1. Types of Banners
Banners can be displayed in different media types depending on the advertising network or the site you advertise on.

Standard Graphical Formats

GIF (Graphical Image Format): This is the standard format for displaying images with 256 colors or less on the Web.GIF 89A: This format allows the animation of GIF images.JPEG (Joint Pictures Expert Group): This format allows the display of images with up to 16 million colors, it is used for high-resolution graphics such as photos.

Other Formats
Image Map: different areas of the same graphic can be linked to a different page using image maps.Java: allows the advertiser to run the banner as a small software program or applet. Java banners are approved by the networks/sites on a case by case basis since they take up a large processing time on the client’s computer and may compromise the security of the server.JavaScript: is based on Java but is built into the web browser and allows the banner to perform different interactive applications such as changing the graphic when the mouse is pointed over the banner or by allowing the user to select from a drop down menu.

2. Advertising Banner Sizes
Banners come in many different shapes and sizes, the standards below from CASIE and the Internet Advertising Bureau have been adopted by most companies.Full Banner 468 X 60 Pixels

Full Banner with Vertical Navigation Bar 392 x 72 Pixels
Half Banner 234 x 60 Pixels
Vertical Banner 120 x 240 Pixels
Button 1 120 x 90 Pixels
Button 2 120 x 60 Pixels
Square Button 125 x 125 Pixels
Micro Button 88 x 31 Pixels

The 468×60 banner ad was overwhelmingly the most accepted banner size during 1998. However, the 125×125 and the 120×90 recorded the greatest percentage increase in use during the year.

Most sites and networks limit the file size of a banner to less than 12K.Length of Animation

Some networks and sites limit the length of the animation to 4 seconds maximum. A few limit looping which means the animation can be only played once.Alternative (ALT)Text

Alternative text is the text displayed on the page before the image is loaded. This text pops up when the mouse is put over the image in some of the later browsers. ALT text may be limited to 30 characters.

Tag Text
Tag Text is the text that is displayed under the banner. It is often limited to 30 characters.

3. The Message
One of the fundamental rules of marketing is to integrate all elements of the marketing mix in order to portray a consistent image of the company and its products. Therefore the message of the banner ad will be determined by overall the marketing strategy. The message conveyed should be consistent with each element of the marketing mix.The banner advertisement should grab attention and convey a basic message that effectively relates to the target market through a common motive. Consumers relate to what they can identify with. They should be able to identify with the message of the banner ad and should perceive that message to be of relevance, interest or value. The message should be focused on the objectives of the marketing strategy, not just on generating click throughs. It should qualify the target market before they click on the banner and therefore drive a highly targeted audience with a high purchase probability to the website.The message should contain an offer that is simple, stated clearly and obvious to the user. The consumer should understand how easy it is to take advantage of the offer. The offer should be in no way confusing or overly elaborate. Cryptic messages may generate a 18 percent higher click through rate but they don’t work because the consumers who click are not properly qualified and the banner has no impact on those who don’t click.The following techniques have been found to increase click through rates and the impact that the banner has on branding.Ask questionsA question in banner messages such as, Where do you want to go today? How many Internet users are on-line? Where can you find out everything you need to know about banner advertising? initiate interaction with the consumer thereby increasing the effectiveness of your banner.

User Interaction
Advertisements that allow the user to do something straight away are extremely effective. Examples include, Download a free evaluation now, Search for the web here, Find a gift for your loved one now!

Free offers and incentives
Free offers and incentives catch the eye of the consumer and increase click through rates.

Ads that give the consumer a chance to win something can generate phenomenal click through rates.

Sense of urgency
If the offer has a sense of urgency to it, (for example, Free access today only), consumers are more likely to click on the banner since they realize the opportunity cost of not clicking.|

Call to action
Messages containing phrases such as Click here, Enter Now, Sign up Today all have a positive impact on click through rates.

4.The Website
The page that the consumer is brought to after clicking on the banner should be consistent with the message, the offer and the needs and preferences of the targeted segment of the market.

5. The Design
There are 2 strategies for designing banners. The first is to make the banner jump off the screen and grab the consumer’s attention. The second is to integrate the banner with the design of the publishers so that the consumer thinks that they are clicking on a link within or associated with that site.Animation catches the users eye and generally grabs attention more effectively than still banners. Integrating features of the personal computer such as mouse pointers, status bars and buttons have a positive effect on click through rates. Bright colors such as yellow, blue and green grab attention more than whites, blacks and grays.