Banner-Ad Essentials: Top Tips For Improving Display Media Performance


Spending on display media is projected to grow at a rapid pace over the next few years ($11.73 billion by 2015, according to eMarketer forecasts) — a testament to the efficacy of banner ads as a meaningful tactic for influencing internet audiences. As advertisers begin considering allocating more and more budget to display media, it’s important they keep in mind a few tips to make sure they’re getting the most out of the banner ad campaigns.

Tip #1: Interactivity

Modern banner-ad technology is extremely versatile. Banner ads can be designed to do anything a website can do — product scrolling, tabbed browsing, in-ad search, video, product ratings, and the list goes on. There are a number of benefits from making your ads interactive:

  • Web-like functionality makes banner ads remote extensions of your website that can deliver a unique experience to individual users throughout the web.
  • Adding interactive features allows users to engage without committing to a click — meaning you have more potential to influence users who aren’t willing to leave their current page, but are interested in exploring the content of your ad.
  • The interactions can be tracked as in-ad engagement, adding a new layer of insight into user interests and behavior.
  • Designing ads to attract users to engage means you can abandon the flashy gimmicks designed to get users to click, giving you the opportunity to transform your banner advertising from interruptive to interactive.

Tip #2: Brand Prominence

Oftentimes, banner ads include special offers or promotions to attract users’ interests. It is tempting to make these offers the most prominent part of the ad, as it may be the determining factor in a user’s decision to return to your site and convert. This makes including offers a great strategy for effective banner advertising.

However, don’t forget the importance of brand representation. Allowing brand logos and messaging to be lost amongst promotional messaging comes at the cost of long-term brand strategies that should be supported by advertising.

The short-term purpose of banner ads is to return conversions within a time period that allows us to track results and reasonably claim that the ad influenced user behavior. But it’s important to remember that the long-term goal of any advertising campaign is to build brand image and loyalty.

Those who take advantage of the offer are, of course, likely to remember your brand. But since we know that only a portion of your audience will act on the offer via your ad, it’s important to communicate your brand prominently to those who casually glance at the ad, or who think about the offer and return and convert at a later time.

Tip #3: Personalization

Today’s internet users are savvier about advertising than ever. They are active in conversations about online privacy, frequency of ad exposure, and when and where it’s appropriate for them to be targeted. With this is in mind, it is becoming less and less acceptable to bombard users with generic advertisements. And with today’s technology that gives insight into users’ interests, there’s no need to.

Recent innovations enable us to do remarkable things to personalize ads. It’s much more than just showing a user an ad for a product or service he/she previously explored. Ads can include complementary products or services in which they might be interested, based on what they have looked at or searched for recently. They can give users the opportunity to rate products, and to share products they like with their social media network. Not only that, but the ads can be tailored to reflect their perceived demographics, such as location, age or gender. And these ads perform better!

In 2011, mediaFORGE ran a test of gender-personalized retargeting ads for its client Karmaloop, an online apparel retailer of street-wear fashion.

Female-targeted ad

Male-targeted ad.

The ads were designed with creative, content and promotions that appealed a specific gender, based on the clothing the user browsed for on Karmaloop’s site. The gender-personalized ads generated higher conversion rates, and improved retargeting performance:

  • Users who clicked through the male gender-specific ads were three times more likely to purchase than those who clicked through gender-neutral ads.
  • Users who clicked through female gender-specific ads were two times more likely to purchase than those who clicked through gender-neutral ads.
  • Users who were served with the gender-specific ads had a higher overall spend on the site (per thousand impressions), delivering an increase in revenue of 35 percent.
  • Overall click-through rate increased by 24 percent.
  • Average revenue-per-unique-user-reached increased by 24.7 percent.
  • Karmaloop’s retargeting average order value increased by nearly nine percent.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Tony Zito has been working as CEO of mediaFORGE since 2006. He is passionate about display media technology and the potential it has to shape the future of the advertising/marketing industry.



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