Standard Web Banner Sizes: When to Use Each

Standard Web Banner Sizes: When to Use Each
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A Look at the Options

Designers making banner ads have to think both about the type of commercial message and the size of the banner. This task has been made easier through the creation of standard web banner sizes – the values that everyone has accepted as universal. Still, which standard banner size is best for the needs of your campaign?

Many people believe that the largest size is always the best and most noticeable. This claim is often true but it all depends on the type of the ad and the response that is expected from the website audience.

When to use each standard web banner size? You will have to think about the type of ad, the creative strategy you are going to use and the placement of the banner itself. All these factors are just as important as the size of the banner.

Standard banners come in various sizes. These are horizontal, vertical and square-shaped. Some of the standard banners are designed for positioning at specific website places, while others can be located nearly anywhere.

The leaderboard is the large banner that is traditionally positioned in the header. Its size is 728x90 pixels and it is most suitable for highly visual ads.

A full banner is sized 460x60 pixels and it can be positioned nearly anywhere inside or beneath content. Half banners, as the name suggests, have half the size of a full banner.

Skyscrapers and Wide skyscrapers are vertical banners that usually appear in the side column of a website. They are traditionally sized 120x600 pixels and 160x600 pixels respectively. Other banners that traditionally appear in the side column include the rectangle (180x150) and the medium rectangle (300x250 pixels).

Is Larger Always Better?

It is logical to believe that the larger a banner is, the more noticeable it will be. Standard web banner sizes, however, have all been created to correspond to the behavior and preferences of website visitors. On occasions, small and highly contextual banners can be very effective in terms of the click through rate (CTR).

Large banners are very effective when they contain visual messages. The leaderboard is one of the most noticeable ads. If the visual is cleverly chosen and addressing the interests of website visitors, it will get large number of clicks.

The medium rectangle is also very popular. It is visible enough, yet not as obtrusive as the leaderboard. In addition, this banner is traditionally positioned next to the content, which makes it more noticeable and engaging.

Does the Type of Ad Matter?

Apart from the size of the banner, the type of marketing message plays a role, as well.

When choosing banner size, the advertiser needs to decide on several issues. Where is the ad going to appear? How contextual is it? Is the banner visual or focusing on text?

Visual ads should have a larger size. A smaller visual, even if the concept is brilliant, will remain difficult to notice and appreciate.

Links and text banners, on the other hand, need less space and right placement to be effective. These go well in full banners and rectangles. When it comes to a text banner, it has to be placed on the relevant website. If the message is irrelevant to the audience, it will remain unnoticed.

How Important is Banner Placement?

Standard web banner sizes are designed for specific spots on the website. Apart from the size, the place where the ad appears will play a role, as well.

The leaderboard appears traditionally in the header. This is one of the most clickable banners, since it tends to be the first thing that website visitors see. Leaderboards appearing on category pages are more effective than the ones on the homepage because many visitors that get to the website through a search will omit visiting the homepage.

Rectangles and medium rectangles have to be placed inside the text or close to it, in order to gain attention. These banners feature among the most popular sizes, as well.

According to many website owners and professionals, the 468x60 pixels banner is the least effective one. It usually appears above or below the text. The size is neither large, nor small, which makes this size mediocre and easy to ignore.

The selection of standard web banner sizes is a complex issue that deserves thought and careful planning. When choosing banner size, think about the place on the website where the ad will be appearing, the type of visual and the audience you want to entice. All these factors will affect the effectiveness of your online marketing campaign.


Image Source:, Author: Salvatore Vuono

Author’s own experience