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Display banners aren’t something many of us give much thought to. Until we have to create our own. Then, all of a sudden, we question what the best display banners look like. Do we like that call-to-action? Does that image work? Is that text legible? 

If you’re not sure where to start on your banner advertising journey, we’ve compiled this list of our favourites from 2018. As we go through, we highlight best practice and some practical points for building your own creative.

 

Amazon Fresh

You’d expect Amazon to be a master at building banner ads and this is a good example.

The inclusion of tomatoes and asparagus adds a bright pop of colour, drawing the eye to an otherwise minimal ad. In fact, the only coloured text in the advert is the Amazon Fresh logo, which makes the logo stand out.

We particularly like the clear offer in the headline – while the call to action is incentivised. If you click the ad, you can start your free trial on Amazon Fresh. In fact, the only thing we’d like to change is the size of the call to action, which is slightly squished between the headline and the logo.

 

Virgin Atlantic

Bright, bold and fun, this Virgin Atlantic banner advert makes up part of a wider campaign that supports the airline brand.

The simple messaging suggests that a trip with Virgin Atlantic is anything but everyday. This is supported by the photo, which illustrates a playful side to flying with the airline. The children are clearly enjoying themselves – and are enjoying plenty of space.

The overlaid shape of an aeroplane window also reminds viewers that this is an airline. In fact, if you didn’t know that Virgin Atlantic was an airline, there’s very little to give this away.

Of course, the simple call to action – ‘book now’ explains exactly what happens when you click on the advert. You can book your own fun flight with Virgin Atlantic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melia

This banner ad allows the image to do all of the hard work.

Who doesn’t want to be on this beautiful, deserted, white-sand beach, reclining on a lounger, looking out over clear turquoise waters?

The text remains simple. It tells you whose hotel it is and where it is, before a simple CTA button gives you a way to get there.

Our only change would be the use of a heavier font to ensure it was legible.

 

 

 

Adobe Creative Cloud

Again, making up part of a wider campaign, this 300×600 display banner advert is bright and bold, with a strong statement for a headline.

Anyone who denies the statement risks the suggestion that theirs isn’t a good business. It’s a pretty good way of getting people to buy into your ad.

And by using a series of brightly coloured, textured images, this advert breaks up the page and stands out.

Like Amazon Fresh, this advert also includes a price point. The reason being that it dispels the preconception that Creative Cloud is expensive. At $33.99 per month, most businesses can afford to invest in good design.

Again, the ‘Buy now’ button is simple, but allows you to add good design to your business at a low price point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greenhouses Direct

Now, we admit, we might be a bit biased on this one. Greenhouses Direct are a client of The Commerce Collective and the display banners were designed by The Creative Armoury.

However, we’re including it because it incorporates many of our points for best practice.

With a range of images, which include both the product and a customer, it catches the eye as it rotates.

The final two frames then include a key message, so viewers learn more about the brand, as well as how much a greenhouse costs.

We also made the decision to ad key proof points (25-year guarantee, Made in Britain etc), so viewers know they can trust the manufacturer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bing

Forget whatever you think about Bing’s business model. Its display banners are great examples of B2B advertising.

First up, the subtitle tells you what will happen when you use their services. ‘Bing Ads helps you reach new customers’; what business doesn’t want that? Then you can ‘Get Started’ quickly by clicking the ad. In fact, you could even do it while you’re out shopping!

The use of the Microsoft logo on the right supports the Bing logo too. If you haven’t heard of Bing before, you will have heard of Microsoft – a reliable, global brand.

There’s also a fine border around the ad. Why? Because the white advert might sit on a white page. The border gives the ad some definition, so it’s clearly separated from the page.

Read more: How to boost email signups

 

Shopify

We see these ads around the web a lot because Shopify is our ecommerce platform of choice.

That’s not the only reason we’ve included it in this list though. Actually, we like the advert for several reasons, not least because of the statement that Shopify has everything you need to sell online.

By including a smartphone in the ad, it demonstrates that your shop can be managed on a phone, from anywhere. The items within the ad also highlight that the platform can be used to sell a variety of items, including make-up brushes, spoons and food in jars.

The brand identity is strong too. With the Shopify logo sitting alongside its signature font and colour palette, it’s clear which brand placed the ad.

Again, a short, simple CTA at the bottom, in a complementary colour, makes it easy to set up an ecommerce store. And as if simplicity wasn’t enough, it’s free to get started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Lewis Insurance

This animated ad uses bricks and mortar as the background behind its messaging. This reflects the fact that their insurance protects your home. It will also do a good job of breaking up the web page that it sits on so it stands out.

The headline is clear; home insurance from John Lewis is ‘premier’. The subtitle then gives a little more information about what’s included in the cover, simplifying the often confusing proposition; it’s reassuring to know that the cover is ‘unlimited’, so your home is completed protected.

Moving down the ad, the Which? logo acts as social proof. It’s a reassurance to ad viewers that John Lewis’s insurance can be trusted and the company is recommended.

This is further supported by the John Lewis logo in the footer. As one of the best-known brands in the UK, ad viewers might be more likely to click it because they trust the brand.

The call-to-action is simple, with a simple directional arrow, suggesting that you will move to another website when you click on the advert.

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Ford

Confident in its understated design, this Tom Ford display ad was used to launch the brand’s new Soleil Blanc eau de perfume.

With no text, other than the simple, ‘Shop Now’ button, it relies on knowledge of the brand to entice viewers to click through. It doesn’t reveal anything about the scent, creating a sense of intrigue around the brand and its new product. Of course, Tom Ford fans will be drawn in and click on the ad because they want to know more.

When it comes to the image, the white and gold bottle pops against the muted, largely black background. It hints that something new has arrived; it stands out from the crowd. And you will too, when you wear it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bird Box

Arguably one of the best-promoted films of 2018, Netflix’s advertising campaigns surely played into the success of Bird Box.

This display ad has the elements of classic film poster, with the star’s name at the top, above the title. Even if you don’t know what the film’s about, you know Sandra Bullock is an Oscar-winning Hollywood actress. The film is therefore likely to have high-quality production values.

The image of Bullock and a child blindfolded, however, creates intrigue. Why can’t they see? Where are they going? And why are they covered in dirt? If you can’t wait to find out, the ad tells you that it’s now streaming on Netflix. You can just click the ad to watch it now.

In fact, the use of ‘now’ twice within the ad gives an element of urgency, encouraging you to watch it before it’s no longer streaming.

 

 

 

 

 

Read more: How to write a creative brief for banner advertising