Advertising banners

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Static banner ( Wikipedia )

Banners (singular that , in the network jargon is also spread "the banner") are a form of Internet advertising . The advertising is integrated into the website as a graphic or animation file, previously mostly in GIF or Flash format, today increasingly in JPEG or HTML format . Banners then refer to the advertiser's website as a hyperlink . Banners can be embedded in the page, but sometimes also overlay the page for a few seconds. Various standard sizes have become established in the advertising industry . Since the mid- 2000s , banners have been losing importance in favor of video advertising and other forms of advertising.

Banner advertising

The banner advertising can take place as part of a partner program. These partner programs are offered by affiliate networks. Private homepages in particular often take part in banner exchange networks in order to forward visitors to each other. Larger websites usually use a specialized marketer to sell their advertising space, while the selection, planning and purchasing are carried out by a media agency in line with the customer's advertising goals .

When the visitor clicks on the banner, he is automatically directed to the website of the advertising company. The operators of the website earn from how often the banner of the advertising company was displayed to visitors (TKP or CPM model) or how often visitors clicked on the banner ( cost-per-click (CpC) model). With other forms of advertising, the operator only earns for certain actions that were triggered as a result of the forwarding, e.g. B. an order in an online shop (so-called cost-per-order or sale programs) or when registering on a website (so-called cost-per-lead or lead programs).

Advertising banners are usually animated to attract more attention. However, this movement and the blinking are often found annoying. Some users have even gotten used to not being able to see banners anymore, so the probability that a visitor actually clicks on a banner is correspondingly lower these days. Advertising filters are also becoming more and more common. As a result, advertising banners have clearly lost their attractiveness as an advertising platform. The attractiveness of a banner is measured by the click-through rate . H. the number of clicks in relation to the number of display processes. The conversion rate then indicates the percentage of clicks on a banner that led to a measurable conclusion (such as ordering a product or subscribing to a newsletter) and can be used to calculate the profitability of using banner advertising.

New forms of advertising are, for example, the pixel banners , which, in contrast to the other variants, do not rely on the sole representation of an advertising medium, but on a shared advertising space.

Static banners

When the first advertising banners were developed, the web browsers widespread at the time could only display static, i.e. non-animated graphics. Accordingly, simple graphic banners were created.

Since advertising banners are usually not large in terms of area, static graphics offer very few possibilities to convey an advertising message. The only possible action is the click that leads to the linked site of the advertiser. But even without animation, static banners can achieve high click rates if the message is relevant to the user. This can be influenced by two things: 1) an interesting offer from the advertiser and 2) the correct placement of a banner by a media agency. Another way to get clicks with a static banner are so-called fake banners. For example, the banner can be "camouflaged" as a Windows system message or by integrating scroll bars and similar control elements, thus simulating a function and thus prompting a click.

Image-text combinations

Combinations of static images and associated short texts are mainly used in the area of performance marketing . The ads are mostly used in cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-lead (CPL) campaigns and are particularly suitable for sales-oriented advertisers for whom the perception of the brand name only plays a secondary role.

From a marketing point of view, these small formats are mostly just a supplement to other forms of advertising with which otherwise unused remaining space on larger portal pages is marketed.

Animated banners

Example of an animated banner ( Wikipedia )

The targeted animation can convey movement and accommodate a lot more text. The banner becomes an eye-catcher and offers creative potential for advertising agencies. Animated GIFs are used for this. These show a sequence of individual images stored one after the other in a file in an endless loop. The interactivity, however, is not extended in this banner form either, as the only possible action is still limited to clicking on the linked banner.

Since neither the server nor the user have to meet any special technical requirements and there is also enough freedom for creativity during development, the animated banner is currently the most frequently used form of advertising on the Internet. Unfortunately, creativity quickly comes to an end when it comes to storage space requirements. The maximum sizes set in this regard are very often reached by animated banners.

HTML banner

In contrast to static and animated banners, an HTML banner consists not only of a single graphic, but of a series of HTML elements that are inserted within the source text of the website of the advertising medium. Correspondingly, certain (apparently) interactive elements based on HTML, such as, for example, drop-down menus and selection fields, can be used. Of course, graphics can also be integrated.

This opens up new possibilities for the visitor as he can, for example, select a certain product within the banner and then get to the respective information pages with a simple click. If JavaScript , a programming language that can be integrated in the HTML source text, is also used, other interactive elements such as games etc. can also be inserted.

A responsive design can also be realized with CSS and JavaScript , so there is the possibility that the banner is independent of the size. The banner can take on different sizes and shapes on different sized devices .

Nano site banner

Essentially, nanosite banners (also known as microsites) can be described as your own small website the size of a banner. A functional website is displayed on the advertising space, whereby any number of complex website areas can be linked. The corresponding content is then also displayed in the same advertising space, so that the visitor no longer has to leave the site of the advertising medium at all. For example, the possibility of a mini-shop with all associated functionalities would be conceivable.

Solutions are meanwhile being offered on the market with the help of which, based on a product data export and a graphic template, nanosite banners can be provided in a simple manner and without complex programming.

Rich media banners

"Rich media banners" are multimedia-enhanced banners that can contain video, audio and 3D components. This form of interactive advertising is mostly based on plug-ins and server extensions, v. a. on the flash technique. The development of new processes for the Internet thus also determines the new types of rich media banners. Since the annoyance of the site visitors through the uninvited sound effects can be considerable, the user-initiated activation of the sound by clicking or "mouse over" is meanwhile common.

Transactive banner

Compared to Nanosite banners, which are self-contained mini-sites, this form of advertising offers an even higher degree of variation, interactivity and openness. The word "transactive" already implies how this type of banner works. Not only can all relevant product information and sales services be offered, but there is also the possibility of interacting with other servers, whereby the content of the banner can be made dependent on other sites and thus adapted spontaneously. All of this works without the visitor having to leave the advertising medium's website. So here too the company goes to the customer and not the other way around. These multifunctional banners are based on Shockwave or Java, depending on the technical requirements of the advertising medium. For example, news, audio and video streams, auctions and much more are conceivable.

Streaming banner

This banner variant is characterized by the possibility of integrating audio and video streams. In principle, any streaming method can be used to transmit the data. However, the best creative and advertising options are currently available when using streams integrated in Flash banners, since no special preparations have to be made on the part of the advertising website. In any case, due to the multimedia content, this form of advertising leads to increased attention from visitors and thus to better advertising success. The possibilities that this banner variant opens up are also extremely diverse. B. extensive audio and video short films, news, previews, films, music, and others can be transmitted with it.

Pixel banners

This banner variant is characterized by the fact that the advertising space is not available for a single advertising medium, but for theoretically any number, as long as there is enough space. As a rule, areas (usually 1000 × 1000 pixels in total) are sold in block sizes (e.g. 10 × 10 pixels), mostly in GIF or JPEG format, at fixed prices. Small pictures with a descriptive text and a link can then be displayed in these areas.

Visitors to pixel banner pages usually differ from the usual “random” flow of visitors. In this case, the advertising pages are clicked on for different reasons (pure interest, curiosity, boredom) and are not forced on. The voluntary nature of viewing also automatically increases the flow of visitors that flow through this advertising medium to the advertised websites.

Standard sizes

Until the early 2000s , the 468 × 60 pixel format was considered the most widespread. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) defines the following standard sizes for the United States (specified in width × height in pixels ):

Rectangles and Pop-ups
size designation
300 x 250 Medium Rectangle (also Content Ad / Boombox)
250 × 250 Square pop-up
240 × 400 Vertical rectangle
336 × 280 Large rectangle
180 × 150 Rectangle
400 × 400 Superstitial / Flying Layer / AdLayer / Interstitial
Banners and buttons
size designation
468 × 60 Full banner
234 × 60 Half banner
  88 × 31 Micro bar
120 × 90 Button 1
120 × 60 Button 2
120 × 240 Vertical banners
125 × 125 Square button
728 × 90 Leaderboard / Superbanner / Supersize Banner
size designation
160 × 600 Wide skyscraper
120 × 600 Skyscraper
300 × 600 Half Page Ad

For the German-speaking area, the Online-Vermarkterkreis (OVK) in the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW) has defined the following parameters based on the Universal AdPackage, which are currently the standard:

Comparison of sizes
designation pixel Weight Possible formats Aspect ratio
Super banner 728 × 90 40K GIF / JPG / Flash 8.1
Wide skyscraper 160 × 600 40K GIF / JPG / Flash 1: 3.75
Rectangle 180 × 150 40K GIF / JPG / Flash 1.2
Medium rectangle 300 x 250 40K GIF / JPG / Flash 1.2
Wide skyscraper alternative 200 × 600 40K GIF / JPG / Flash 1: 3
Standard skyscraper 120 × 600 40K GIF / JPG / Flash 1: 5
Universal Flash Layer 400 × 400 40K Flash 1
Expandable skyscraper 420 (160) × 600 40K GIF / JPG / Flash 1: 1.4 (1: 3.75)
Full banner 468 × 60 40K GIF / JPG / Flash 7.8
Expandable super banner 728 × 300 (90) 40K GIF / JPG / Flash 2.4 (8.1)
Flash Layer individually 40K Flash

The four formats "Super Banner", "Rectangle", "Medium Rectangle" and "Wide Skyscraper" are part of the "Universal Ad Package", a globally recognized standard that was developed by the American Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB US) . The advertising formats of the Universal Ad Package are not only internationally recognized, but are also demonstrably better in effect than traditional formats.

In addition, has especially in weblogs a microbutton called format of 80 x 15 pixels enforced, which also list as a text link is used -Ersatz, such as RSS - Icon .

Ad server

The technical infrastructure for the delivery of banners is subsumed under the term ad server . These systems are used by marketers and website operators as well as on the part of agencies and advertisers. Placeholders for advertising are integrated into the websites as links (so-called ad tags) and filled with advertising when a page is accessed by the user. This allows different banners and advertisers to rotate in the same place. The use of "ad servers" also enables delivery control and makes it easier to change motifs.

Market volume

The providers of banner advertising in the German market are in the Online-Vermarkter-Kreis (OVK) in the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW) e. V. regularly organizes and publishes the OVK online report with figures on the market volume in cooperation with Nielsen Media Research . According to this, in 2007 with classic online advertising (which is essentially congruent with banner advertising) gross sales of 1.479 billion euros were achieved in Germany. This means that around every second euro that is invested in online advertising in Germany is put into this form of advertising. On behalf of the industry association Bitkom, Thomson Media Control came up with the lower value of 976 million euros for 2007, which can be attributed to the different consideration of discounts.

Media planning

Analogous to the procedure in traditional media, the structure of the users of a website is compared with the target group of a campaign in the context of affinity-based media planning on the basis of sociodemographic data. The database required for this is provided for the German market by the Online Research Association (AGOF), which is mainly financed and supported by the providers. Alternatively, the use of banners can be limited to a defined group of visitors through targeting . The reference points for this are socio-demographic data, but also the observed usage behavior. Finally, in practice, the massive, rather untargeted distribution of banners based on pay-per-click or low-CPM models can also be observed.

With all planning methods, the expenses for the banner placement are usually set in relation to the sales determined via the "web controlling" in order to guarantee the profitability of the campaign. If branding is the focus of the campaign, the impact of the banner advertising on factors such as awareness, brand awareness or purchase intent can be measured using accompanying surveys.

Psychological effect

Although advertising banners are widespread and their efficiency in attracting new customers and increasing sales is constantly monitored and verified by practically all professional advertisers , their effect is repeatedly criticized. In 1998 a study showed that Internet users “suffer” from “banner blindness”, that is, they do not process their content at all. In 2001, another study demonstrated that banners render a website dubious in the eyes of its users. In 2004, a study showed that advertising banners greatly increase the “perceived workload” when browsing a website, although the content of the banner itself is not processed. These findings of research into the usability ( usability ) are often not implemented because banner ads for numerous web offers the greatest contributors to refinance.

According to a study by Adtech, the click rate on advertising banners was 0.33 percent in November 2004 and dropped to 0.18 percent by March 2007. However, this is a rough mean value that can be clearly exceeded in the case of large formats in affine environments, but can also be significantly undercut if small formats are used in a non-targeted manner.

Forms of banner advertising that consciously break with the surfers' usage habits are also aimed at their psychological effect . The "banner blindness" should be counteracted by more or less forced occupation with advertising. Examples of this are interchanged or ambiguously designed buttons in layer ads or banners, which open pop-ups by simply touching the mouse pointer . The associated annoyance is accepted in favor of increased attention .


There is also special software available to suppress banners and other forms of online advertising . Some browsers such as Opera , Konqueror and Mozilla Firefox have some of these already integrated, while others can be retrofitted. With the help of special filter rules, such programs try to differentiate advertising banners from images belonging to the website, which does not succeed in all cases.

However, the blocking of advertising is at the expense of the website operator. Renting out advertising space is the only compensation for expenses, especially for smaller offers.

Filtering options:

  • Blocking ("block"): Images identified as advertising images are not loaded and therefore not displayed.
  • Throw away ("load and discard"): Advertising graphics are loaded but not displayed.

Web links


  1. OVK : Development of selected advertising formats ( Memento of May 16, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) , as of the beginning of 2010. In it: “[…] in the whole year [2009], especially the banners, layers / floaters and pop-ups / pop-ups became rarer used as 2008. "
  2. Example: Archived copy ( Memento from August 11, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  3. Erwin Lammenett : Practical Knowledge of Online Marketing , Business Management Publishing House Dr. Th. Gabler | GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden 2006, ISBN 978-3-8349-0273-3 , page 135
  4. DoubleClick : Ad Serving Trend Report ( memento of October 10, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) of March 1, 2004. In it: “The standard banner (468 × 60) remains the most widely used format in Europe and accounts for 52.3 percent of all adverts Ads off. "
  5. ^ Ad Unit Guidelines. IAB, November 2009
  6. Standard forms of advertising ( Memento from March 6, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  7. JP Benway, DM Lane: Banner Blindness: Web Searchers Often Miss "Obvious" Links . Rice University, 1998.
  8. ^ BJ Fogg, J. Marshall, O. Laraki, A. Osipovich, C. Varma, N. Fang, J. Paul, A. Rangnekar, J. Shon, P. Swani, M. Treinen: What Makes Web Sites Credible? A Report on a Large Quantitative Study. ( Memento of May 23, 2006 on the Internet Archive ) Persuasive Technology Lab, Stanford University, 2001
  9. M. Burke, A. Hornof, E. Nilsen, N. Gorman: High-Cost Banner Blindness: Ads Increase Perceived Workload, Hinder Visual Search, and Are Forgotten. 2004 (PDF; 1.1 MB)
  10. Adtech Analysis Reveals Online Advertising Click-through Rates are Falling. Press release on May 10, 2007