Banners are the bread and butter of any affiliate network, as it is their quality and catchiness that define whether the link behind them is going to receive traffic and, potentially, new customers. Therefore, the craft of creating and placing them is one of the most important skills responsible for boosting sales through affiliate marketing – and here we will discuss some tricks of the trade that can help you out in this job.

1. Design them to fit specific websites

Ideally, the banner should ideally match the design of the site where it is found. It means that it should look natural regarding size, color inspiration, and imagery. It shouldn’t be smaller or bigger than design elements that surround it. Its color has to be consistent with the general palette of the website in question, and if it uses images, they should look like something that can be naturally found on this resource. Why so much attention to this? Because most people, even those who don’t use AdBlock, don’t like banners and don’t want to click them. If they see an element that looks different from the rest of the design, they think twice before clicking, check if it leads to another page and is much less likely to follow the link. And on the contrary, if the visitor can be led to believe that the banner is a part of the website, he is more likely just to click it.

2. Do your research

Even the most outstanding and perfectly designed banner won’t do much good if it doesn’t appeal to the target audience. To make sure you don’t make this mistake before you even start designing it, do some research. Who are your most important potential customers? What do they like? What is likely to attract their attention? What imagery will appeal to them? Check your competition and partners: what are the common denominators of the banners they use? What tips and tricks can you start with to engage your target audience using banner ads in affiliate marketing for your niche? This already has optimal approaches that have already proven their efficiency and can safely be imitated for guaranteed effect. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to be creative – but before you try out something new, you should understand what already works and design banner ads upon it.

3. Mind the banner’s size

There are a few typical banner sizes that are used everywhere (e.g., 320×50 px or 300×250 px) and some industry-specific formats (e.g., adult content has its own set of dimensions usually associated with it). So, first make sure the banner you design fits one of these typical sizes, and secondly, remember that you work for mobile first and foremost. Even if you design your banner using a desktop computer, you should check how it is going to look on a mobile device – you can use website visualization tools to test how a banner will look on different devices.

Remembering about mobile users also mean keeping in mind not only the dimensions, but the size of the banner – make it too heavy, and it will influence the loading time, negatively affecting the user’s experience.

4. Choose images with good contrast

If your banner incorporates images, using high-quality pictures goes without saying. In addition to that, try choosing crisp, dynamic photos that match the content you promote. Another essential thing to take care of is a color contrast – different parts of the image and especially the call to action should be delineated against each other so that visitors can grasp the contents in a fraction of a second it takes to move their eyes across it. Don’t use the font color that is going to be lost against the background – even if you believe it looks stylish, in practice, it will simply obscure the meaning and purpose of your banner and have the viewer lose interest. A good idea would be to add a defined Call to Action button so that there is no chance for visitors to miss it.

In the long run, designing banner ads is all about two things: appeal and legibility. Clients should be attracted by the imagery and immediately understand that there is something they want behind the link. And although there is no single set of steps that would work in every situation, these rules apply in most cases.