Programmatic Display Advertising 


How To Boost Your Banner Ads

You can run. You can hide. But you’ll never escape the ubiquity of digital display ads. Banners ads, as they’re more commonly known, have been around for 25 years. While no one will question their popularity (at least among advertisers), some may question their effectiveness. However, thanks to advancements like programmatic advertising, marketers have found new ways to utilize banner ads. We’re here to breakdown digital display ads, how to use them and what has kept them in media plans for the past two decades.

Banner Ad Basics

Banner ads are the (traditionally) rectangular image-based ads you see on the top, sides or bottom of many websites. There are two main types of display ads.The “leaderboard” refers to the horizontal banner ads usually found at the top of a website and “skyscrapers” are verticals ads found on a website’s sidebars.

Display ads can be static images or animated. Rich media banner ads are another form of display ads. As the name suggests, rich media ads are usually more creative and can include video and audio, as well as the ability to expand and float around the webpage.

The primary purpose of a banner ad is to promote a brand or encourage users to click-through to an advertiser’s landing page and further progress them through the marketing funnel.

Fun Fact

The first banner ad appeared in 1994 for AT&T. The ad appeared on Hotwired magazine for a whopping $30,000. It ran for three months and produced a click-through rate of 44%.

have you clicked your mouse right here? first banner ad

Programmatic Display Ads

Buying display ads through programmatic advertising offers quite a few benefits. It’s no wonder that about 88% of display ads are bought programmatically[1]. Here are the top benefits programmatic display ads have to offer:

Zero In On Your Target

One of programmatic display ad’s biggest benefits is its impressive targeting capabilities. Programmatic buying allows you to truly reach your target audience through different ways. For starters, you can use demographics like traditional advertising and target your audiences based on age, gender, income and education. However, you can also target on a deeper level, based on your audience’s behavior and interests.


Targeting based off interest can include finding consumers who are into fitness, knitting, basketball, etc. Behavioral targeting refers to a user’s web searches, purchase histories, frequently visited websites and other information. Furthermore, with programmatic display ads you can retarget a user who has previously visited your website. Retargeting is great way to bring a customer back, keep them engaged and interested, make sure they complete their purchase, or offer a new promotion.

Reduce Your Wasted Media Dollars

John Wanamaker, a Philadelphia retailer from the 19th century, once said “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Fast forward two centuries and Mr. Wanamaker may have found the answers he was looking for with programmatic display ads. Because of programmatic’s ability to hyper target, more of your media budget is reaching your actual target audience. Furthermore, buying programmatic display ads on an open exchange is usually less expensive than buying directly from the publisher.

Looking Through A Clearer Lens

Speaking of looking for answers, Wanamaker would have also been impressed with the clarity in programmatic’s reporting. Programmatic buying allows you to see the exact sites your ads are on, the type of consumer viewing your ad, plus any possible additional costs in real-time. In addition, you can quickly measure exactly how your display ads, overall campaigns, or targeting perform. This readily available insight lets you optimize your campaign on the fly with enough information to make educated and efficient adjustments.

Let’s Get Creative

As with all things in advertising, creativity matters. There are certain tips, tricks and best practices that can make a creative and effective banner ad:

Keep It Simple

There’s already a lot going on with the user’s website, your job is to keep the clutter to a minimum. Your content and visual should be simple and minimal. The user is only going to glance at your ad for a second, make sure they understand what they’re looking at immediately.

Have A Clear CTA

Banner ads are often measured by their click through rate (CTR). But users need to know what they’re clicking on before they do so. That’s why it’s so important to have a clear, short and inviting call to action (CTA). Furthermore, your CTA button should be easy to find. Placing them on the lower right side with contrasting colors is usually a safe bet.

Get Animated

Animated display ads typically perform better than static ads. Just make sure the animations aren’t too over the top as this can distract the viewer from your actual message. Your animations should be 15 seconds or less and should loop about three times. Putting your CTA on the last frame of your animation can help strengthen your messaging and boost your CTR.

Make It Legible

Your copy needs to be clear and easily readable. If there is too much text, the user won’t bother. Keep it to four lines max (preferably less). It also helps to make your headline a different size than your body copy. In addition, make sure the font is easy on the eyes. Cursive is a big fancy no no.

Mind Your File Size

You spend all this time making the perfect banner ad, just to find out it won’t load quick enough. Yikes. Avoid this disaster by keeping your file size as small as possible. Google Adwords recommends keeping it under 150 kb[2].


Let Us Put Your Brand On Display

We’ve been helping brands make the most out of their digital display ads for the past 15 years. If you’re interested in seeing how programmatic display ads can help your brand, come talk to Wingman Media. Together, we can create a media plan with fun, creative and effective banner ads that will boost performance for a successful campaign. Give us a call today.