The ads you see while scrolling through a news article or that appear in the middle of a blog you’re reading are called display banner ads. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is a group that helps determine and develop the industry standards for display banner advertisements. The IAB ad units are the most commonly adopted and utilized specs and dimensions by publishers across the web, and it’s in the best interest of advertisers to build creative assets following these standards. By doing so, advertisers will have access to more inventory. The latest update to the standards for display banner ads was in July of 2017, but it can be a little confusing to navigate.
We broke it down into three main takeaways:
1. There are several ad units to choose from, making it difficult to decide where to start
Test and compare results to find the right variety of ad units for your audience.
The display banner ad units are classified into four main categories: Rising Stars, Universal Ad Package, Other Ad Units and Rich Media. We recommend starting with a few of the Universal Ad Package banners that the IAB have deemed “Good” based on interaction rates. These are less expensive to create, have fewer design issues, and have the most inventory available. The top four banners The Search Agency’s Display team has seen success with in terms of delivery and viewability are the 300×250, 728×90, 320×50 and 300×600 sizes.
To better understand what each available banner size looks like, check out the following visual, courtesy of the IAB:
Once you’ve determined the sizes you’re creating, plan out a creative roadmap with a revolving test schedule of each banner ad to determine the best combination of ad units and creative messaging for your audiences.
After proving out the value of the Universal Ad Package banners, the next step would then be to test into the Rising Star banners using the same process.
2. Develop LEAN banners for a better user experience
The IAB concluded from research and testing that display banner ads should be “LEAN” to encourage a better experience for everyone.
LEAN is comprised of:
- Lightweight ads that allow for sites to load quickly
- Encrypted ads that utilize https for increased security
- Allowing Choice to provide the viewer control over their advertising experience (adChoices)
- Non-invasive ads to decrease the use of intrusive and annoying ads that drive customers away and decrease the effectiveness of display banner ads
The IAB (and The Search Agency, for that matter) is all about creating LEAN banner ads that emphasize user respect, choice and control over the ads they see.
3. Build flexible banner ads for a seamless cross-screen experience
More and more users are shifting from desktops to tablets and mobile devices – but that doesn’t mean you should completely leave desktop out of the picture.
To overcome the need for assets that work regardless of environment, the IAB introduced flexible ad specs that allow for a minimum and maximum banner width and height instead of a fixed size. This allows the ad to adjust based on the window size to help unify the cross-screen experience and allow for easy scale across multiple devices.
For the traditional banner sizes recommended above, the flexible dimension would be: 1:1, 8:1, 6:1 and 1:2, keeping the same aspect ratios as the traditional fixed banner sizes.
To sum it all up:
- Test the IAB Universal Ad Package banners first: 300×250, 728×90, 320×50 and 300×600.
- Be kind to the internet, and utilize IAB’s LEAN best practices to create the most effective banner ad.
- In addition to the fixed banner sizes, consider the cross-screen experience and utilize responsive ads that will adjust based on screen size.
For more information regarding display banner ads and to download the full specifications, visit https://www.iab.com/newadportfolio/.
The Search Agency’s Display team is dedicated to helping clients achieve their goals online. You can learn more about us on our Paid Social and Programmatic Display services page.