Testing Design and Copy with Banner Ads

November 23, 2011 2 min read

Banner ads are a great way to get attention online. Online advertising is rapidly growing in popularity because it makes targeting specific audiences easier than ever at a good price. However, the fact that banner ads are so inexpensive makes it easy for companies to be satisfied with sub-par results. Neglecting to evaluate the successes and failures of banner ads is a big opportunity missed. Sometimes even the simplest design or call-to-action changes can make a huge difference in click through rate. Banner ads aren’t painstakingly difficult to change the way a billboard is and the process only takes a few minutes. If you take the time to test banner ad design and copy you will see huge increases in click through activity for your online advertising campaign. Here are some tips to test a banner ad campaign.

Create your Suite of Advertisements

The first step of creating a test campaign is to create a variety of banner ads promoting your website, products or services. These advertisements should all have similar messages but use different copy or design elements. For example, one advertisement could be standard and simple while others could include complex elements such as hyperlinks, animated gif images and more. A good tactic is to create one simple advertisement and treat it as a control which includes your basic copy and pictures or design. The rest of your banner advertisements can be designed with this control as the base and elaboration and extra elements on top of the simple layout. Once you have 3-5 banners designed you are ready to launch.

Pick your Location

Next choose where your banner advertisements will be placed and leave them all up for at least 72 hours. Carefully track the click-through activity and views each banner reportedly receives. After a 72 hour period swap the different designs with each other so you can ensure your tracking results are not skewed by which website your ad is on. This process doesn’t only test design but the kind of traffic each website you are advertising on as well. After each design has been featured for three days on each website you will have the information you need to determine the success of each design.

Evaluate the Results

Comparing the click through rates for each design will give you a good idea of which design attracts the most attention and the most success. You will be able to see the different successes and failure of design and copy. You can also expand on this test by changing just one element at a time on a banner ad on the same website until you feel you have stumbled upon to perfect combination of design and copy for your audience.

Within just a month you will have a much better idea on how to create a banner ad which will see the best click through activity and get the most traffic to your website. Get the most out of every dollar you spend on banner ads online by testing your design every time.

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