Banners to be banned

Now that everyone has the tools to be a web designer, digital artist and online entrepreneur, it’s easy to come across badly designed websites, poor graphics and badly conceived businesses online. If you want to create a website purely for your own entertainment or hobby it doesn’t matter, visitors who don’t like it can go elsewhere, but for most people, design matters.

If you are running a business, the look and feel of your online presence is as important as your ‘real world’ presence. Most people will do a modicum of research before committing to any purchase more than a sandwich and if they do so online, they will make quick decisions, put off by slow loading or badly laid out websites. This extends to online advertising. Banner adverts are your shop’s sign posts. Get them wrong and your customers will get lost (literally).

Banner adverts directing customers to your site are important means of gaining traffic. They can be carefully targeted to websites and content that matches your service. Using social media, they can be localised and tailored to the audience, and placed on targeted websites. This means relevance is absolutely crucial. It’s crucial to get the messages, design and location just right.

Sussex Beauty Clinic

The first is a beauty clinic. There is a lot going on in the advert, in all sorts of different size text and font, coupled with an image which, simply, isn’t very beautiful. A visit to the website shows that it’s a model with an ice cube on her midriff, but in this context it could be a piece of ham, a sand dune or some sort of brown animal. You don’t want that sort of ambiguity from company that is going to permanently change your physical appearance. As a local business, its placement on a local news website is correct, however this ad needs to effectively demonstrate the firm’s service with a much more elegant design.

EDF Banner

This banner is from EDF Energy, advertising er… something blue. The message is completely lost. It has a call to action, but not one I’m likely to click on. Adverts are meant to inform their audience, not leave them guessing. I’d guess this ad is meant to rotate as an animation, but without the other images in the message is completely lost. The problem here is an absence of useful content.

MG6 Magnette

This MG advert has no real problems with design or content, and the call to action is implicit (this one does rotate), it’s the location of this banner that I was surprised about. It featured prominently on the Guardian’s environment page. If it was a particularly environmentally friendly car that would be fine, but since it has a CO2 output of 174 g/100km, against EU targets of 130 g/100km (falling to 95 g/100km in 2020) its hardly the eco warriors chariot of choice.

Banner ads can be sold on a pay-per-click basis, but often the owner will need to pay for the banner for a given period. This means banners that don’t drive any clicks are a waste of money.

Effective online ads, need to:

  • Be well designed, so they jump off the page
  • Contain good copy or product benefits
  • Provide a reason for clicking and a call to action
  • Be placed on a relevant page

Banner ads are easy to make – but that doesn’t mean successful banner ads are easy to make. So what do you think, any banners that make your blood boil?



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