Building Display Banner Ads

There are quite a few different banner advertising types and formats that you may have noticed while you’re browsing the internet doing your online shopping to avoid the crowds at your local shopping centre. 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:  Not very eye-catching, limited space to fit information in.

Animated Banner Ads – GIF format

Again, I won’t patronise you; it’s pretty obvious.  Animated banner ads can be .gif files which serve up a rotation of static 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 – HTML5 format

Other animated banner adverts could be using HTML5 coding to create a much smoother animation that appears more like video. They can also include interactive features, to engage the user.

Pro:  Engaging, professional eye-catching banners

Con:  More difficult to build, requires coding experience

If a professional designer is creating and building your online advertising display 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!

Display Banner Dimensions

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 designers 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)

Display Banner File Size

Most publishers also specify a certain file size, these are measured in kilobytes (KB) or megabytes (MB). As the web page loads, so does the banner file which means that the larger the file, the longer it takes to load.  This is why there are recommended maximum initial download file weights 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 advertising display banners now include animation and hopefully long gone are the days when 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 this article has helped you understand the basics of building a banner advert and what is required.