A Complete Guide to Mobile Banner Ads

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The phrase—The world is in your hands, became literally true with the invention of smartphones. Everything , from grocery shopping to closing business deals, is possible through mobile. No wonder our phones have become an inseparable part of our lives.

According to App Annie’s report of 2022, people spend a third of their waking hours staring at their phones. To this, Theodore Krantz, Chief executive of App Annie, said—"The big screen is slowly dying as mobile continues to break records in virtually every category - time spent, downloads and revenue."

Well, the number mentioned in the above statistic might seem shockingly high, but honestly, it shouldn’t come off as surprising when mobile phones are glued to our hands wherever we go. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that we are now used to seeing the world through these small screen computers called mobile phones.

With the desktop losing its charm in front of mobile phones, let’s see how this impacts the digital advertising world.

Shift in Mobile Advertising

Since people consume more content on mobile phones, marketers are now shifting their focus to mobile digital advertising. As a matter of fact, mobile advertising is expected to grow from $162.6 in 2018 to $384.9 billion by 2023, worldwide.

Moreover, it has been predicted that mobile display ads will grow from $7.1B to $11 billion while the spend on desktop display ads will have a decline of $7.5 billion— from $19.4 billion to a low of $11.9 billion.

Hence, it would be fair to say that mobile advertising is in its glory. But you still might be doubtful whether banner ads are a viable option for mobile advertising, considering the little respect they get.

Banner Ads and Mobile Advertising

Nobody loves banner ads— true. But are they effective?

Banner Ads and Mobile Advertising

Nobody loves banner ads— true. But are they effective?

Well, banner ads may be considered long dead, but in reality, they are slowly rising up from the dead and securing their space on mobile screens. Banner ads are currently the second highest revenue generating format across all regions, making it a reliable monetizing format.

This puts banner ads in a very peculiar situation as even though banner ads are profitable, customers turn a blind eye towards them when they come across one. Customers find static ads to be extremely boring and annoying. To solve this issue, you need to be extra careful and creative when it comes to designing a banner ad. If you follow these best practices to design mobile banner ads, you can fight banner blindness and make the most of your banner ad campaign.

Here are some best practices to follow when designing mobile banner ads-

1. Mobile Banner Ad Size Guide

When it comes to banner ads— ‘One shoe doesn’t fit all’. The format for mobile banner ads are inherently different from desktop ads and both of them are equally important to run a successful campaign.

So the first step to design an attractive mobile ad is to select the appropriate size for it. Look at the table below that lists the standard banner sizes for mobile phones.

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As you can see, there are several sizes for mobile banner ads. Let’s discuss in detail which size is best for each purpose.

1. 320 x 50: It is the standard banner size for mobile phones. The size is most commonly used by app developers and is seen at the top or bottom of the app content. This size is ideal when there’s not a lot of information that needs to go within the frame. Here’s an example of a 320 x 50 banner ad.

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2. 300 x 250: It is the medium sized rectangular banner ad which appears in the middle of app content when the user is scrolling through a website on mobile. Since the size is larger than the standard size, you can fit in more information without cluttering the design. Here’s an example-

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3. 300 x 100: It is the largest mobile banner ad and is listed as the top performing ad format by Google AdSense. It is ideal to run this ad on websites with huge traffic for maximum outcome. However, bigger the size, bigger the price. To make the most of the banner ad of this size, your ad should have a concise message and call to action. Here’s an example-

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2. Clear Logo

Our index finger dances incessantly, scrolling up and down the phone screen within seconds. Your banner ad should be able to catch the attention of the viewer within those seconds. And to successfully achieve that, the ad should not be filled with too many elements that the message you want to send across gets mixed in the clutter. Moreover, such ads are considered to be annoying and intrusive as they spoil the experience of the viewer with their overwhelming visuals.

To give your ads an edge, keep them minimalistic and clean with minimum elements. But don’t forget to put a logo. Your brand logo is an identification of your brand, so keep it prominent in all the banners ads and follow a proper layout. Here are some best practices for placing a logo in the banner ad-

  1. Typically, the brand logo is placed on the top left corner or right corner at the bottom for good visibility. You should try different layout placements for your logo as per the design of the entire banner.
  2. Make sure the logo does not merge with the background color or overlap with the background image. Use high contrast graphics for the logo to stand out.
  3. If there is no high contrast scenario, add depth using gradients layered between your logo and the background to highlight the logo.
  4. Let the logo breathe— keep space around the logo empty.
  5. Logos should be big enough to catch the attention without compromising on other design elements.

3. Copy

Content is one of the most important elements that compels the customer to click on your ad. It sets the tone of the ad and sends across the message you want to deliver through the ad. However, you should not fall into the temptation of over-explaining your product or service.

You wouldn’t want your viewers to scratch their heads and squint their eyes to understand what’s written on the ad. They would rather pass and move on instead of taking the trouble to read the content.

Your copy should be short and crisp with action-centric words and a clear call to action. Keep these things in mind while writing the copy-

  1. Brevity is the soul of ad copies— remove all the redundant words that take up extra space on your ad template.
  2. Don’t blow your own trumpet—use strong verbs rather than strong adjectives.
  3. Avoid using complicated words—keep it so simple that even a labrador understands it. Avoid using complicated words and jargon.
  4. Use a maximum of two or three different typefaces. Remember, the font should be legible on all phone screens and maintain consistency across all the banner ads.
  5. Just like in case of logos, the high contrast rule applies over here as well. Your text should stand out from the rest of the background.
  6. The copy of your call to action should be clear and precise.

4. Use HTML5 Tools

In a survey, 83% of consumers agreed with the statement— “Not all ads are bad, but I want to filter out the really obnoxious ones.”

It suggests that people don’t really hate ads, but they hate bad ads. That’s why you should stay away from static ads because they are flat, boring, and frankly, annoying. So chances are high that if you’re running static ads, they are getting blocked by the ad blockers.

Among different forms of display ads, rich media ads have 267% more click through rates than static ads, including HTML5 ads. They allow you to design banner ads without limiting your creativity with the help of templates, videos and other elements that can make your ads stand out.

Here are some best practices that IAB recommends for designing an effective HTML5 ad-

  1. Keep the animation length of your ad to a maximum of 15 seconds.
  2. Avoid flashy and bright colors as well as fast moving animations.
  3. Ensure the coding done for your ad is optimized for different browsers.
  4. Before running the ads, test the load time on different browsers.
  5. Keep a maximum of 4 frames in your animation, else you’ll start losing the viewer’s attention.

5. Add videos to your ads

Our love for visuals is eternal. If your banner ad has videos, it will attract the customers towards them almost immediately which any static ad would fail to do. In all, videos make your ads more attractive, engaging and outstanding.

However, there are few limitations when it comes to adding a video in banner ads such as load time and screen size. According to the latest IAB guidelines, the video should not be longer than 15 seconds, just like all other animated ads. As far as screen size is concerned, make sure the video fits the frame and doesn’t look cropped or edited from a larger video to fit in.

Keep the following points in mind when playing with video in your ad-

  1. If there’s sound in your banner ad, make sure it is on mute by default.
  2. Your assets should be of highest quality and the video should not pixelate. Bad quality shows how unbothered you are about your customers and your own brand image.
  3. Instead of adding all the elements throughout the video, you can add them in transitions. For instance, in one frame you can keep the logo and in another frame keep the text or logo. This way your video will not look cluttered and still contain everything necessary to convey your message.

6. Size and Location of your CTA

A banner ad is incomplete without a CTA. It allows your viewer to take the desired action, making it the most important element. That’s why your CTA should be strong, memorable, and compelling.

Make sure your CTA is the centerpiece of your mobile banner ad without any surrounding noise. Create a sense of urgency with phrases like ‘order now’, ‘Limited time period’ or ‘book your meeting today’ etc. Here are some best CTA practices that you should keep in mind when designing your mobile banner ads-

  1. Keep your CTA short— your CTA should have a minimum of one word and a maximum of 5 words. If you use more words, it might make the viewer indecisive and your design will look messy.
  2. Put it in a box— Keep the CTA of your mobile banner ad in a box so that it stands out. You already have little space to work with and if your CTA isn’t framed in a box, it might get mixed with other text, losing its purpose.
  3. Make sure the CTA buttons are big enough to be clickable on mobile phones.
  4. Don’t over-animate the CTA buttons to avoid any confusion.

Above discussed practices are the fundamentals that should be followed for maximum engagement. Keeping them in mind, don’t shy away from experimenting with different concepts to create engaging mobile banner ads for your next ad campaign!

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