Handy Hints On How Not To F@ck Up Banner Ads

Handy Hints On How Not To F@ck Up Banner Ads

At B&T we’ve been making sure people in the industry know how to make decent banner ads for clients that don’t want to make you throw up.

A study on banner advertising by programmatic marketplace Rocket Fuel the research investigates what does and doesn’t appear to work for banner advertising in terms of background, colour, words and the like.

The team at Rocket Fuel delved deep to not only give a general view of the findings, but pose a heap of suggestions for a heap of different verticals.

Previously we’ve looked at banner ads for entertainment and automotive brands, as well as media, travel and dining. And now it’s time to turn our attention to those creating the ads for clients in the consumer and retail space.

Consumer Tech

With new technology being launching what feels like every few seconds, it’s crucial to have ads that makes the tech stand out.

White backgrounds dominated the 1.2 billion impressions studied, showcasing it as the colour most effective. Black, blue and grey backgrounds also worked a treat though, so don’t discard these ones. Green, red and orange didn’t fare as well as the other shades and hues.

Ads that actually showed the product were more effective, no surprises there, but ads that didn’t show someone using the product performed better (75% better) than those showing what you can do with the fancy new doodad.

The research surmised it was because “when products are being used it provides the viewer with less opportunity to observe and compare the product against similar products”.

When it comes to animated ads and the call-to-action within those moving images, shorter animations had a higher conversion rate than the longer ones. The words ‘learn more’ and ‘buy now’ increased conversion, where phrases ‘find more’ and ‘get started’ bombed out.


The FMCG space is huge, so Rocket Fuel only looked at the more general, overarching factors. The team observed 184 marketing initiatives that delivered 1.6 billion impressions.

The findings from the study saw that blue backgrounds were used the most, however yellow appeared to be the trump colour in terms of conversion rates.

Partnering that with the product colour, blue and brown smashed the other shades out of the park.

Unless you’re advertising a special offer on a product, the research recommended leaving price off the banner ad. The highest conversion combination was for ads that included a special offer, but not the price of said offer.

Ads that also showed a person within them had their conversion rates bumped up.


The retail section too covered a number a number of different areas, with the sample consisting of 273 marketing initiatives with 2.9 billion impressions. In this sector, a conversion referred to those that had purchased something.

White was the most used background colour, but the research found red appeared to provide the highest conversions, even though only 5% of ads had used the crimson colour.

Products that were purple and yellow also recorded a high conversion rate.

Similar to the consumer packaged goods vertical, ads that showed a special offer but didn’t include the price had the highest conversion rate.

In terms of the call-to-action, only 6% of the ads surveyed had ‘click here’, but more should start typing this little baby into the ads as it averaged a 169% higher conversion rate than other phrases. ‘Get coupon’ and ‘find your product’ were at the bottom of the list.

There’s still more verticals to come, so hang tight.

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adapt Advertising Standards Bureau wordstorm pr

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