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Creating Banner Ads with Story Appeal and Visual Scandal

In the older times of the internet, marketers drew parallels between web pages and billboards. The biggest one is the fact that both web browsers and drivers only glance at a web page or a billboard swiftly and marketers have seconds to keep their attention. However, this parallel was swiftly distorted by the fact that the web browser can easily return to the ad to take a second look; it’s a lot harder to do that when you’re whizzing down the expressway!

But when it comes to website advertisements and billboards, the parallel becomes more distinct. Both types of advertising show up in the periphery vision of the user and both have to leave people wanting to know more. So, we can successfully shift the idea of only having seconds to attract attention with a billboard to the same ideas which hold in banner advertising. This means that the same advice one would use to build great billboards can also be used to create great banner ads!

1. Make your advertisement into a ‘visual scandal’ (more on that in a bit)

2. Sell your promise in words and in pictures (a picture says a 1000 words after all)

3. Use large font

4. A visible brand

5. Pure and strong colors

6. No more than three design elements

It’s the first two which are the most important points here; the other four are up for debate. Things like bright colors can make people actually turn away from the ad and large fonts are up to your comfort levels. It’s the first two ideas which are really important in this case. It boils down to the idea of creativity in advertising and we’ll go over that right here.


The Visual Scandal

What is a visual scandal? A visual scandal is a clever way of designing your ad so it provokes a positive reaction: laughter, interest, admiration, joy, adoration etc. It also of course attracts interest and intrigue; things which make it more likely that people will click on your ads.

Another part of the visual scandal is the idea of looking outside your advertisement box. Some advertisers find ways to extend their ad beyond their 380×420 box to interact with other advertisements. You can also do things like turn the surrounding area into a part of your ad; for example, having a picture of a crunched car set up so that it looks like it crashed into a real telephone pole.


Weaving a Story

A final part of the idea behind a visual scandal is to give your advertisement story appeal. Stories are meant to give people some sense of meaning in their lives without actually forcing meaning upon them. Stories are created as a way to figure out the motives of characters and use imagination to fill them out. In banner advertisements, stories come about as a result of the use of people in the ads which are engaging and have something intriguing about them-some way to hook a story to them. When people become interested in your character, they will click on your advertisement in order to learn more.

Characters which are odd in some way, unique or stand out are best because they make the reader curious to learn more about said character. You in turn promise to tell more about the character which means clicking on your ad and learning more about the character and by extension, you and your company. Many brands build themselves up on these characters in fact; the brand is known by their ‘mascots’. For example, Apple Mac’s stuffy PC guy and young, hip Mac guy have become iconic in the company’s advertising. Ronald McDonald from McDonald’s (along with the Golden Arches), the Red Haired Wendy’s girl, Dennis the Menace being tagged to DQ for a while… and so on.

Makes you want to learn more about them, doesn’t it?

Advertising doesn’t have to be dry, step-by-step and tedious; in fact, the best and most effective ones are creative, interesting and jump out at a viewer. If you are interested in your ad design, others will be too and that means being more creative in your work and enjoying the stories and visuals your advertisement can show off. As you can see here and from many other advertisements, creators can have a blast making ads that will attract attention and tell a story. And the more you enjoy the process, the more your viewers will enjoy your ads and the more likely it is that they will buy from you!
This is a guest post by Nitesh Keswani “Nitesh works with BannerWeaver.com – a site that specializes in designing Flash banners for you affiliate campaigns as as well as Ad campaigns, specifically, Adwords campaigns in Google’s Display network.

John Rampton is a PPC Entrepreneur, Author, Founder at Due a finance company helping small business owners. Follow me on Twitter @johnrampton

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