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How Does Web Banner Advertising Work?

Joanne Arguelles
Written By
Joanne Arguelles
Published On
Mar 10, 2021
“Advertising” shown on a laptop screen

Web banner advertising is a form of digital display advertising wherein a visually appealing online ad is embedded into a third-party web page. This aims to show a marketing message to a targeted/retargeted audience that is likely to be interested in a product or service. These kinds of web ads are delivered to strategic places on the web by ad servers. 

Web banner advertising, as part of your digital marketing strategy, can help your business with various goals such as increasing brand awareness, generating more leads, and attracting more traffic to your website.     

How It All Started

The first-ever web banner ad was placed on October 27, 1994, on HotWired.com (now known as Wired.com) and was part of a campaign by AT&T. Due to how long this method of online advertising has been around, some may question how effective it is in today’s landscape. There is no cut and dried answer to this as it greatly depends on execution. When done right, however, web banner advertising can be a promising tool to help with your marketing goals! And the numbers can back this up. 

Around 70% of website visitors that are retargeted with banner ads are more likely to convert once they are on the business’s website. When compared to billboards, the physical-world counterpart of web banner ads, the latter has a 33% higher response rate, for just a fraction of the cost. These numbers show us that with proper execution, web banner ads are a promising and cost-effective marketing tool. 

Ready to leverage this effective tool but not sure where to begin? Then read on as we explain how web banner advertising works and how you can use them to launch your first campaign. Along the way, we will also talk about the strengths of this marketing tool, its weaknesses, and more. 

Let’s get started!

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Where Does Web Banner Advertising Fit Into a Digital Marketing Strategy?

If you’re new to digital marketing or still learning the ropes, this section will help you see how web banner advertising fits into the grand scheme of things. To succeed in digital marketing, you must be able to identify what your objectives are in order for your business to meet its goals. The main pillars of digital marketing include the following:

Web banner ads fall under digital advertising. Digital advertising involves the planning and publishing of carefully designed promotional materials from your business on platforms like search engines, websites, social media, and even mobile apps. 

To tie everything together regarding how web banner advertising fits into a digital marketing strategy, it can be helpful to think of web banner ads as the counterpart of billboards in the world of digital marketing (albeit with better targeting/retargeting and lower costs). 

Why? Because just like billboards, web banner ads aim to grab the attention of potential customers while they are perusing through third-party websites. Therefore, each ad aids in one step of the customer journey – whether they are discovering your brand for the first time or they are reminded of a product of yours that they were looking at previously. 

Like other facets of digital marketing, web banner ads, as a subpart of digital advertising, are not in a silo and count on other digital assets (e.g. your website, online store, landing page, etc.) to guide the customer to the next stage of their journey.  

The Strengths of Web Banner Advertising

Goal-Related Pricing Models

Online ads are paid for through various pricing models that are tied to how effective the ads are. The main pricing models include cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-mille/thousand (i.e. a thousand impressions/views) (CPM), cost-per-lead (CPL), and cost-per-action (CPA). 

Measurable Success

You can easily track the number of impressions or views on an online ad along with how many clicks the ad has gotten. 

Capable of Targeting 

Targeting is a way to make the most out of your online ads by showing them only to users who are likely to be interested in your message. You can use different variables for targeting, such as demographics, interests, or online habits. 

Capable of Retargeting 

Retargeting is a way to remind visitors of your website about a product or service that they looked at. You can also use retargeting for other purposes like reminding customers to sign up for your newsletter. Just like targeting, retargeting allows your potential customers to see ads that are more relevant to them. 

The Weaknesses of Web Banner Advertising

Can Be Seen as Intrusive 

There are users out there that see online ads as intrusive and this perception may discourage them from clicking. However, well targeted or retargeted ads are less likely to be seen in this light because they are more likely to be relevant.  

Ad Blockers 

In relation to the previous point, some users install ad blockers and this will keep them from seeing online ads.   

The Two Main Kinds of Banner Ads 

Web banner ads need to be visually appealing so that they catch the attention of potential customers. They can either be static or animated. As the name implies, static web banner ads are simple images or visuals that do not move while animated banner ads have movement (i.e. animated GIFs).

Web banner ads can also be classified based on their size but the details of sizes can vary depending on the platform you are advertising on. On Google Ads, the most popular online advertising platform, sizes of web banner ads include the large rectangle (336×280), the triple widescreen (250×360), the skyscraper (120×600), the top banner (930 x 180), and more.

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Web Banner Advertising Best Practices

Have Clear Branding 

By having clear branding on your web banner ads, you can immediately show potential customers who you are and establish a sense of trust. 

Be Concise 

Web banner ads have a limited amount of space. Especially if they are to be viewed on mobile devices, they may look even smaller. This is why it’s advisable to have a concise message with a readable font size. 

Have a Clear CTA

CTA or call-to-action is a way to tell potential customers what their next step is. It can be to buy a product, sign up for a membership, learn more about a service, and so on. 

Make Use of Targeting and Retargeting 

As we’ve discussed in the above section, targeting and retargeting allows you to reach users who are likely to click on your ad and take the next step. It’s very important to set these up for your campaign so that you can get the most bang for the buck. 

Web Banner Advertising for Your Business

Get Started on Google Ads 

Once you have established what goal you would like to accomplish using web banner advertising, you can start creating your web banner ad. 

Understandably, the most popular online advertising platform is Google Ads – which shows ads on both desktop and mobile devices. One of the reasons why Google Ads is so popular is because of its vast Google Display Network (GDN), a group of more than two million websites, videos, and apps where digital ads can show up. 

When creating a custom web banner ad that’s to be uploaded to Google Ads, it is important to keep in mind that Google Ads has required file formats and a set of banner sizes that they update regularly. Alternatively, you can also use the Display Ad Builder to create image ads easily using various available themes. After having the web banner ad ready, it’s only a matter of doing the following:

  • Determine the goal of your campaign
  • Select the price model
  • Set up the ad schedule
  • Set up targeting/retargeting
  • Launch the ad campaign

Try out Google Ads for yourself or delegate it to an internal marketing professional at your company. Most marketers are already familiar with the fundamentals of this tool. If, however, you do not have a dedicated marketing department in your business yet or your marketing professional does not specialize in web banner advertising, it can be a challenge.

Call in the Pros for Customized Ads 

In order to get quick success in web banner advertising and to make the most of the money you spend on digital ads, we recommend putting your trust in a team of experienced marketing experts to design your materials as well as plan and launch your ad campaigns. An experienced digital marketing team would also be able to work with the data and help you optimize your ad campaigns as you go along.  

If you would like to learn more about what we can do for you, please feel free to contact us!



  • Joanne Arguelles

    Joanne Arguelles is a Content Writer at The Influence Agency who specializes in long-form content and loves all things digital. When not wearing the writing hat, she is a devoted learner in diverse areas of interest like personal development, ocean conservation, and hula-hooping.

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  • Joanne Arguelles

    Joanne Arguelles is a Content Writer at The Influence Agency who specializes in long-form content and loves all things digital. When not wearing the writing hat, she is a devoted learner in diverse areas of interest like personal development, ocean conservation, and hula-hooping.

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