By Owen Fay . Posted on August 3, 2022

Over time, banner ads have grown in popularity. In addition to search ads, they can be a fantastic tool to raise brand awareness, traffic, and conversions.

High-traffic areas on websites are used to display banner ads, which can raise brand awareness and provide clicks, sales, and leads. The front, bottom, or side of a webpage are some examples of these high-visibility areas, which are where browsers’ eyes tend to naturally go.

To drive clicks or create leads, the majority of businesses do run at least one banner or display ad on advertising networks. A compelling banner ad catches the reader’s eye and tempts them to find out more about the product being promoted. They use photos or other forms of multimedia rather than a lot of text to attract users with eye catching creative.

But, according to Google, the average click-through rate for display ads is just 0.46%. While that number is pretty low there are a number of psychology-based and data-backed tactics that can help get more out of your banner and display ads.

Ranging from placements to design, there are a few ways you can help your ads get a click rate that crushes the small average. Here are five (5) easy but effective ways to increase the performance of your banners, display ads, lead generation, and more.

Create ads in the “F-Pattern”

It’s important to keep in mind how your visitors are most likely to view a website when creating your ads. To get visitors to see what you want them to do, it helps to acknowledge our instinct to read from top to bottom. You can establish a visual hierarchy and put your ads in the best places for them to engage by knowing where their attention is likely to go.

The “F-Pattern” outlines how people read or see a webpage and is a technique for displaying advertisements on websites. Based on ingrained human behavior, it uses a straightforward structure to direct a user’s attention to the content that you want them to view. The F-pattern in this instance has its roots in the left-to-right reading method.

According to the theory behind it, website designers can put information in the direct line of sight by focusing on the F-pattern. These are the 3 ways a website visitor scans a page:

  1. Horizontally across the top of the page
  2. Reading the left side of the page vertically downwards.
  3. Visitors occasionally pause to read from left to right, spending less time on the right side of the page as they scroll down.

Users pay the least attention to content on the far right of the website, especially as they continue to view the page. Less time is spent scanning the page as they move toward the bottom of a page.

Eye-tracking data tells us that ads at the top left of the page have more visibility over other areas, but the placement of the ad makes a difference, and some placements have different effects.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning your banner or display ads:

  • Left-hand side is better than the right
  • Place your ads near the top of the webpage
  • Try placing ads in between content blocks or other areas that visitors spend most of their time
  • Test unconventional placements of ads, like full screen, pop-ups, etc. but make sure they are easy to exit, relevant, helpful, and not annoying.

Create a Balance Between Text and Images

For the most part, less is more when it comes to text on ads, but there is a happy medium that needs to be achieved.

You have a very small window to grab the user’s attention, you want to use as little text as you can to make your point without confusing readers. You usually have a maximum of two to three bullets or sentences and one value proposition or headline due to the limited space available in banner and display ads.

When testing little adjustments without altering the main message of your ads, which explains your value proposition, performance can change dramatically. There is conflicting data regarding whether your display ads should have a photo, graphic element, or a simple background. There isn’t a “correct solution,” as is typically the case with banner advertising.

A picture might do better than a graphic element, while a plain, colorful, or texturized background might outperform both. Testing particular graphical components of an advertisement rather than the words alone might produce impressive results. Even something as easy as altering the background color of a test or the color of a CTA button can have a significant impact.

The following are some guidelines for using text ads:

Users don’t want to read a novel when looking at ads. You have less than 5 seconds to capture their attention, use as little text as possible while still getting the point across

  1. Once distinct headline
  2. A single clear CTA
  3. (Optional) One-sentence sub-headline or description

If you utilize a very descriptive image, you might not need any text or need to use very little.

Break Banner Blindness

Another effective way to increase clicks and conversions with display and banner ads is making sure they stand out.

The goal should be to overcome “banner blindness”, users often ignore irrelevant ads when scrolling, this happens both consciously and unconsciously. This happens when irrelevant or confusing ads disrupt their experience.

Every outstanding banner ad needs to be attention-grabbing in addition to a brief value proposition. No, that does not entail flashing obnoxious lights. Instead, a clean, straightforward design can be very effective. A balance must be struck between generating aesthetically appealing and impressive advertisements without interfering with the user experience or being bothersome.

The easiest approach to achieve this is by making your ads stand out from the rest of the website’s content with vibrant colors, strong typefaces, and intriguing imagery. It is crucial to keep your brand’s image constant while advertising. After a person has seen your ad numerous times, it will be in your best interest to continue using the same typefaces, color scheme, image types, and even grammar guidelines. In some cases, it has been demonstrated that maintaining your brand image will boost a significant portion of your revenue.

The following are a few strategies marketers can use to avoid banner blindness:

  • Using attention-grabbing GIFs and animations. Banner advertisements with GIFs behave and appear differently. GIFs are comparatively easy to make, compatible with the majority of devices, and the animation frames may be quickly looped.
  • When it comes to ad size, bigger isn’t necessarily better; data shows that a medium rectangle (300×250) typically attracts the most attention.
  • Use vibrant colors and images that get the message across.
  • Consider the ad size and placement to get the most engagement.

Don’t Confuse Users or Force It

A lot of times users can get frustrated or confused with banner and display ads because advertisers try to force clicks or make it hard for users to exit ads. This is our fourth tip, don’t try to force the users to click on ads.

Most people that have visited a website with a lot of ads have run into pop-ups or larger ads that are impossible to avoid. Making your ads so big that people can’t help but look might seem like a good way to get more engagement, but it just frustrates the user. Hiding the exit button (X) in the bottom right where no one can find it just makes the ad annoying.

While these tactics may lead to higher CTRs, they will also make the data useless, an advertiser won’t know if the clicks were intentional or accidental.

The best way to increase ad performance is not through trickery or misleading users, the secret is creating ads that are relevant, useful, engaging, and create a positive experience.

Test Banner and Display Ads to Increase Performance

Last, but certainly not least: test all of these aspects of your ads to find the design that will create the most clicks, traffic, and conversions.

All of these optimization methods can lead to a click rate much higher than the average of 0.46%, but how will you know if the changes you made are going to make a difference? The answer is you won’t until they are launched.

However, if you want to find the most effective ad design before launching your banner and display campaigns you should test ad variations in a pre-live environment.

With Poll the People ad testing you can gather real user feedback in under an hour, to discover user preferences, find the design that is the most engaging, and learn what ad elements have the greatest impact.

Our platform makes it easy to test every aspect of the ad, with templates, a dedicated user panel, and fast responses, testers can analyze the text, images, placement, visibility, and effectiveness of their ads on real users in minutes.

To run a test and analyze any of these elements of banner and display ads just choose the corresponding template from our library, insert your ad designs, ask a test question, set your audience, and launch. In just an hour you will have hundreds of responses telling you what ad works the best, what users enjoy, and find any issues with the ads before going live.

Once the test is complete just dive into the responses and optimize your ads based on user feedback. If you practice ad testing there’s a good chance you’ll see more clicks, conversions, engagement, and create a better overall experience for users.


When you’re unsure how to create your banners or display ads, keep these suggestions in mind. The good thing is that you can test your ideas to find what works best because there isn’t a perfect approach to create these ads. To improve your banner advertisements and landing pages, utilize A/B testing with Poll the People, it is far less expensive than live testing and takes less than one hour to get all of your feedback.

Businesses that create and run banner ads successfully will see more leads, increased conversions, and possibly increased revenue through this optimization method. The information given in the blog post above will help you in overcoming the challenges involved in designing and testing an attention-grabbing banner ad.

If you are looking to design and launch banner or display ads, the first step is to test them on real users to find what will work best once they are live. To effectively learn what ads are most effective sign up with Poll the People, for free and set up your first test in minutes.

Owen Fay

1 Comment

  1. PrintedBanners

    I appreciate you sharing these excellent and useful advice. Many people who want to utilize printed banners to advertise their products would undoubtedly benefit from this. To prevent confusing our audiences when using banners, we must also pay close attention to the topic of the ad and its appearance. Could you give us a few examples of effective banners for advertising?

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