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Building Your Banners

There are quite a few different banner types that you may have noticed while you’re browsing the World Wide Web, doing your Christmas shopping, intelligently avoiding the crowds.  Let’s take a look at a few here.

Static Banner Ads

The clue is really in the title, it’s a banner advert that is static.  It’s usually in a simple file format, like a .jpg or a .gif and has no animation whatsoever.

Pro:  Easy to build, even I could do it!

Con:  Boring, easily missed, limited space to fit information in.

Animated Banner Ads (part 1)

Again, I won’t patronise you; it’s pretty obvious.  Animated banner ads can be .gif files which serve a rotation of images that give the impression of animation.

 Pro:  Easy to build, common file type.

Con:  Not interactive, not aesthetically pleasing, can look amateur.

Animated Banner Ads (part 2)

Other animated banner adverts could be .swf files (flash files).  The animation is much smoother and runs more like video.  They can also include interactive features, to engage the user.

 Pro:  Engaging, professional eye catching banners

Con:  User needs flash player installed, more difficult to build

If a professional is building your banners for you, then it’s a good idea for you to have a rough idea of what it is they’re building so you can understand what they’re charging you for.  This should be a fairly simple guide to the technical side of building banners, but I can only give you a basic introduction and a general rule of thumb – hopefully it will be enough!

Banner Size

To start with banners need to be built in certain sizes (width x height), these are measured in pixels and there is an industry standard which can be found on the IAB website.  Different publishers will show different creative sizes, so most artists will create your banner in each size.

300 x 250 IMU (Medium Rectangle)

180 x 150 IMU (Rectangle)

728 x 90 IMU (Leaderboard)

160 x 600 IMU(Wide Skyscraper)

300 x 600 IMU (Half Page Ad)

120 x 60 IMU (Button 2)

88 x 31 IMU (Micro Bar)

Banner Weight

Most publishers also specify a certain file size, these are measured in bytes.    As the web page loads, so does the banner file which means that the heavier the file, the longer it takes to load.  This is why there are recommended maximum initial download fileweights of 40KB for all file banner sizes, except the following two:

120 x 60 IMU (Button 2)

88 x 31 IMU (Micro Bar)

Banner Animation

Most banners now include animation and hopefully long gone are the days where you would want to include any strobing colour but this is often restricted by publishers now.  In addition, a lot of publishers request that animations last no longer than 15 seconds and end on a static image.

Hopefully that’s covered the basics of building a banner advert and should help you to understand a little more about what’s required.