Banner advertising is by far most popular and widespread form of advertising on Internet, almost every website has some form of banner advertising on it. There's just no escaping banner on net.
Even though we have all read news about declining effectiveness of banners on web, I still believe that with right 'ingredients' banners can be a good source of visitors and income for most webmasters.
There are five of these ingredients that I'd consider most important, using all or most of them will always enable you to get a higher click through for your various banners. I'll list them and then continue to discuss each one in a bit more detail.
Small file Call to action Animation Good ad copy Fake factor
1. Small file This is one of most important things you have to get right when designing a banner, if .gif or .jpg file is large it will take a few seconds to download and by then visitor might have scrolled down page, meaning he or she doesn't even get to see your banner. If people don't see your banner they definitely are not going to click on it. So make sure your file stays below 10K, 15K at absolute most, it's sometimes hard to do, but if others can do it, we can do it too.
2. Call to action This is one of easiest ways to increase CTR (click through rate) of a banner, on this all experts agree. Using a call to action simply involves having words 'click here' or some other words such as 'sign up now' or something similar.
My thoughts on why using a call to action increases CTR so much include fact that there is so much advertising off-line, such as TV, Radio, billboards etc. etc. With advertising on these off-line mediums, target audiences are generally just required to watch or read ad. All ads online have a link and purpose is to get people to click on ad and visit advertisers website, however with world being so used to off-line advertising many people just see banners and think that's it, they don't realize that they are actually meant to click on it to find out more. That's way having click here or another call to action improves effectiveness of a banner.
3. Animation Banners with moving elements attract eye a lot more than static banners do. The whole idea of designing banners is to grab attention of website visitors, using small animation help to do this. I say small because I don't want you to go overboard and fill a banner with lots of animation, this is a bad idea because, one it increases file size, and two it is generally annoying to people after a while especially when they are trying to read an article or tutorial. If your banner annoys them, they will most likely just leave without clicking on it.