THE ULTIMATE BEST PRACTICES

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1 THE ULTIMATE BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFECTIVE BANNER AD DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT By Amir Dori, Marketing Manager at Digitaland

2 ? IS THIS EBOOK RIGHT FOR ME? This ebook is meant to be a guide for the best practices you can implement during the design and development of rich media banner ads. It is an introductory level list of best practices with recommendations and examples. This ebook is ideal for starting marketers and rich media agencies looking for a set of publishing, design, and development guidelines to follow for effective rich media banner ads. 2 THE ULTIMATE BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFECTIVE BANNER AD DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

3 Digitaland All-in Creative Solution Creative production for online advertising, rich media, interactive development and more Hassle-free rich media production Guarantee cost-effective Top quality customer support & Fast turnaround View Portfolio Get Started Now! About the Author Amir Dori has more than 10 years of vast experience in creating, developing, designing and producing creative products and marketing materials for the online advertising industry. His experience includes all creative formats for rich media, web, mobile applications and tv. THE ULTIMATE BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFECTIVE BANNER AD DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT 3

4 Table of Contents Introduction.. 5 Chapter 1: Goals 6 Chapter 2: Optimization.. 7 Chapter 3: Marketing in Action. 9 Conclusion and Additional Resource Pages THE ULTIMATE BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFECTIVE BANNER AD DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

5 THE ULTIMATE BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFECTIVE BANNER AD DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT Banner ads are the poster child of display advertising. They ve grown from static banners to rich media, but the core of their effectiveness as marketing tools stays the same. Highly visual, aesthetically pleasing, technologically empowered and engaging, banner ads have been in the forefront of display advertising and direct response campaigns since the beginning of the online marketing industry. Every choice in design and development is dictated by a marketing strategy engineered to reach those goals. Today, however, with the range of tools and the wealth of creativity that rich media allows, effective banner ad design and development is no longer a straight path, but a curving, branching road where each rich media option presents a new way to communicate the sales pitch. In this twisting, highway with many paths to choose from, design and development best practices are the guideposts that lead to effective banner ads. Here is a simple, clear cut list of the ultimate best practices for effective banner ad design and development. These guideposts are grouped into common denominators that serve as the foundation for the entire effort: the ad s goals, design optimization, and marketing concepts in action. THE ULTIMATE BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFECTIVE BANNER AD DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT 5

6 Chapter 1: GOALS Your marketing objectives are the goals you want to work towards, which means that every step in your advertising effort should lead to that ultimate goal. Every choice in design and development is dictated by a marketing strategy engineered to reach those goals The first item in your agenda is to clearly define your goals. Everything goes from there. What is your goal for this ad? Do you want people to click? Watch? Interact? Fill out a form? Different goals will need different banner ads and different creative approaches. Align your banner ad goal to the greater goal of your campaign. Each marketing campaign will have several different banners depending on retargeting, how deep the targets are in the sales funnel, and consumer persona profiling, among other factors. The goals of these individual ads should be aligned with the goals of the campaign so each can contribute directly to reaching that goal. Remember: clearly define your goals. Align your ads towards these goals. Watch your Calls to Action. Every CTA counts, that s why you not only need to align them to your clearly defined goals, but you also need to watch how you deliver them to your audience. CTAs should be prominent. They should not be mistaken as just another part of the ad, the background, or the animation. They should be easily distinguishable and noticeably actionable. A CTA should be delivered early in the rich media banner ad early enough not to miss the attention of users when they first take notice of or interact with the ad. Every CTA should stand out as an actionable item easily discernable and appealingly clickable. This requires careful wording, effective spacing and design, and efficient contrast and timing for interactive ads. 6 THE ULTIMATE BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFECTIVE BANNER AD DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

7 Chapter 2: Optimization Optimize, optimize, optimize. Strike a balance between creative delivery and efficient delivery, considering both the creative effect of the rich media elements and the file size or CPU usage that the concept may result in as a final product. Keep technical specs in mind and always develop towards the Lowest Common Denominator (LCD) in guidelines when publishing across multiple platforms with their own specs. Stick to publisher requirements. If the publisher guidelines say 300 x 250, you design 300 x 250. Banner ads designed a pixel more or a byte heavier than specified will be returned. Multiple publishers will provide varied specs. Stick to the LCD. If three publishers say file sizes should not exceed, 40k, 50k, and 60k respectively, design towards the 40k limit to serve one concept to all three instead of scaling. Minimize the file size to fit as much creativity in as the limit will allow. Get creative with maximizing creativity. Optimize images: Limit how many images you use per panel Crop bitmaps and use only the parts applicable to the ad Optimize image files before importing to Flash Use vectors over bitmaps Optimize Flash Files: Set the frame-rate of the Flash asset to be lower than 31fps and higher than 18fps: The first best-practice will ensure better CPU performance and the second will ensure smooth animations Ensure consistent Flash version across ad assets Avoid movie-clips on the first frame of the ad s timeline in order to enhance performance when loading on the page. This is also a bestpractice when using Flash components or Ad Server MXP components Ensure all clivck-throughs and buttons are working THE ULTIMATE BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFECTIVE BANNER AD DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT 7

8 Use common fonts to avoid font-embedding, which bloats the file size Set click-throughs to mouse release instead of mouse press to work around popup blockers. Optimize animation and interactivity: Don t zoom or change the angle of bitmaps they bloat the file size Text is more readable when its X and Y position is set to integers instead of decimals Make sure your CTAs text anti-alias is set for readability and not for animations Ideal video streaming bitrate is 800 KBPS Make sure you add video-loader components of Ad Servers for video performance tracking Use borders. Use key lines or add a one-or two-pixel black border to ensure that the edges of your ad aren t confused with the background of the webpage. Maximize your hotspot surface area. Ideally, the entire initial surface area of your banner ad should be an interactive hotspot Ensure your CTAs have interactive hotspots larger than the actual elements to make it easier for users to interact For banner ads that expand or enlarge, the hotspot surface is usually limited to 25% to 33% of the entire banner ad s dimensions Keep the design flow. All panels in a banner ad that expands should be accessible through all the other panels Follow the horizontal or vertical design flows of the panels for every element in the ad Optimization is key for the efficient design, development, and delivery of your banner ad. An optimized banner ad follows all set rules and guidelines as well as the LCD publisher specs, maximizing the creativity of the rich media while keeping the file size of the ad in check. All heavy elements that load more slowly are placed after the initial ad load to avoid slowing down the presentation of the banner. 8 THE ULTIMATE BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFECTIVE BANNER AD DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

9 Chapter 3: Marketing in Action After clearly identifying goals and aligning your design and development efforts towards your marketing objectives, and after ensuring optimization in every phase of the process, the more conceptual design work starts. Just like in actual banner ads in the real world, there are best practices in marketing concepts that make their presentation or design more creative, powerful, or persuasive. Of course, there are also marketing concepts unique to rich media banners. Ask for permission. Always practice permission-based marketing. Always include a close or stop button Always include the basic animation or video control buttons: play, stop, and mute Close buttons should be consistent; roll over triggers should close via roll out, and click triggers should close via click as well Avoid overlapping buttons Avoid placing close buttons on expanding ads that overlap with the hotspot that triggers the expansion Animation or videos that last longer than 30 seconds should be explicitly userinitiated Employ user-initiated audio Ideally, use on mouse click or on mouse roll over to begin audio. If a mouse roll over is chosen then there must be a 1 second delay to trigger the audio. Be consistent with audio control: mouse click should end a mouse click initiated audio, or a roll out should end a roll over initiated audio Interaction with click-through button should stop all sound Be clear and straight to the point. Minimize distraction and avoid confusing your audience. Use only one offer or sales pitch per ad Focus on one goal per ad, aligned with the role of that particular ad, which contributes to your overall marketing goal Do not use graphics that simulate interaction where there is none (e.g. search boxes or static buttons) THE ULTIMATE BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFECTIVE BANNER AD DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT 9

10 Always brand. Always establish brand association and recognition. All interactions and animation should end after the ad and resolve with an end-frame static graphic that promotes your brand through either association or recognition Use the nuances and subconscious psychological communication of colors to aid in brand recognition and association Use powerful, creative, persuasive copy Be consistent in design and aesthetics, as well as overall marketing pitch across all ad assets 10 THE ULTIMATE BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFECTIVE BANNER AD DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

11 This guide will show you the ropes, but each creative ad is its own unique creature. Throughout the design and development process this set of ultimate guideposts can lead you in the right direction, but the final call will be up to you. There are no clear cut rules, but these best practices will help you design your most effective banner ads regardless of your marketing campaign. For more fundamental concepts on banner ad design and development, you can start by reading here: A to Z of Banner Design and Getting Started with Banner Ads. You can contact Digitaland for more in-depth help with your banner ads and rich media campaigns. At Digitaland we want to be able to satisfy all your requirements. For this purpose alone we cover a wide range of services from which you can choose the best online advertising experience, from rich media creatives to ad serving and analytics. THE ULTIMATE BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFECTIVE BANNER AD DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT 11

12 START CREATING GREAT ADS Contact Digitaland to produce your rich media campaign:

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