Standard Banner Ad Sizes and Nonstandard Considerations

Suggested dimensions and file sizes for "industry standard" banner ads

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) specifies standard size advertising banner sizes. The size of your banner ad is important because the sites you want to advertise on may only accept certain size ads and typically charge more for larger ads.  Webmasters often set file size limitations on specific banner ads too as any image, especially multi-frame animated images add to the overall file size of the web page and thus increase the download time.

The IAB refers to banner ads as Interactive Marketing Units (IMU) Ad Formats and regularly approves new sizes and types (rectangle, pop ups, sky scrapers, etc.)  Here are a few of the traditional sizes:

Table of Standard Banner Sizes with suggested maximum file sizes

Banner size in pixels File Size (KB) Template Name
468 long x 60 high 20 KB Full banner
392 long x 72 high 20 KB Full banner w/navigation bar
234 long x 60 high 15 KB Half Banner
120 long x 240 high 20 KB Vertical Banner
120 long x 90 high 10 KB Button 1
120 long x 60 high 10 KB Button 2
125 long x 125 high 15 KB Square button
88 long x 31 high 5 KB Micro button


Non-standard Banner Ad Sizes Cost Small Business Owners More Money with the Need to Resize Them for Different Sites

Using a "standard size" banner ad has the advantage that your ad will probably be correctly sized if you want to place it on other websites. The problem is, that many web site owners aren't even aware that there are guidelines that exist for banner sizes, so they pretty much just use whatever size happens to fit nicely into the design layout of their site. This means that you end up paying to have a banner ad designed to non-standard dimensions for this one web site and that you may have to pay your designer to resize the ad for other web sites that you want to advertise on.

Animated Banner Ads Don't Resize Easily = Additional Redesign Fees

In general, resizing an image to make it larger doesn't work well due to loss of clarity. So resizing a smaller static (non-animated) banner ad to a "slightly" larger size might work ok, but definitely not to a much larger size. Resizing to a smaller size ad however, will work fine.

Animated banner ads however, consist of multiple "frames" as can be seen on the ads on this page. This requires additional work to resize them because each frame must be resized individually and the animation (switching between frames) must be recreated. While this isn't really rocket science to do for most designers, it does require more time and effort, which usually means more money for the small business owner.

Note: This article was previously published here

Animated Banner Ad

Animated Banner Ad

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David Andrews has been helping small business owners get established online since 1997. He has experience as a measurement standards engineer, a technical writer, a web designer/developer and speaks several languages.