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Analysis

9 Banner Ads That Pile on the Clicks

Banner ads are as old as the internet, yet they are still a massively effective tool, which cannot be overlooked. Banner ads can be really effective with a little TLC and some additional strategic thought.

Rebecca Wojno
May 16 2017

Maybe you wish they would, but banner ads aren’t going into the internet blackhole. If you’re in marketing, chances are you’ve been involved, are involved and will be involved with banner ads – whether through media buying, art or analytics. The genre itself is an art form, and when at its best, it is a sight to behold. To start thinking and talking about banner ads you should consider the copy, the art and the ways in which their synergy manages to capture the brand persona. Leading brands invest professional and creative talent into their banners, using technology to constantly redefine a genre as old as advertising.
So, if you’re team banner, you’ll definitely want to check out our picks for some of the best ads on the web. If you hate the sight of them on your screen, maybe these creatives will change your mind.

Grammarly

Grammarly took a literal route here by actually showing users how the tool works. Much like the app, the design is clean and minimalistic, helping the actual value the app offers shine. Another design feat? Making the CTA button the same color red as the corrections encourages users to click and see what mistakes they could be making.

Adidas

At first, the ad shows a black pen drawing a line (right to left) and a runner jogging alongside the drawn-out path. After a few seconds, the pen stops moving and the user can fill in the squares themselves, forging their own path. Allowing the viewer to control the ad is proof enough that Adidas realizes that real engagement transforms passive consumers into active customers. This is literal customer engagement, done right.

Evernote

Rather than opt for a boring, run-of-the-mill depiction of production at play, Evernote chose a more current and relatable situation. Although they could have incorporated several punchy hues, the subdued color scheme embodies a sense of calmness (the app is all about effectively managing your daily tasks, after all), while the green highlights, strongly associated with the company, creates brand awareness. Readers don’t have to guess what this banner is about, and the CTA is right there for you to act on. Lastly, the banners premise – “Remember Everything” – is its true strength. This copy not only recognizes a pain point everyone shares, but makes an irresistible promise to solve it.

Cadbury

Cadbury came up with one hell of a creative to celebrate reaching 1,000,000 followers on Facebook. The ad encouraged users to interact with the chocolate thumb makers as well as other viewers. During the two days the videos were broadcasted live on the chocolatier’s Facebook page, viewers could contribute their piece to the edible sculpture and direct the makers into performing actions like conga lines or planking. Cadbury’s fun ad made it impossible to forget the brand behind the thumb.

Slack

Here, too, the promise of increased productivity – and in Slack’s case it’s also backed up by an actual stat – is this banner’s strong suit. The design is everything you’d want an ad to be; it’s trendy, eye-catching, and original. This isn’t a mundane office desk scene – the productivity app chose images that are much more relatable and difficult to forget than a tired office setting. Come on, if it’d been you in that pic you would have gone ahead and made it into your profile pic.

The Economist

These ads by The Economist are provocative, thought provoking, and simple. The copy epitomizes The Economist’s premise: an intelligent, timely discussion of current topics. All it takes is a well phrased question, and readers are enticed to discover the answer for themselves. Seen here in context, it’s evident that the brand is targeting its natural audience – in this case, on CNBC.

L.L. Bean

Flashier isn’t always better. This ad captures the eye because it manages to nail the L.L. Bean mentality in an easily digestible manner: nature is the essence, L.L. Bean is the enabler. The background is just that, a background, and it allows the white copy to take center stage… until your eyes scroll down and you see the orange call to action button, that is.

Macy’s

A scratch off banner ad? Now, this we would happily engage with. Users can scratch and “peel” the ad to see 12 different Parisian style outfits. Visitors can also opt to watch a video of the clothes in action and flip through a look book. Macy’s took many of their e-commerce functions and rolled them into one neat, compact ad, that completely captures the brand’s look and feel.

IKEA

We may have saved the best for last. This campaign used a resizable function where users could fit and drag the banner into a shape of their choosing and see how IKEA furniture would look in the “room.” The message? IKEA’s furniture and storage systems fit into any space. Seamlessly.

So even if your banner budget doesn’t allow for cutting-edge technological feats and days of live video streams, take a hint from the big boys: banners are still an effective marketing and re-marketing tool, and an area in which you need to invest your creative energy as well as your marketing spend. Be precise and succinct with your copy, incorporate original art and design, and make the whole thing feel like your brand. Your clicks are on the way.

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Rebecca Wojno

Rebecca is a marketing content writer and copy editor. Aside from writing about the importance of customer retention, she spends her time searching for good Mexican food and watching "Suits" reruns.

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