Be in Control of Your Banner Designs

Part of my job, when I’m not tweeting or writing blogs, is to manage our clients’ online advertising display campaigns. To stay sharp, I make it a hobby to look at banners I find across the Web. Some are really amazing and creative pieces. Unfortunately, a lot are not.

But there’s this weird middle area where a banner is perfect on paper: Eye-catching images, nice copy, enticing product, etc. If someone were to show you the ad mocked-up, you’d think it was great and approve it.

That’s why I want to call your attention to this ad I ran across. See the problem?
Bad Banner CTA Location

The call to action, “Get Tickets,” is completely obscured by the Google+ 1 button. Unfortunately, most people wouldn’t think to design an ad for a Google AdWords annotation – the +1 button. The artist clearly came up with a very nice ad and placed the call to action in an appropriate place. But the online media buyer did not consult with the artist when the Google+ 1 button was added in AdWords. This problem could have been avoided easily if the two teams communicated about their intentions.

Bad Banner Ad - NO!

Not good!

If you’re running your own banners, be sure to view the banners in their live form. (Or, if you have someone else running them for you, ask them to test them live.) You can do this by visiting one of the websites on which your banners are currently appearing. To find those websites, visit the Placements section in Google AdWords, under Display Network tab as seen here:

Google AdWords Placements

After a day or two of running your campaign, Google will provide a list of websites and their URLs. By visiting these sites, you should see one of your ads appear. It may take some refreshing of the page and a little patience. You may need to try several sites before finding your ad.

Of course, you could avoid all of this simply by turning off the Google+ 1 button annotations in your Google AdWord settings. As one of my colleagues said when I showed her the aforementioned banner, “The only thing showing up on your banners should be designed by your artists and not added by an ad network.”

Whichever route you take, you should control your banners in a way that best serves your needs. If you have questions about this, please leave me a comment below.

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