The Rise of the Website Banner

Published on January 12th, 2015


Webtron Online Solutions’ rotating banner – a great example of the power of modern advertising.

History of the website banner

We all know something of the humble website banner – it’s been around since the dawn of the internet era. This simple graphic that came in all shapes and sizes was once the bare bones of internet advertisement. Banners are still widely used today. With their vivid imagery, bold and purposeful text, and oftentimes brilliant colours found on most website pages, banners have been dubbed ‘the pioneer of website advertisements.’ 

A company called ‘Prodigy’ introduced the first ever banner ad campaign to the internet. IBM and Sears were Prodigy’s owners 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. However, Prodigy was unable to capitalise 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, & McAuliffe, a now defunct law firm with a Silicon Valley office. GNN was the first commercially supported web publication, and one of the very first commercial web sites ever.

From then on, smaller businesses began to emerge with the intention of marketing their businesses using the “new-world superpower” that was the internet. 

The importance of website banners

So what’s important about banners today?

In the past, marketers placed banner advertisements across the website page in strategic locations. Users sometimes thought that these images were annoying. As a result, many web browsers and independent applications sought to have them blocked. If not, the option was at least available to do so. With the rise of Responsive Web Design, however, banners have evolved with it.


Banner ads as measured by pixels. Source

Common uses for website banners

These days, however, you will often find banners at the very top of a website. Marketers use banners for a variety of purposes. Whether it be advertising a product, a website, or an affiliate, banners have many purposes, and are often presented in the form of a “slider.” Sliders are a group of images that are defined by the smooth sliding transition effect, and can be used as either a banner or for small groups of images. Many websites use a sliding banner at the front of their websites in order to showcase both stock, sales and important aspects of their business. Due to this, the value of constantly updating a banner on a business site is incalculable. You can also use banners within an email marketing campaign.

In 2015, banners are an integral aspect of Omni-Channel marketing and one of the key functions pertaining to Website Design. Banners present these potential customers with a quick hit of gripping information. Leave your website visitors hungry for more. Or at least with an established impression of the brand lingering in the depths of their minds. 

Want to get your company up on the radar? Contact Webtron today for an eye-catching banner, designed to complement your business needs. 

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