Banner ads are still one of the most important parts of the online economy in 2022. Whether you’re looking to monetize your website or promote your product or service, banner advertising helps you do that efficiently.
While you probably already know how to place them, we’re here to shine a light on a few worthwhile considerations that come with creating effective banner ads.
The size of your banner ad—along with other factors, such as message and design—influences the clicks it attracts, making a huge factor in conversion rates. So, the question is, why are banner ad sizes important, and what are the most effective banner sizes?
In this article, we discuss banner advertising, the most popular banner ad sizes, and how to create effective online banner ads.
Table of contents:
What Are Banner Ads?
One of the oldest forms of online advertising, banner ads are graphical ads that appear on web pages in different sizes and forms with embedded links to advertiser sites. When visitors click on the ads, they are redirected to the advertiser’s page.
Banner advertising has been helping advertisers promote their products and services for more than two decades. They are often referred to as square ads, leaderboard ads, skyscraper ads, or mobile leaderboard ads according to their size and the device they’re displayed on.
Publishers use the high traffic areas on their websites to display banner ads, usually on the front, bottom, or side of a page. Advertisers buy this ad space either through ad networks or direct negotiation.
What Is Display Advertising?
Display advertising is the process of displaying banner ads on a publisher’s web page or a social network. These ads may be text, picture, or video-based, and their primary goal is to persuade visitors to click on them so that they might be redirected to the advertiser’s page.
Display ad campaigns are mostly run through ad networks, such as the Google Display Network (GDN) or Facebook Audience Network. Ad networks help greatly in audience targeting features and selecting the correct ad format.
Why Are Banner Ad Sizes Important?
Ad size is one of the most crucial factors behind the success of an ad, among other things. Ad size not only affects the ad’s visibility on the page but also plays a crucial role in conveying the correct message to the targeted customer.
For example, a 160 x 600 pixel ad size might not be ideal for campaigns with long messages.
Although ad networks provide a wide range of different ad sizes, there are only a few banner ad sizes that most advertisers prefer. These are the most popular and highest-paying ad sizes, underscoring the importance of an ad size to a campaign’s success.
How Does Banner Advertising Work?
Banner ads inform visitors about brands, products, or services while enticing them to take further steps in the buying process. Effective banner ads have creative messages, graphics, and a call to action (CTA) that strive to intrigue visitors about the advertiser’s offering.
When it comes to conversion, retargeting is a crucial factor because 96% of visitors don’t convert on their first visit.
Banner ads are not only effective in gathering leads, but they are also practical in terms of retargeting users.
Retargeting is done through a cookie. When a visitor clicks an ad and is redirected to the advertiser’s page, the page embeds a “pixel” on the visitor's browser. It tracks the user’s online activities and helps advertisers deliver highly personalized ads across the user’s major online touchpoints.
With banner ads, publishers can monetize their websites while marketers make people aware of their products and services and increase sales.
How Banner Advertising Works for Publishers
Let's suppose you're a publishing outlet that puts out daily content and has a decent volume of monthly visitors. In that case, one of the best ways to monetize your website would be through banner ads.
You can sell space on your web pages for business promotions by connecting with display ad networks. Here’s an overview of the process:
- Sign up with a display network
- The display network provides you with a script to add to your website
- The script will display banner ads without you having to worry about manual processes
- You are paid for each click the ads on your website attract.
How Banner Ads Work for Advertisers
Advertisers looking to increase brand visibility or boost the sales of products or services can advertise on niche-specific publisher sites or those with high traffic volume.
Either way, the goal here is to drive traffic towards your site using banner ads. Here’s an overview of that process:
- Sign up with a display ad network
- Choose the type of website where you want to place your ads
- The ads will be automatically placed on your preferred websites
- You pay on a per-click or per-impression basis.
What Are the Common Banner Ad Sizes in 2023?
The size of your banner ad may vary depending on the purpose of your ad campaign. Whether you want to increase your targeted customers' awareness of your product or service, build your brand, or increase sales, the banner ad sizes you choose may play a significant role in your campaign’s success or failure.
Publishing platforms and the user device may also influence banner ad sizes. For instance, you may want to use different banner ad sizes for mobile and desktop versions of web pages. It’s crucial for your ad strategy since more people access the internet from mobile devices than from desktop computers.
Here are the most common banner ad sizes for 2023.
1. 468 x 60 – Banner
The 468 x 60 ad unit is the original top-of-the-page banner ad and is one of the most common ad sizes in use over the past couple of decades.
This banner size was pretty common with marketers when people would visit web pages on low-resolution screens.
2. 728 x 90 – Leaderboard Banner
Leaderboard banners, also called horizontal banners, are among the best performing ad sizes, according to Google. They are large and highly noticeable.
Leaderboard banners are also the first content a user sees when they visit a page.
3. 970 x 90 – Large Leaderboard
The 970 x 90 is comparatively a new banner ad size introduced in 2013. It’s also referred to as a large leaderboard. Because of its size and placement, this leaderboard ad has the potential to attract users and deliver ad messages more effectively.
4. 320 x 50 – Mobile Leaderboard
320 x 50 Mobile Leaderboard is a common size for mobile campaigns. This banner usually appears at the bottom of the screen on a mobile web browser. However, it can be placed on top of the screen or within the content as required.
5. 250 x 250 – Square
The 250 x 250 is a mobile banner ad size useful for both desktop and mobile web pages. Square ad banners are common mobile banners. However, since this format is small compared to other ad sizes, it may underperform on desktops when compared to larger banners.
6. 200 x 200 – Small Square
The smaller version of the standard square banner, 200 x 200, is a small square banner that is available on both desktop and mobile networks. However, the effectiveness of such a small banner for desktop ads is also in question.
7. 300 x 250 – Medium Rectangle
The inline rectangle is another of Google’s top-performing banner ad sizes. This ad is commonly placed in the middle of content with a distinct design and CTA. It supports most ad formats, making it ideal for placing video ads and responsive ads.
8. 336 x 280 – Large Rectangle
The large rectangle banner is the big brother of the medium rectangle, offering greater visibility.
9. 120 x 600 – Skyscraper
Skyscrapers are slim, vertical banner ads that cover a considerable part of a web page. Audiences experience them progressively while scrolling the content. The 120 x 600 skyscraper banner is usually the slimmer and smaller format of the skyscraper variant and is usually placed on either sidebar of the publisher’s page.
160 x 600 – Wide Skyscraper
While the wide skyscraper banner is wider than the regular skyscraper, ideal placement is the same as the regular version.
300 x 600 – Large Skyscraper
The large skyscraper, also known as a half-page ad, is one of the best banner sizes for online ad placements. Since it covers 180,000 pixels, it can more easily grab user attention.
Top Performing Banner Ad Sizes in 2023
Despite having numerous options, most advertisers prefer four banner ad sizes, according to Google. Here are the top performing ad sizes in 2023:
1. Mobile Leaderboard – 320 x 50
With the number of people accessing the internet through their mobile devices now in the majority, it’s little wonder that one of the top-performing ad sizes is a mobile ad banner. The 320 x 50 is one of the most popular mobile banner ad sizes. Advertisers widely use them on mobile browsers and apps.
Having a few mobile banner ad types, such as mobile leaderboard banners, in your strategy can be helpful for maximizing your ad reach. Mobile leaderboards are displayed at the bottom of the screen on apps or web pages.
2. Medium Rectangle – 300 x 250
A medium rectangle, 300 x 250, that works well on both mobile and desktop. This is one of the most used banner sizes, serving both mobile banner ads and desktop banner ads.
Medium rectangle ads perform best when integrated with text content. They also work great for many ad formats, including text ads, image ads, or video ads.
On mobile web pages, a medium rectangle banner ad acts as a page break when users scroll down a long piece of content. It can also be a great below-the-fold placement of mobile ads for mobile devices.
Because of its size and adaptability to each ad format, the ads displayed on a medium rectangle size are often considered invasive to native content. However, well-designed and placed medium rectangle banner ads can complement the web page and benefit both the advertiser and the publisher.
In light of the reasons stated above, the GDN has specific guidelines for medium rectangle ad units and marketers should follow them closely.
3. Leaderboard – 728 x 90
A leaderboard or horizontal banner is among the most used banner ad size on desktop web pages. It’s typically placed above the main content and, sometimes, between articles.
The 728 × 90 leaderboard can be placed at the bottom of a page as well. However, most marketers believe it performs best when placed above the fold since many visitors don’t scroll all the way to the bottom of a page. Even when they do, there is less chance of engagement since the content is already completed and users are more likely to navigate somewhere else.
Visiting major publishers, such as The Washington Post and Forbes, shows that leaderboard banners are located at the top of their homepages. While these banners may be different—and often larger—in size, it points to major publishers’ preference for above-the-fold ads.
However, if you’re a smaller publisher, sticking with a 728 x 90 leaderboard is a wise option until you have improved your audience reach.
4. Wide Skyscraper – 160 x 600
The 160 x 600 skyscraper size is the most popular size among skyscraper banners and one of the most preferred banner sizes when it comes to placing banner advertisements.
Also often referred to as a standing banner, a wide skyscraper ad handles interactive content beautifully. It not only captures the user’s attention but also complements content-rich sites with its visual lightness.
The ideal placement of a wide skyscraper is in a website’s right and left sidebars. Due to its size which almost covers a full page vertically, users can notice it easily.
Publishers, such as BBC and BuzzFeed, use wide skyscraper banner ads on their homepage and some other pages.
Banner Ad Design Tips in 2023
The primary objective of a banner ad is to convince users to engage. Therefore, visibility and attractiveness are two of the most important elements of a banner ad. Choosing the correct size may ensure an advert’s visibility, but users may not engage with an ad if it isn’t persuasive enough.
Design plays a crucial role in making an ad attractive. You may not need to be an expert designer to design an attractive banner ad. However, it helps to have sound knowledge about designing. Plus, marketing knowledge is essential to assemble material and deliver a compelling message to your potential customers.
Here are a few important design tips for banner ads in 2023:
Study Your Customer to Place Effective CTAs
One of the most important elements of banner ads, like every other ad, is messaging. As an advertiser, you know who your target customers are and who you want your ads to engage with. However, if you dive deeper into your customers’ behavior and understand their emotions and pain points, you can figure out what CTA makes them want to click your ad.
Once a user notices the ad and is attracted by its design, it's up to the CTA to persuade them to take the next step. It’s always best to understand your buyer persona and what promise they will engage with. This is essential to creating the “perfect” CTA.
Focus on Clutter-Free Design and Messaging
Banner ads are like digital billboards in that users have a very small time window to notice your ads. Users have come to the page for its content. As such, banners should provide a clear and understandable message. Cluttered designs are destined to fail.
Focusing on maintaining clean design is probably the best way to deliver a clear message. Try to include as little text and as few images on your banner ads as you can.
Consider Different Ad Formats
Display ads support a wide array of ad formats. You’ll want to show off your product or service in the best light, which means picking the right format is crucial. For example, if you’re a fashion brand, you may want to showcase your best works through a video or a GIF.
If you’re going for a dynamic ad, its placement and timing are crucial. You don’t want users to notice the ad when it’s half-played.
Test on All Devices
Users can bump into your ad on any device. If you’re only designing your banner ad for desktop pages, then think again.
Most common banner sizes go well with both the desktop and mobile web versions. However, you have to ensure that your banner ads are perfectly placed on all devices. You may also need to make a few design adjustments in some cases.
Display advertising is still one of the most effective and efficient ways to connect your brand to online audiences. Whether you’re a publisher looking to monetize your website or an advertiser planning to market your brand, display advertising is a compelling option.
However, there has been a huge shift in the behavior of online users in the past few years. Although banner ads are very much alive, online users are segmented across different devices. Additionally, newer forms of ads, such as video ads and animated banners are considered more effective than traditional static banner ads.
If you want to successfully use banner ads to extend your online reach across all devices, we suggest a careful review of all the sizes mentioned above and carefully consider how they can fit within your marketing strategy.
Publift helps digital publishers get the most out of the ads on their websites. Publift has helped its clients realize an average 55% uplift in ad revenue since 2015, through the use of cutting-edge programmatic advertising technology paired with impartial and ethical guidance.
Contact us today to learn more about how Publift can help boost your ad revenue and grow your business!
Banner Ads FAQ
1. What is the Most Popular Web Banner Ad Size?
Google says the top-performing web banner ad size is 300 x 250 pixels. Other popular ad sizes are 468 x 60, which was popularized during the age of low-resolution browsing, and 320 x 50, a popular choice for mobile devices.
2. What are the Standard Banner Ad Sizes?
Common banner ad sizes include 468 x 60 (banner), 728 x 90 (leaderboard banner), 250 x 250 (square) and 120 x 600 (skyscraper). The standard banner ad for mobile is 320 x 50 (mobile leaderboard).
3. Is 160X600 a Mobile Ad Size?
A 160 x 600 ad is not recommended on mobile devices because of their limited width. Consider the 320 x 50 (the mobile leaderboard ad) size as it’s among the top-performing mobile banner ads.