An online banner ad for your business on someone else's Web site drives visitors to your business's Web site. A banner ad also gives your product or business visibility on the Web. Banner ads are helpful in building brand recognition.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau provides guidelines for different sizes and styles of banners, buttons, skyscrapers (which are essentially vertical banners), and other formats. This figure contains an example of an effective Internet banner ad.
One thing advertisers have figured out is that rich-media banners (ones that have graphics with audio, video, and other technology components beyond mere animation) work well. They’re simply more interesting than static banners — ones that don’t have all these extra features. Rich-media banners also take a long time to load (appear on the screen), so don’t pile huge amounts of technology into one little ad. If you choose to go with a rich-media banner, be sure the interactivity (the bells and whistles) are related somehow to what you’re selling.
Determining the quality of a banner depends largely on which ad strategy you choose. You want a different sort of banner depending on whether your goal is branding, building Web traffic, or selling. If your goal is to build brand awareness, you want something attractive and catchy so people will remember. You want your company name and/or product prominently displayed. You want something simple and short. Find a good slogan so that your ad pops out of the Web clutter, like the one in this figure.