • Text/slogan – this informs them about your ad campaign including details about your product. Best to keep this part short and sweet
  • Call-to-action – the most important part of your ad banner. This is what drives users to click on your ad

To ensure your ad looks as appealing as possible, let’s quickly talk about the different ad sizes, ad specs, and ways to create ad banners with no design issues.

I would like to begin by describing the types of banner ads, ad formats, and the most popular ad banner dimensions used in well-known ad networks, like Google and Facebook.

There are 3 types of banners: mobile, desktop and tablet. According to Statista, there are 3.5 billion (with a B!) smartphone users in the world today. Roughly 45% of the world’s population owns a smartphone, which they use to surf online for countless hours each day. In some countries with emerging economies, the percentage is significantly higher and can reach upwards of 90-93%!

Knowing this, we suggest that you focus your attention on creating mobile ads rather than desktop as they are no longer as effective.

How to create an ad banner for Google ad network

Ok, now let’s see the sizes of mobile ads that are compatible with Google: 300×250, 320×50, 320×100, 250×250, 200×200. 

Choosing which banner size to run an effective ad campaign can be downright confusing sometimes. For instance, if you would like to show your product (style, image, details) and focus mostly on the visual part, use the 300×250 px ad banner size. If your ad goals are to get as many clicks as possible and drive users to a specific landing page where you show all your products, use the 320×100 px ad banner size. This size yields higher CTRs compared to the traditional 320×50 px ad banner size. Important note: regardless of the dimensions, all banner ads must be no larger than 150 KB in file size.

Also, you have to make sure your final designs are saved in the correct format. For example, Google accepts files in JPEG, SWF, PNG, and GIF. The best compression option gives you a file saved in JPEG. 

Below are the examples of mobile ad banners 320×100px and 300×250px:

Mobile ads in jpeg

If you are in a hurry, pre-designed and ready-to-use ad banner templates are the best option to quickly set up an ad campaign through Google. A huge selection of beautifully designed and eye-catching templates could be found here. Just select the necessary ad size and ad format in section “Display” and you’re all set. Alternatively, you can create an ad banner from scratch using your own background images or explore enormous stock photo libraries from sites such as Unsplash here. This brief tutorial will show you how to do it in minutes.

Tutorial: How to make an animated banner on Viewst Design App

How to create an ad banner for Facebook audience network (pro tips included)

If your target audience is mostly on Facebook, you would have to launch an ad campaign there. The below steps and tips regarding sizing & specs for ad banners will help you to do it effectively. 

Facebook supports the following ad formats and destinations: 

1. Video: use this format to build brand awareness and stay top of mind with users so when it comes time for them to buy something, they will think about your brand first. Also, video is one of the best ways to show off your product features with sound and motion.

  • Tip #1: A year ago, Facebook announced that the newsfeed will be optimized by the high-quality and original videos
  • Tip #2: Video ads on Facebook that are 30 seconds or shorter will loop for approximately 90 seconds (e.g. 30 seconds x 3 loops = 90 seconds, 16 sec x 6 loops = 96 sec).
  • Tip #3: Shorter videos get more complete views. More people watch to the end of videos that are less than 15 seconds long.

For example, Starbucks predominantly posts videos showcasing their products which are less than 15 seconds long. Videos between 5-10 seconds performed better and gave an average 2.4x more views and 2x more interactions than those that were longer than 10 seconds. For instance, Almond Honey Flat White  (0:05 sec) had 280k views and 6k interactions, Choose your vibe (0:09 sec) garnered 577k views, and 8.4k interactions, while Ice Cloud Michiato (0:13 sec) was viewed by only 175k people and received just  2.8k interactions. 

  • Tip #4 (Pro): use Facebook Live. This is the best way to interact with your viewers in real-time. Use your time to respond to your viewers’ questions and take a look at their live reactions. Most importantly, Facebook Live gives 6x more engagement than regular video. 

2. Image: such type of ad banner increases the interest of users in your brand, raises awareness of your goods & services, drives people to a destination website or a landing page via the use of high-quality visuals

  • Tip #1: Use images with bright colors and avoid those that have many small details or texts.   
  • Tip #2: Keep it simple. Put a clear message that makes people want to take action (e.g. call-to-action button shall state: “Buy now”, “Try now”, “Learn more”, “Sign up”, etc.). Make your message short and actionable. 

Below are examples with the right design of CTA:

Banners with the right design of CTA
  • Tip #3: Happy people that smile at you and looking straight at a user will help to persuade people to buy products or services and evoke happiness too. An image of a happy woman can be used for any type of product you need to promote: from nutrition and wellness to a new dress or shoes and even financial institutions where it can be tied to an idea of getting freedom from financial burdens. Did you ever notice how Coca-Cola uses happiness in their ad campaigns? One of the most successful ‘taste the feeling‘ ad campaigns, with the ‘Open Happiness’ tagline, is the best example. 
Coca Cola ‘taste the feeling‘ ad campaign
Banner Templates with Happy Faces available on viewst.com

3. Collection: this ad format is perfect for instant customer acquisition. Collection ads can encourage shopping impulses by displaying items from a product catalog and allowing users to browse them in one place. This is applicable when you want to showcase 4 or more products. You can also add videos for your collection to provide a richer experience to your potential customers.

4. Carousel: showcase up to 10 images or videos within a single ad to encourage users to scroll through the slides that showcase many different products.

According to Facebook, carousel ads yield a 30-50% lower cost-per-conversion than other ad types and 20-30% lower cost-per-click.

  • Tip #1: If you would like to make your carousel ads more appealing and engaging, go to viewst.com, and use our beautifully designed and perfectly animated templates. These banner ads will encourage your potential customers to learn more about your brand. It is super easy to do; quickly upload images of your products using a simple drag & drop option and customize our ready-to-use ad banners with your own messages. Start your own magic here

5. Post-engagement: boosting posts to increase user engagement with more likes, shares, comments. 

6. Lead generation ads: image or video that collects information from people who are interested in your business.

Finally, I would like to share the most important #ProTip applicable to all types of Facebook ads: experiment and do A/B testing. It is extremely valuable to know all types of ad formats you may set up on Facebook Audience Networks, but most important is to test your individual images to be sure you are getting the best performance possible. 

3 ways of designing an ad banner, 1 smart approach

Above, we discovered the specs of ad banners for major ad networks. It might confuse you a bit as there are so many rules and specifics. So if you are not a designer, it might be hard to create an appealing ad banner compatible with all these ad networks. Don’t worry though, we will show you the different ways you can create ad banners and a smart approach to help you to make the production process easy and fun.

#1 Outsourcing to a professional designer

Check portfolios of short-listed designers on Behance. It will show you whether your aesthetic taste meshes with a specific designer.

When it comes to pricing, you might pay just $15 for a banner design for a professional on Fiverr, but is it really worth it? We will see later below.

#2 Creating a banner yourself using different graphic design software

Today, your ad generating efforts are disrupted by the abundance of platforms offering everything from design, animation, photo editing and resizing of web or video banners. Figma, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe After Effects, SketchApp, inDesign, are just a few notable platforms – although there are many others out there.

The complexities of navigating the different structures and interfaces of each platform require a considerable time commitment to master. Moreover, jumping from one app to another is both time-consuming and can lead to errors. Even if such barriers are not a problem, the cost of paying for each of these platforms poses an additional challenge. Does it make sense to your bottom line to go this route?

#3 Using a smart approach – working with a single platform for all your design needs

I assume you already guessed that #1 and #2 approaches are not effective at all. Your time is gold and you have to spend it wisely. If you have no drawing skills, but would like to create banner ads like a pro, there is one approach you have to pay attention to.  Check out Viewst – the online design app that is well-structured and user-friendly, providing you with the tools to easily create ads at scale. Moreover, you will be able to create eye-catching and interactive ads without writing a single line of code for just $19/month. Remember, in the #1 approach we questioned ourselves whether it is worth to pay $15 for a single interaction with the designer. Now, just consider the possibilities when you’re paying $19 for monthly use of a design app that gives you the ability to generate banners in bulk.

A short video tutorial will give an idea of how it works (teaser: even children understand its interface so it won’t be difficult at all for you to make ad banners right after you sign up).

So, what type of banners you may create on Viewst platform: 

  • Display Ads of any kind that are compatible with various ad networks
Example of Mobile Ads
Example of Desktop Ads
  • Social Media Ads for posts, covers, stories or teasers
  • Floating Ads: high-end rich media ads that overlay the content.
  • Video ads: enriched clickable video ad units that are fixed or overlay the content

4 Banner design tips from a professional designer

The American Institute of Graphic (AIGA) defines graphic design as “the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content.” In other words, graphic design helps to communicate certain ideas in a visual way. To make such communication effective, you need to follow these basic principles of graphic design:

  • Balance – visual interpretation of gravity in the design and the proper distribution of design elements.
  • Contrast – the presentation of two elements of the design in opposite ways that gives objects greater visual weight, therefore balancing the image
  • Emphasis – drawing the viewer’s attention to a specific design element in a way that makes it stand out, distinct from the rest of the elements
  • Proportion – the relationship of two or more elements in a design and how they compare with one another. This is when all parts are properly balanced and relate well with each other and create a feeling of unity.

Our designer also collected a few more tips for you to create a visually appealing ad banner that looks like it was designed by a pro. Using these tips will help you to start thinking like a designer.

  1. Composition and Space 

Highlighting a major component within your banner space allows you to control the attention of your user. Usually, the most important elements of the banner are dominating so leave some space between elements if you can. Keep your banner blocks from sticking to each other while also not placing text too close to the edges.

Example of Good vs. Bad Composition and Space Principle in a banner
  1. Fonts

Do not use too many different fonts. Instead, stick to the font hierarchy. Beginners can build a font composition using just one font then add different styles (bold + normal) and sizes.

Below are the best font combinations available on Viewst that could be used for your banner’s design: 

  1. Color

Pure colors and the right color combinations will help improve the design of the banner. Try not to use too many colors. Here you can find high-quality colors and collect your own palette http://colrd.com/. Also, you may play with some gradients, which could be found here 

Example of Good vs. Bad Color Combinations

4. Images

Use high-quality graphics to make your visuals eye-catching. Avoid using images that are grainy, blurry, or pixelated. Use a simple 200% zoom test to check whether your image is fine. Professional stock photo sites like Unsplash, Pixabay offer the finest free images, stock photos that were hand-selected, and only the best ones are accepted.

Example of blurry image and high-quality image

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