Banner-Ads: What types do I have to choose from?

In the time it has taken you to find this article, it’s nearly a guarantee that you’ve encountered a banner ad. These rectangular graphic advertisements serve the same purpose as an advert in a traditional magazine or newspaper- getting you, the consumer, to come to the store. Except, in the virtual world, the store has become the web site linked to the banner ad. So, you must be wondering, in terms of your own website, what are the banner ad choices?

Types of Banner Ads
As there is more than one way to set up your webpage, there is more than one type of banner advertisement. Though they are traditionally rectangular, they come in a variety of shapes as well. There are 8 unique sizes specified by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). These sizes are told in terms of pixels, the smallest unit of color used to make up computer or television screen images. The IAB’s standard banner sizes are:

Standard banner sizes

The most popular size is the full banner (468 x 60), but variations of the standard sizes are prevalent all over the Internet. There is no stated “cap” on file size; however, most websites choose to limit memory size to around 12K to 16K. The use of banner advertisements will add to the total file size of the page, adding to the page’s load time. Thus, a smaller banner ad, one that takes up less memory, is best for fast page loads.

Do banner ads need a static or animated graphic?
This is generally a question of artistic choice and file size constraints. The actual graphic content, or creative, will fluctuate as you begin to study the ads already out there. There are three basic types: 1) static GIF or JPEG image, 2) GIF- animated, and 3) rich media ads.

The ad featuring a static GIF or JPEG is the simplest form. This unchanging image is linked to the advertiser’s home page. The GIF-animated banner ad is more common. This choice can appear as a slideshow of images that sometimes takes on the effect of animation. The third type, rich media, uses audio, video, or Java and Shockwave programming. The file size on these more sophisticated advertisements is larger, and often they are more interactive than a simple link between the ad and a website.