Beginners guide Online Advertising

Beginner's Guide to Online Advertising.

Creating ad banners is one of my specialties.  For about 10 years now I’ve been creating banners to promote and push users to websites to drive traffic.

Over the years the technology, sizes and sites you use to advertise on have changed and will continue to change.   This post is all about the info you need to know in order to understand online advertising, the options you have available and what to ask for when creating a brief.

Anyone can create an online advertising campaign.

You don’t have to be that creative agency with the brick walls and a vintage bicycle hanging on the wall in order to promote your business – you have access to all of this, we all do.  But just like any tool, it requires knowledge and experience to use it effectively.

So in this post I’ll show you just the facts you need to know to brief in a banner and the knowledge you need to know to understand the fundamentals of online advertising.

Where are these banners promoted?

Online advertising can appear on your favourite news website; smaller websites that focus in a specific topic (think your cousins’ brother’s health blog), on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  This is HUGE in terms of audience targeting.  Take Google ads for example, you can target advertising to appear within blogs of a specific topic.

Let’s take an example.

If you sell Jewellery specifically from the Gold Coast, you can target people reading articles about the Gold Coast OR people who have been to your website and are now browsing articles about something completely unrelated.  You’re ensuring your brand is visible and front of mind even when they’re no longer on your store or website – How cool is that!?

Now I’m going to really blow you mind.   Facebook’s advertising network can target your customer’s:
– Location
– Demographics
– Interests
– Age & Gender
– Connections
– Behaviours

You can even target people using specific devices.  This is incredibly useful for small-medium sized business owners like yourself because it means that your marketing dollars are working harder unlike outdoor advertising or mailers where you have no idea who you’re targeting.

Google advertising for small business.

Banner sizes

Online advertising comes in various sizes.  Google advertising allows you to create banners that are animated (using flash or gifs) and still.  There are a few standard sizes that they recommend using – these are:

  • Banner: 468 x 60
  • Leaderboard: 728 x 90
  • Square: 250 x 250
  • Small square: 200 x 200
  • Large rectangle: 336 x 280
  • Inline rectangle: 300 x 250
  • Skyscraper: 120 x 600
  • Wide skyscraper: 160 x 600
  • Half-page: 300 x 600
  • Large leaderboard: 970×90
  • Large mobile banner: 320 x 100
  • Billboard: 970 x 250
  • Portrait: 300 x 1050

The ones in bold are most commonly used on the web, and those used by agencies to promote their businesses on websites like Yahoo! NZ Herald, news websites and other sites with huge amounts of traffic.

advertising banners

There are also sorts of other factors that go into a campaign idea, click tracking but I won’t bore you with that.

The key things you need to know is to create a campaign that:

  1. Gets to the point quickly
  2. Is consistant with YOUR branding
  3. Has a call to action.  The entire banner is clickable but you still need to tell people to do something.

A ‘Find out more’, ‘Click here’ or ‘Shop now’ usually does the job and is quite effective in getting viewers to take action.

Remember that your banner is going to appear where people are busy reading or watching something else.  If you can create an ad that compliments the environment that it’s in and effectively plays on the right emotions then you’ve got a great ad.


Another note on ads

From June this year (2016) you can no longer use Flash advertising to promote your banners.  This is key for web designer or anyone creating advertising so ensure they are aware of this update and can either produce animated gifs or HTML5 banners which are more like the flash transitions you’re use to seeing.

Update your flash ad banners to html5

What should you expect to hear back about your campaign

Ensure you ask the agency / freelancer what the cost is per click of the campaign you’re running.  If during the middle of the campaign you’re performing much better on the mobile sized banners than the desktop versions are ask them to re-distribute the budget to what is working and ditch what doesn’t.

And that’s it.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask them below.  All the best creating your campaigns this year.

Freelance Web Designer - Tania Richardson.


Have you joined my FREE mini course below on how to design your website for conversion?  Sign up on the footer of this website to get your first lesson delivered right to your inbox!


10+ years as a product designer. Helping start-ups and organisations combine user research and design principals to deliver the best in online experiences.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We use cookies to give you the best experience. Cookie Policy