The decision on which Internet advertising means to choose is taken by all participants of the advertising market. Website publishers decide which forms they make available to advertisers. Agencies and customers decide which formats they use in the campaign they are planning.
Theoretically, the publishers are allowed everything and they can also introduce sizes of banners they invented. However, the market selected the most popular formats in a natural way a long time ago; these were then subjected to official recommendations of such organisations as IAB.
The basic form of an Internet ad being a graphical, optionally animated, rectangle.
- Banner, with a size of 468×60 px – the oldest of banner forms; a narrow, horizontal rectangle; earlier, it also had a size of 400×50 px. example
- Billboard, with a size of 750×100 or less often 728×90 (also called Leaderboard) px – a much larger horizontal rectangle whose length-to-width ratio is similar to that of the banner; it can be also found in Double (750×200 px) and Triple (750×300 px) version. example
- Rectangle, with a size of 300×250 or less often 250×250, 180×150 and 336×280 px – displayed in between text paragraphs (within an article). example
- Skyscraper, with a size of 120×600 and 160×600 px – a high, vertical rectangle in various widths. example
- Halfpage, with a size of 300×600 px – a high and wide vertical rectangle. example
- , with a size of 125×125 px – the form most often found in blogs. example
- Button, with a size of 120×60 and 120×90 px and Micro Bar, with a size of 88×31 px – small advert forms, used most often to exchange links. example
Rectangles which expand when you move the cursor over them.
- Expand Banner – expanding from 468×60 to 468×240 px
- Expand Billboard – expanding from 750×100 to 750×300 px
- Expand Skyscraper – expanding from 120×600 or 160×600 to 360×600 or 480×600 px. example
Horizontal formats, banners and billboards, can have a “scroll” version (Scroll Banner and Scroll Billboard). They stay in the same place on the screen even if you scroll the website you are viewing. example
Forms which cover the page
Top Layer and Brandmark are adverts which appear “over” the page you are viewing on a so called “top layer”.
They not always have a rectangular shape and they can have various sizes, although Brandmark’s size rarely exceeds 300×300 px. example
Also known as “poltergeist”, is a full-screen advert displayed when you change from one website to another. example
Pop-Up and Pop-Under are new browser windows which open “over” and “under” the window with the page you are viewing respectively. example
You usually spot a pop-under after a certain time from the moment it was displayed, i.e. after you have closed or minimised the main window.
These forms are perceived as unethical because they often display the target (advertised) website, although the user has not in fact decided to click on the advert.
A special type of advertising is an advertiser’s/sponsor’s logo placed on a website.
- Watermark – a logo displayed in the background of a page. example turn off
- Cursor ad – a small logo which appears next to the mouse cursor and moves with it on the screen. example
These forms are not clickable.
The static (JPG, GIF or sometimes PNG) and animated (Flash – SWF) banners were a few years ago joined by video forms, which display commercials on a streaming basis (simultaneous downloading and displaying).
This expression means going beyond the classic perception of Internet advertising means of conveying, such as banners, and using various Internet technologies in order to engage the viewer (emphasis on interactions and not on clicking). Rich Media advert may be a game, application interface or it may even change the layout of the whole page you are viewing by using its individual elements.
Apart from banner sizes, every publisher and advertising network also define certain technical limitations with regard to creation.
IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau), aside from recommending sizes, also suggests the following limits:
- banners not exceeding the size of 40KB
- video not exceeding the size of 1MB, not longer than 30 seconds, having no more than 18FPS (frames per second)
- sound heard only after the user’s interaction (e.g. after the user moves the cursor over the banner)
- “close X” option in the upper right-hand corner of each advert covering the website.
Text adverts may – apart from the form of an ordinary text link – take the form of text boxes having the sizes of different banners.
Depending on its size, a text box can contain from one to five links in the form of a title and a short description.
This is a basic form of advertising in search engines (SEM) and their partner networks.
The effect of a banner advert can be enhanced by two forms being displayed. For instance, by displaying a Top Layer and a Billboard which stays on the screen after the Top Layer is closed.
An interesting example of a form combination are graphic adverts (or graphic and text adverts) which appear after you have moved the cursor over an underlined piece of a text in the article you are reading, which is called InText, in a similar way the “bubbles” with hints appear in my blog.
When we consider CTR only, the most effective are the largest advertising forms (Interstitial, Billboard) and the most disturbing ones (Top Layer, Rectangle).
The effectiveness of banners is significantly increased by the use of Rich Media/video.