Display advertising best practices 2017
3 min read

Display advertising best practices 2017

We’ve updated our article on display advertising best practices. Read the ultimate guide instead!

Display advertising best practices have developed a lot. Evolving from mere static images to one of the biggest branches of online marketing. It now incorporates a whole spectrum of technology from video to rich media ads and more.

When producing display advertising it is common to cooperate with a variety of external services. This to make sure when creating and publishing display ads there are no issues. When working with external factors, it is necessary to put in place display advertising best practices. Also, many advertising networks have implemented their own best practices and guidelines. Ad creatives when using a chosen network must follow these rules.

But what are the latest display advertising best practices? And how can you achieve approval by ad networks, be attractive to your audience and increase your click-through rate?

General Best Practices

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), companies, and ad networks have developed a range of display ad best practices. Some of the below are guidelines but ad networks and other publishing platforms follow them. Thus, before building a display advertising campaign, check the exact requirements needed. The networks and publishers you use will always need you to follow their exact requirements. This will make sure that approval for your campaigns is quick and without hassle.

Border requirements

In its display ad guidelines, IAB states that display ads should be “distinguishable from normal webpage content”. It also stresses that the “ad unit must have clear defined borders and not confused with normal web content”. This best practice is often implemented by ad networks too. It is important to follow this rule for swift ad approval.

The easiest way to fulfill best practice is to make sure your display ad has a border. Plus make sure the creative does not blend into the background. Both you can add to your creative whilst building the design.

Avoid computer simulations

This goes without says, but you should definitely not include fake computer simulations that might confuse users. This includes fake sounds to making your banner feel like a computer notification. This is important as it not only stops malicious advertisers, but it protects your brand’s reputation. Brand safety is after all crucial. Creating display ads that mimic computer actions is unprofessional and dishonest. And such “scareware” is often associated with rogue advertisers. Avoid at all costs.

Genuine interactivity

Interactive display ads are now used more and more by online advertisers. But if you want to include such advanced features in your display ad, make sure the interactivity is genuine. Don’t make your display ad look interactive in a bid to increase your click-through rate.

Animation length

Some networks have a max loop length for animated banner ads. Always check the networks and publishers you are using to make sure your ad complies with their regulations. The IAB recommends that animation length should be no longer than 15 seconds.

Fallback images

A lot of networks require you have fallback images. These are static or .gif versions of the display advertisements you are using. The reason for this is in case your display ad finds itself on certain (usually older) screens. Creating fallback images is an automatic feature in Bannerflow. It is one less thing to think about when creating awesome display ads.

Best Practices to Increase CTR and Conversions

Only once you understand and have applied the requirements set by your advertising network, or similar can you move on. This means starting to include some general best practices to help you run better display advertising campaigns.

Relevant advertising

Marketers and advertisers are able to customise all parts of their buyer’s journey to make it relevant to them. This is possible with display advertising.

You may want to consider keeping a small part of your display advertising budget for general networks. Also consider using the majority of your budget for networks or exchanges that allow you to target your ideal customers. Studies have shown that relevant advertising is far more effective than general advertising. For example, users are more likely to click on your ads if they think they are useful. What’s the point in advertising to people who are never ever going to buy your product anyway?


Retargeting campaigns are effective and proven types of advertising campaigns. But what is retargeting? It means directly targeting display ads to those customers who have already been to your website but have not converted. Retargeted display ads often have a higher click-through rate too. This because they are targeting those who have already expressed an interest in your brand.

Dynamic content and feeded ads

Take personalisation and relevancy to the next level with dynamic content display ads. Dynamic content ads use web feeds to supply updating data into your display ads. This can be at a fast and regular pace – particularly good for sports odds. By using this technique, you can always make sure that your display ads are relevant and up-to-date. If you have a product inventory, sell holidays, or currency exchange you should be using dynamic content. It will increase both your relevance and your click-through rate.

Copy and call to action

There are a number of best practices that industry experts recommend. Particularly on display advertising design, how to use copy, and call-to-actions. The copy of your display ad should be short and catchy. It should offers something to viewers that will make them want to click-through.

The call-to-action should always be strong and eye-catching. The best way to achieve this is by using a button. You must also make sure it will be eye-catching and encourage more viewers to click-through.

Final Thoughts

We can summarise the above discussion into several key points:

Want to know more about you can improve your display ad campaigns?  Read some more of our blog posts, get in touch, or  request a demo of the Bannerflow platform

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