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Advertising on the web with digital display ads

Digital Banner Advertising

The most popular form of web advertising is banner ads. HotWired, the commercial web magazine was the first website to feature banner ads which consist of either text, static images (JPEG/PNG/GIF), animation - most commonly in the form of Flash, or interactivity such as video, games or sound to maximise their appeal. These banner adverts are slotted into a web page with the intention of enticing people into clicking on them, taking the user through to the advertisers page, thus increasing traffic to that site.

Standard Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) web banner ad sizes

Click here for examples of these ads.

Banner Advert varieties - Leaderboard, Skyscraper, MPUs and buttons/tiles

Because of the layout of most web pages, banner adverts are usually proportioned so that they can either fit along the top of the page, or down the side of the page content, so that they don't interfere with the layout of the page. There are a range of standard sizes for banner ads - Leaderboards (long and thin), skyscrapers (tall and thin), MPUs (almost square) and buttons/tiles (small and rectangular).

Page Impressions vs Click Throughs

Should someone view a website which is displaying a banner advert, the page impressions for that advert would increase by one. If an advertiser has bought a package of 1 million impressions then once the count gets to that number it will no longer be displayed. Should that user, upon seeing the banner advert, click on it to be redirected to the advertiser's website, then the click-through rate would increase by one.

Page impressions vs cost per click

Banner adverts are either bought as part of a package with a fixed number of page impressions which would guarantee the banner ad was viewed a specific number of times, or on a cost per click (CPC) basis which would mean that the advertiser was only charged for when the user was sufficiently interested in the advert to click on it.

Ad servers

Many websites will leave the management and monitoring of banner advertising campaigns to an ad-server - a third party company who specialise in delivering and tracking banner campaigns, leaving them to concentrate on their site. An ad serving company will not only place the ads where required, but also provide thorough monitoring of the effectiveness of a campaign, documenting statistics such as number of page impressions and click-throughs, times and user locations of click-throughs amongst others.

Monitoring your digital banner advertising campaigns

Internet banner advertising has exactly the same premise as more traditional methods of advertising - Its goal is to create greater awareness of whatever the advertiser has to offer its potential customers, and why they should choose them over their competitors.

On-the-fly updating

However, unlike regular advertising, its performance can be tracked daily and the campaign tailored to its audience.

Don't annoy potential customers

Banner advertising campaigns that contain a strong message combined with striking imagery can produce click through rates of up to 20% (1 in every 5 people who see the ad clicking through to the advertisers website) and incredibly cost effective, yet if a banner ad is badly constructed it can be incredibly frustrating for the user, prohibiting them from reading the content of the page they are there to read along with devouring bandwidth.

While the purpose of the banner campaign is to attract attention, too often an advertiser will attempt to get attention of the user by making their ads annoying which can actually have an adverse effect.

Google's pay per click Advertising tool

Another advertising option is Google's Adwords campaign builder. It is Google's main source of revenue, and it offers clients the opportunity to advertise using text ads or banner ads on any of its search engine results pages or on any sites which have opted into the scheme. It uses pay per click or PPC advertising so that an advertiser will only pay for an advert that delivers traffic to their site. Their text ads are short and concise and their banner adverts are all of the standard sizes (skyscraper/banner/leaderboard
/MPU/tile/button).

Rich Media for the web - Games, Videos and Interactivity

There are other, more dynamic advertising options available which include interaction in the form of videos, games, puzzles, data capture and much more. There are also more in-your face ad slots available which include page peels where the web-page appears to be peeling away in the top corner, revealing an advertising message seemingly 'behind' the page, page overlays where an advertising message sits on top of the web page often filling the entire browser window, expandable banners which expand upon interaction with the mouse pointer, and several others. This is known as 'rich content'.

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