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Web banner

A graphic image used on Web sites to advertise a product or service. Banner ads, or simply "banners," are rectangles typically 468 pixels wide by 60 pixels high. They also come in other common sizes, including 460x60, 460x55 and 392x72. A much larger horizontal ad image called the "leaderboard" is 728x90, while "skyscraper ads" are narrow and vertically oriented, typically 120x600 and 160x600. See trick banner, dynamic rotation, interstitial ad, Shoshkele, SUPERSTITIAL, meta ad and impression.

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Internet advertising that invites the viewer to click through to the advertiser's web site by clicking on the banner. Banner ads may contain animation and sound. In addition to accessing another web site, banner ads may also collect information from consumers, make sales, or offer activities such as games. Banner ads are usually placed in a thin, rectangular box (468 _ 60 millimeters is standard) at the top or side of the host site home page. Response to banner ads is generally measured by click-through rates. Currently banner ads are the Internet equivalent of a direct-mail envelope, enticing the reader to seek more information about the contents of the envelope or web site. Click-through on banner ads is declining and is now estimated at less than 1%. Many advertisers are considering ways to make banner ads operate more like a television commercial, offering a complete message without a click-through. In 1998, the average cost of a banner ad was $36 per thousand impressions but it can range from $10 for a search engine site to over $200 for a computer supply site. Results have shown banner ads to be better suited to direct selling than brand building.

Rectangular advertisement displayed on a Web page, often appearing at the top. Normally it contains a hyperlink to the advertiser’s Web site.

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Any of the annoying graphical advertisements that span the tops of way too many Web pages.


A web banner or banner ad is a form of advertising on the World Wide Web delivered by an ad server. This form of online advertising entails embedding an advertisement into a web page. It is intended to attract traffic to a website by linking to the website of the advertiser. The advertisement known as a "click through." In many cases, banners are delivered by a central ad server.

When the advertiser scans their logfiles and detects that a web user has visited the advertiser's site from the content site by clicking on the banner ad, the advertiser sends the content provider some small amount of money (usually around five to ten US cents).[citation needed] This payback system is often how the content provider is able to pay for the Internet access to supply the content in the first place. Usually though, advertisers use ad networks to serve their advertisements, resulting in a revshare system and higher quality ad placement.

Web banners function the same way as traditional advertisements are intended to function: notifying consumers of the product or service and presenting reasons why the consumer should choose the product in question, a fact first documented on HotWired in 1996 by researchers Rex Briggs and Nigel Hollis.[1] Web banners differ in that the results for advertisement campaigns may be monitored real-time and may be targeted to the viewer's interests. Behavior is often tracked through the use of a click tag.

Many web surfers regard these advertisements as highly annoying because they distract from a web page's actual content or waste bandwidth. Newer web browsers often include options to disable pop-ups or block images from selected websites. Another way of avoiding banners is to use a proxy server that blocks them, such as Privoxy. Web browsers may also have extensions available that block banners, for example Adblock Plus for Mozilla Firefox, or AdThwart for Google Chrome and ie7pro for Internet Explorer.



The pioneer of online advertising was Prodigy, a company owned by IBM and Sears at the time. Prodigy used online advertising first to promote Sears products in the 1980s, and then other advertisers, including AOL, one of Prodigy's direct competitors. Prodigy was unable to capitalize on any of its first mover advantage in online advertising.

The first clickable web ad (which later came to be known by the term "banner ad") was sold by Global Network Navigator (GNN) in 1993 to Heller, Ehrman, White and McAuliffe, a now defunct law firm with a Silicon Valley office.[2] [3] GNN was the first commercially supported web publication and one of the very first commercial web sites ever.[4]

HotWired was the first web site to sell banner ads in large quantities to a wide range of major corporate advertisers. Andrew Anker was HotWired's first CEO. Rick Boyce, a former media buyer with San Francisco advertising agency Hal Riney & Partners, spearheaded the sales effort for the company.[5] HotWired coined the term "banner ad" and was the first company to provide click through rate reports to its customers. The first web banner sold by HotWired was paid for by AT&T Corp. and was put online on October 27, 1994.[6] Another source also credits Hotwired and October 1994, but has Coors' "Zima" campaign as the first web banner.[7]

In May 1994, Ken McCarthy mentored Boyce in his transition from traditional to online advertising and first introduced the concept of a clickable/trackable ad. He stated that he believed that only a direct response model—in which the return on investment of individual ads was measured—would prove sustainable over the long run for online advertising. In spite of this prediction, banner ads were valued and sold based on the number of impressions they generated.

The first central ad server was released in July 1995 by Focalink Communications,[8] which enabled the management, targeting, and tracking of online ads. A local ad server quickly followed from NetGravity in January 1996.[citation needed] The technology innovation of the ad server, together with the sale of online ads on an impression basis, fueled a dramatic rise in the proliferation of web advertising and provided the economic foundation for the web industry from the period of 1994 to 2000.

The new online advertising model that emerged in the early years of the 21st century, introduced by GoTo.com (later Overture, then Yahoo! and mass marketed by Google's AdWords program), relies heavily on tracking ad response rather than impressions.

Standard sizes

Ad sizes have been standardized to some extent by the IAB; they are:[9]

IAB standard ad sizes. Note: This illustration is reduced in size. See actual sizes.
Sizes in bold are part of the IAB's Universal Ad Package.
Name Width / px Height / px Aspect ratio
Rectangles and Pop-Ups
Medium Rectangle 300 250 1.2
Square Pop-Up 250 250 1
Vertical Rectangle 240 400 1.67
Large Rectangle 336 280 1.2
Rectangle 180 150 1.2
3:1 Rectangle 300 100 3
Pop-Under 720 300 2.4
Banners and Buttons
Full banner 468 60 7.8
Half banner 234 60 3.9
Micro bar 88 31 2.84
Button 1 120 90 1.33
Button 2 120 60 2
Vertical banner 120 240 2
Square button 125 125 1
Leaderboard 728 90 8.09
Wide skyscraper 160 600 3.75
Skyscraper 120 600 5
Half page ad 300 600 2


  1. ^ Briggs, Rex; Hollis, Nigel, Advertising on the Web: Is there Response Before Clickthrough? Journal of Advertising Research, March-April 1997, pg 33-45
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ http://articles.sfgate.com/2008-09-26/business/17158078_1_san-francisco-s-heller-ehrman-legal-industry-same-sex-marriages http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heller_Ehrman
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Reid, Robert H. (1997). Architects of the Web: 1,000 Days that Built the Future of Business. John Wiley & Sons. Chapter Seven: 'Hotwired - Publishing on the Web' (pp 300-308) ISBN 0-471-17187-5
  6. ^ http://adage.com/digitalnext/post?article_id=139964 Happy Birthday, Digital Advertising!
  7. ^ Chapman, Merrill R., In search of stupidity: over 20 years of high-tech marketing disasters (2nd Edition) , Apress, ISBN 1-59059-721-4
  8. ^ Hyperlink Advertising Explodes on the World Wide Web, company press release
  9. ^ "Ad Unit Guidelines". Interactive Advertising Bureau. http://www.iab.net/standards/adunits.asp.

See also

Best of Web:

Web banner

Some good "Web banner" pages on the web:

Web Marketing

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