The Ultimate Guide to Banner Ad Sizes in 2023: Best Practices and Examples

Are you looking to drive more traffic, brand awareness, and conversions with display advertising this year? One of the keys to success is understanding how to use the right banner ad sizes for your campaigns.

With dozens of different sizes to choose from, it can be overwhelming to determine which ones will deliver the best results for your specific goals and audience.

In this in-depth guide, we‘ll break down everything you need to know about the most effective banner ad sizes in 2023, including:

  • The top-performing banner ad sizes across industries
  • Best practices for designing ads in each size
  • Real-world examples of successful banner ad campaigns
  • Advanced tips for testing and optimizing ad sizes
  • Answers to common questions about banner ad sizes

By the end of this article, you‘ll have a clear action plan for leveraging the right banner ad sizes to supercharge your display advertising this year. Let‘s get started!

Before we dive into specific size recommendations, let‘s quickly cover the basics of banner ads. Also known as display ads or web banners, banner ads are image-based advertisements that are embedded within web pages to drive brand awareness, website traffic, and conversions.

Banner ads come in a variety of sizes, or more specifically, pixel dimensions. They can be static (a single, non-moving image), animated (like a GIF), or even interactive (with elements like forms, games, or expandable sections).

Unlike text-based ads, banner ads leverage eye-catching graphics, photos, and layouts to capture the user‘s attention and communicate a marketing message at a glance. When clicked, they direct users to a landing page where they can take a desired action like making a purchase or filling out a lead form.

Some common places you‘ll find banner ads include:

  • At the top of a web page (leaderboard)
  • In the sidebar of an article
  • Within content blocks
  • On mobile apps
  • In emails

Banner ads are often bought and sold programmatically through real-time bidding on ad networks like the Google Display Network or through direct deals with publishers. Pricing is typically based on a cost per click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM) model.

Most Effective Banner Ad Sizes

While there are many banner ad sizes to choose from, some have been shown to consistently outperform the rest. Here are the top banner ad sizes you should consider for your campaigns in 2023, backed by hard data.

1. Medium Rectangle (300×250)

Medium rectangle banner ad example

The medium rectangle is one of the most common and versatile ad sizes, accounting for 40% of all ad impressions according to Google. Its 1.2 aspect ratio offers a balanced space for imagery and copy, making it ideal for both branding and direct response campaigns.

Some key stats on medium rectangle ads:

  • Avg. CTR: 0.33%
  • Avg. CPC: $0.58
  • Viewability: 47%

Best practices:

  • Keep text concise – 1 short headline, a few bullet points max
  • Use a contrasting color for your CTA button
  • Balance visuals and copy evenly

2. Large Rectangle (336×280)

The large rectangle offers 15% more ad space than its 300×250 counterpart. It‘s a top performer for industries like auto, B2B, and consumer goods.

  • Avg. CTR: 0.21%
  • Avg. CPC: $1.02
  • Viewability: 41%

Best practices:

  • Showcase larger product images or ad creative
  • Include 2-3 short copy blocks to convey key benefits
  • Use button color psychology to your advantage

3. Leaderboard (728×90)

Leaderboard banner ad example

The classic horizontal leaderboard ad is a mainstay on desktop screens. Its prominent above-the-fold placement makes it effective for announcements and time-sensitive offers.

  • Avg. CTR: 0.06%
  • Avg. CPC: $2.09
  • Viewability: 52%

Best practices:

  • Communicate one clear message – keep it short and punchy
  • Make your value prop and CTA impossible to miss
  • Use eye-catching visuals that complement but don‘t overwhelm text

4. Wide Skyscraper (160×600)

This tall, thin banner size is ideal for content-rich campaigns with multiple products or stories to showcase. Its length makes it perfect for interactive formats.

  • Avg. CTR: 0.11%
  • Avg. CPC: $1.73
  • Viewability: 32%

Best practices:

  • Organize content into clear, scannable sections
  • Use directional cues like arrows to guide users through your ad
  • Animate key elements to capture attention and drive engagement

5. Large Mobile Banner (320×100)

Mobile banner ad example

With mobile web traffic continuing to climb, having ads optimized for small screens is a must. The large mobile banner offers a generous tap target without disrupting the user experience.

  • Avg. CTR: 0.42%
  • Avg. CPC: $0.39
  • Viewability: 50%

Best practices:

  • Prioritize speed and simplicity – use lightweight files to minimize load times
  • Focus on a single compelling image rather than lots of text
  • Make buttons and CTAs large enough to be tapped easily

How Different Banner Ad Sizes Perform by Industry

It‘s important to note that the best banner ad sizes can vary based on your specific industry and niche. What works for an ecommerce brand may not be ideal for a B2B software company, for instance.

Here‘s a quick breakdown of how different banner ad sizes tend to perform across industries according to Google benchmarks:

Industry Top Performing Size Avg. CTR
Automotive 336×280 0.12%
B2B 300×250 0.14%
Classifieds 728×90 0.05%
Consumer Goods 250×250 0.16%
Dating 300×250 0.06%
Education 300×600 0.05%
Finance 728×90 0.03%
Technology 300×250 0.10%
Travel 160×600 0.08%

Of course, these are just general guidelines. The only way to know what truly works best for your particular brand is to test various sizes against your core KPIs.

How to Test and Optimize Banner Ad Sizes

On that note, let‘s talk about how to actually go about testing different banner ad sizes to find your winners. Here‘s a simple step-by-step process:

  1. Define your core campaign KPI (CTR, CPC, conversions, etc.)
  2. Develop 2-3 ad concepts using your brand style guide
  3. Have your designer adapt each concept into the top 5 banner ad sizes
  4. Upload your ads into your ad network or DSP of choice
  5. Apply the same targeting criteria, bids, and budgets to each size variation
  6. Run your ads for at least 2-4 weeks or until achieving statistical significance
  7. Evaluate the performance data and identify the top sizes for your KPI
  8. Allocate more budget to the winning sizes and consider retiring the low performers
  9. Repeat the process every few months to account for seasonal trends and audience behavior shifts

Some tips to keep in mind as you test:

  • Always be sure to maintain consistency in your ad designs as you resize them. You want to test the impact of size, not creative.
  • Consider running tests across different audience segments, as some sizes may resonate better with certain demographics than others.
  • Don‘t forget to QA your ads before launching to ensure they look good on all screen sizes and load quickly.
  • Monitor comments and social media feedback to see if certain ad sizes are driving positive or negative sentiment.

Still have burning questions about choosing the right banner ad sizes? We‘ve got you covered with answers to these common queries.

What‘s the best banner ad size for my industry?

As noted above, top ad sizes vary by industry benchmarks. However, 300×250, 728×90, and 320×100 are generally solid bets. When in doubt, start with the IAB‘s list of 6 recommended sizes.

Are bigger banner ad sizes always better?

Not necessarily. While larger sizes like 300×600 do give you more room for creativity, they can also be more expensive and disruptive if not well designed. Plus, many top-performing sizes like 300×250 are popular because they fit seamlessly into most web layouts.

Do certain banner ad sizes have higher viewability?

Yes, size can impact how viewable your ads are. The IAB defines a viewable impression as 50% of pixels in view for at least 1 second. In general, shorter and wider sizes tend to be more viewable than tall, skinny ones. Above the fold placements also increase viewability.

Which banner ad sizes work best for mobile?

Mobile leaderboards (320×50) and large mobile banners (320×100, 300×250) are top performers on mobile. You‘ll also see mobile-specific sizes like 320×480 interstitials. Check out the IAB‘s mobile ad guidelines for more specs.

How can I optimize my banner ad designs for each size?

Always consider the user experience and platform when designing for different sizes. For smaller sizes, focus on concise copy and avoid making fonts too small. For large formats, take advantage by including more detailed product info or interactive elements. Be sure to preview your designs in each size before deploying.

Key Takeaways

We covered a lot of ground in this guide to banner ad sizes, so let‘s recap the key points:

  • Banner ads come in many sizes, but some consistently outperform others
  • The top banner ad sizes for 2023 are 300×250, 336×280, 728×90, 160×600, and 320×100
  • Different sizes tend to work better for different industries and campaign goals
  • Testing is key to understanding which sizes resonate with your particular audience
  • Larger sizes aren‘t always better – it‘s all about seamless user experience and clear messaging
  • Viewability, interactivity, and speed are important factors beyond just size

By putting these insights into practice and following creative best practices for each size, you‘ll be well on your way to driving more revenue from your display campaigns this year.

The landscape of digital advertising is always evolving, but by staying on top of trends and continuously testing, you can future-proof your banner ad strategy no matter what sizes are trending.

Get Started with the Right Banner Ad Sizes Today

Now that you‘re armed with the data and best practices, it‘s time to put your knowledge to the test. Audit your existing banner ad campaigns and identify opportunities to test new sizes or refresh designs.

If you‘re looking for more hands-on guidance, check out our free banner ad template kit with size-optimized PSD files ready for your copy and creative.

You can also book a free strategy session with one of our display advertising experts to get personalized recommendations for your brand.

No matter what approach you take, just remember to always keep your audience at the center and test, test, test. Here‘s to your banner ad success in 2023!