Banner advertising is one of the most prominent ways to promote your brand on the internet, generate leads and grow your business. In fact, according to a report by Statista, the banner ad market volume is expected to reach $71.5 billion by 2024. Companies are significantly increasing their ad spend every year in order to reach a wider audience and convert more prospects. 

While HTML5 based banners enjoy the most popularity in the digital advertising space, it is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution for all brands and use cases. Sure, there are plenty of benefits unique to HTML5 banner ads but other ad types are worth looking into as well.

 To help you in your evaluation process, here is a brief introduction to HTML5 banner alternatives.

What are the different types of banner ads?

(Source: https://www.psd2html.com)

For online advertising campaigns, there are four ad types that are most commonly used. They are:

  1. HTML5 banners: HTML5 ads are the most complex and advanced type of banner ads, largely dominating the digital advertising space. 
  1. Static banners: Static banners are concise, non-moving ads with a message and/or image displayed prominently across it with a call to action.
  1. Animated GIFs: Animated GIF’s are a set of pictures in the .gif format where a series of frames are played in a sequence, simulating the sense of movement.
  1. Flash banners: Flash banners are a (nowobsolete) form of ads that incorporate Flash technology to create animations. 

Which of these ads would be most effective for your particular business? In order to determine that, there are many factors to consider. This includes your budget, use case, advertising goal and more. In order to understand what makes an effective banner, let us consider some important characteristics of banner ads.

Key Characteristics of Effective Banner Ads

Visuals: Needless to say, this is the most important aspect of your banner ad. Ensuring that the visuals are not pixelated and have crisp illustration is crucial to gain your audience’s interest.

Color Palette: Selecting the right colour scheme to ensure that your ads are brand compliant while also being colour-coordinated is very important. This ensures brand recognition and more importantly, effective conversion

Dimensions: Banner ads must have the right dimensions for showcasing your products or delivering the intended communication. Having a misaligned or cropped out image will instantly put off any target audience.

Text: While visuals might capture the attention of your audience, the messaging needs to be perfect as well. Too much complexity is the worst enemy of advertising, and to ensure that your audience is able to synthesize your message fast you need to ensure that text elements are clear and concise.

Keeping these elements in mind, different ad types have unique advantages that we will go over. 

Unique benefits of alternatives to HTML5 Ads 

Static Banners

Static banners are notably different from HTML5 ads for a variety of reasons. Whether these advantages are relevant depend on each businesses unique needs but here are the key differences:

  • Static banners are clear and concise since they consist of static visuals. In fact, static banner ads have a higher click through rate overall when compared to animated banners. This is due to the fact that static banners have a CTA that is visible from the very beginning rather than an animated sequence. Therefore, in order to have a straightforward and effective ad, static banners are a desirable choice.
  • Static banners are notably cheaper to implement. For small or medium sized businesses, this should be a no-brainer since the overall effectiveness of static banners are on par with all other ad variants while being significantly cheaper. They also require less technical expertise than developing Flash or HTML5 banners.
  • Static banners are considered to be less “engaging” than animated banners, but this characteristic could be a pro or a con depending on a brands use case. If you want your ads to be more “glamorous” an animated sequence might be preferable, but if you want to deliver clear communication it might not.
  • Static banner ads require less processing power compared to their animated counterparts since they consist of less elements. 

Animated GIFs

If you are looking for animated banner ads, GIFs are a worthwhile alternative to HTML5 ads.

  • The GIF format is widely supported by web publishers, and also works incredibly well on mobile devices. This enables you to deliver your communication without worrying about compatibility issues.
  • GIF’s have a high degree of customization and control options. With fine-grained control over how long your ad will play you can maximize its effectiveness for your target audience.
  • Animated GIF’s are visually appealing and more “engaging” than static ads, which may contribute to higher click through rates depending on your use case. Although animated GIF’s have a relatively limited number of colours (256) if you do not require such detail in your banner ad this should not be a problem. On the other hand, if you do, this might be a factor to consider. 
  • GIF banners require more processing power than some other ad variants. This is because of the rendering process for animations. As a result, the time for displaying a full animation sequence in a GIF ad might be a bit slower compared to HTML5 ads. 

Flash Ads

Flash banners are probably the least effective of all ad variants in a range of parameters. Flash is an outdated format which one reigned as the best choice for online advertising but it is now largely dead. 

  • Flash ads were the first iteration of digital ads that made video streaming over the internet possible. 
  • Big tech platforms such as Google and Apple do not support Flash ads as they have shifted towards encouraging HTML5 ads. This is because of security concerns with Flash ads. 
  • Flash is a proprietary technology format. This means that flash ads will not run or be visible in outdated browsers or ones without up-to-date plugins. 
  • Flash files are difficult to modify once created compared to other ad formats.
  • Flash ads require a large amount of CPU power so they usually are not mobile friendly. 

Summing it up

Contrary to popular belief, HTML5 banners are not a universal solution for online advertising. While it can be safely concluded that HTML5 ads are a clear cut favourite over Flash ads (which are largely dead but still exist on the internet for some reason) there is a solid case to be made for static ads and animated GIF’s ad alternatives since they have their own unique benefits. Ultimately, it is up to you and your team to analyse which alternative is most effective for your business rather than opting for a generic online advertising approach. 

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