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Online Ad Technology Tutorial

Online ads are measured in "pixels", the small elements that fill a computer screen. Like print media, online ads come in standard sizes defined by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), with standard placement on a web page. That's where the similarities between print and online end because what happens inside an ad's pixel-defined space can be anything from a flash animation to an interactive form to a video clip.

The three most popular of these standard sizes include:

Leaderboard: A 728x90 pixel ad that appears at the top of a web page.

Boxes/Rectangles: A 300x250 pixel ads, usually given prominent position on a page, used for rich media, particularly video.

Skyscraper: A 160x600 pixel ad that runs on the sides of a web page.

In addition to size, online ads have additional technical specifications such as number of megabytes, format of content and links. These specifications vary based on the content of your ad as well as the site where the ad will run.

Online Ad Specifications

Here are a few general rules to follow for various forms of online ads:

  • Static banner ads, ads with a single still image, can be no more than 20kb in size.
  • Files with Flash animation should be saved in .swf format and be no larger than 40kb when they first display on a page. This size limitation enables entire pages to load quickly first; once the page is loaded the ad's animation can then continue loading and start to play.
  • Animated ads must be exported to use Flash Player version 6.0 or earlier in order to work with publishers in our network.
  • Animations should run for 15 seconds and cannot repeat ("no looping").
  • Animated ads should be submitted with a static jpeg with an embedded clickTAG. These two elements ensure that users without Flash technology will still be able to see and click on your ad.
  • An ad with audio cannot be formatted to being playing automatically as soon as it displays. It must include a button or other element that users click to hear the sound.

Also read: Best Practices for Online Advertising »

Insider Tip: Media Buying Planning

Pinpoint Persuasion will provide you with metrics during and at the end of your campaign. But you can also get a look - for free- about how a site is performing. Just have your web master install Google Analytics.

Insider Tip: YOU Make Banner Ads Better

Put a face on your ad. It's clear that voters respond better to ads carrying the candidate's face. We've seen higher than usual click-through races for ads carrying pictures of candidates.