Best practices for banner ads in 2021 CrakRevenue Blog

Affiliate Marketing

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April 27, 2021


Affiliate Marketing

Banner ads are still the most common form of display advertising. They come in diverse shapes and sizes to help you achieve your goals, allow you to reach your target audiences through millions of sites with Google’s Display Network (GDN) and offer measurable metrics to track performance and engagement.

Of course, display advertising has its minor downsides: Banner Blindness (overexposure) and AdBlockers.

Despite them, banner ads still work – especially when done right!

Webmasters and media buyers still describe banner advertising as their primary weapon and source of income. Whether you are using our free creatives or crafting your own designs, you should always focus on quality and performance at the end of the day.

With that in mind, here are our 5 best practices to help you succeed with banner ads in 2021 (and beyond)!

Banner ads location in 2021

1- Location

You spend precious hours crafting the perfect banners and hunting for the ideal ad spots to purchase and want your work paid off. But are your banner ads visible and displayed correctly on today’s websites?

Webmasters: Make sure your banner is fully visible to all users (mobile/desktop).

You’ll also want to position your banners so there won’t be parts of them missing, overlaps, or banners that get in the way of clickable thumbnails or links.

Media buyers: Make sure you get your money’s worth.

While placing your banners above the fold is extremely important, you should never pay a prime spot rate if your ad doesn’t fully appear on the homepage. Non-prime spots cost a lot less but won’t bring as many clicks.

Get your banner ads displayed on pages with content that’s compatible with what you’re advertising.

For example, advertise a Mature cam models offer on the pages of a tube site related to the Mature category/niche. Displaying your banner ad on a tube site or page that contains Teen content would undoubtedly result in poor performance and money loss.

You should always measure the strategic value and compatibility of the sites and web pages where you plan to advertise to get the most out of your banner ads.

On a side note, Google recently introduced Responsive Display ads as the new default ad type on the GDN. This update allows you to upload your assets (images, headlines, logos, videos, and descriptions) and lets Google automatically generate ads to appear on the Google Display Network.

Reports suggest that these ads can have relatively high CTRs and show that up to 72% of display ads were responsive in 2019, twice as much as in 2017 (SEMRush).

Extra tip: It pays to know what else is being advertised on the same page as your banners, so make sure you’re the only one advertising a particular type of product or service. You’ll get better performance if you aim for niche exclusivity.

Banner ads originality in 2021

2- Originality

Up to 43% of internet users now use ad blockers. This reality makes it essential to put in extra effort to stand out with great visual display ads.

It’s good to keep in mind that design influences your users’ first impressions and how they perceive your brand.

Webmasters: Use different banner sizes, so ad spaces match your website’s design.

You have multiple size options when it comes to banners.

From our experience, one of the most performing banner sizes on mobile is the 300x100 (Rectangle), commonly applied to headers and footers.

You can also refer to the 4 most successful standard banner sizes according to Google Adsense:

  • 728×90 (Leaderboard)
  • 300×600 (Half Page)
  • 300×250 (Medium Rectangle)
  • 336×280 (Large Rectangle)

Banner ad sizes in 2021

Media buyers: Use identifiable banner ads on your CPM buys to increase your ROI. Such banners have a low CTR because users know what they’re clicking on (an ad about an identified product or service), which also explains their great conversion rates!

Extra tip: If you’re running CPC campaigns, banner ads with a low CTR (click-through rate) won’t have as many impressions as one with a high CTR because they’re less profitable for webmasters. To make your banner ad campaign lucrative, you have to strike a balance between CTR and CPC.

Low CTR = High CPC

High CTR = Low CPC

More than ever, innovation and originality are the keys to success.

Getting noticed and stimulating action is, indeed, trickier than before.

To help yourself uncover the next big idea, find a balanced sweet spot between extremely basic and extremely noticeable.

Of course, you need to stand out from the rest. To achieve this, data is your best ally.

Most of the time, our intuition isn’t enough to determine what will sell and what won’t. Be sure to test several concepts (we’ll talk about testing in a moment) and let your users tell you what performs best. Trying only one banner because you’re proud of your concept exposes you to the risk of missing a lot of sales.

If your ad visually blends into the site where it’s featured, you’re more likely to earn your users’ trust.

However, don’t make it blend in too much. Banner ads must always be visible and clickable.

Feature eye-catching imagery, but avoid flashing and aggressive banners at all costs.

Don’t put too many ads, or you’ll make your users flee in seconds.

One should always respect the basic principles of design. Give them a read if you’re not familiar with them; they are precious guidelines to keep close anytime you’re working on banner ads.

Google also provides a great Do’s & Don'ts in its Google display ads Best Practices guide, which is still very relevant today.

Here’s a rule of thumb.

Every banner ad should include 4 main components:

  1. Your logo or company name;
  2. A value proposition;
  3. An image or visual representation of your product/service;
  4. A CTA button.

A banner ad is incomplete without a good CTA (call to action). You should try to make it as unique and click-worthy as possible and instill a moderate sense of urgency.

Note: CTAs like ‘’learn more’’ often perform better than immediate calls to buy NOW or sign up ‘’within the next 15 minutes’’ for larger purchases, such as B2B software.

Bottom line, all your CTAs should encourage your potential clients to do something that makes them feel like they benefit instantly from their decision to take action and click on your banner ad.

Keep your traffic in mind. What kind of traffic is it? What are your users looking for?

What do they know or don’t know yet about my product or service?

Answering these questions will help you come up with original, creative, highly converting ideas.

Banner ads honesty in 2021

3- Honesty

Your goal should be to convince while staying honest. Otherwise, your banner ads will fail their mission, guaranteed.

After a user clicks on your banner and gets exposed to a specific offer, he still has to generate a conversion. This is your ultimate goal, indeed!

If your banner promises something and leads to a signup page before the user even gets the chance to discover the product or know what the service is about: that’s called blind leading.

Simple rule: do not blind lead. Advertise an accurate preview of what you’re offering, and let users know what it is before asking them to sign up.

Making sure your ads are compliant with Google Ads policies is also an excellent way to protect yourself from unwanted penalties and bans.

In a nutshell, your banner ads need to be C.A.T.S. (meow):


No click baits, no fakes, no misleading!

Here are some proven tips that’ll help you stay at the top of your banner advertising game in 2021:

  • Make your value proposition and CTA the most prominent elements of your display ads.
  • Choose a simple color palette that reflects your brand and marketing goals.
  • Build a hierarchy of your typography, so the most important information stands out.
  • Keep the overall design of your banner ads simple.
  • Opt for unique images to grab the attention!

Banner ads testing in 2021

4- Testing

This one is unavoidable. You should test your banners again and again.

Without proper A/B testing, you’re going to war one-eyed.

  • Compare the performance of two variations of the same banner ad online;
  • See which one performs better and discard the one that has outperformed;
  • And so on!

This way, you’ll make sure your banner is compelling and attracts the highest amount of traffic activity.

Measure campaign costs and conversion rates, and do A/B tests continually to determine what imagery and message work best for your offer.

Here’s a more detailed view of the A/B testing process for banner ads:

  1. Create version A of your banner ad in all the sizes required for your campaign.
  2. Duplicate version A to create a B variant.
  3. Change one of your design’s elements to create a design variation for your B ad.

    Test only one element at a time and start with either your CTA, content or text.

  4. Publish both versions at the same time and set the display frequency to 50/50.
  5. Use Analytics data to compare and measure both versions’ performance.

    Do this only after you have sufficient impression data to notice performance trends.

  6. Finally, adjust the display frequency accordingly.

    For example, if version B performs better, set its frequency to 60-70%.

Banner ads legality in 2021

5- Legality

Finally, all webmasters and media buyers must avoid unlawful advertising to stay away from unwanted situations like bans, copyright infringement penalties, or lawsuits.

No one wants to get there and see all his efforts and money gone with the wind.

Keeping the following rules in mind and applying them to all your campaigns will prevent you from falling out of bounds and getting caught red-handed:

  • Make your banner ads accurate and truthful (C.A.T.S. ????);
  • Get written permission for protected material (ex: pictures);
  • Do not remove a watermark without the author’s permission;
  • Compare yourself with competitors fairly and honestly;
  • Avoid deceptive or misleading pricing (ex: fake savings).

BONUS: Let us do the work!

You don’t have to spend precious hours figuring out the right colors and design or burn your traffic while testing new creative material.

Why? Because we’re taking care of this, and on millions of hits!

It’s such a vital part of the business that our talented teams work week-long to create fresh and high-performing ad tools!

Our media buyers test ad tools on our traffic, and our creative experts add their insights, uniting forces to craft the next money-making piece of art!

CrakRevenue’s creatives are tested to ensure they reach the maximal click-through rate before making them available to our affiliates.

Just choose an offer and let our creatives work for you!

You can also contact our Customer Experience Team to request custom banners and convert more traffic with personalized content. Simply share your concept idea and keep it relatively simple!

Finally, do not hesitate to A/B test your banners and compare results in your CrakRevenue dashboard!

You can set trackers to identify your campaigns using our link customization tool and compare each version’s performance report in the Statistics section.

That’s all, folks! Now you know how to spot and craft winning banner ads.

Let’s find the best offer for your traffic and reap that extra revenue!


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