10 Mistakes to Avoid While Creating Affiliate Banners

Now that you know what banner sizes you want to cover, it is important to know what mistakes to avoid while creating the banners for your affiliate program.

Apart from the lack of 88×31 buttons and seasonal banners (preferably dynamically renewing depending on what holiday is approaching), there are mistakes that I see being repeated by merchants across different verticals — mistakes that pertain to the very look of the affiliate banners. And the look can often cause a negative affect on the conversion (which is definitely not something that you want to happen).

Below you may find a list of the 10 mistakes one must avoid while creating affiliate banners. Some of the examples I’m using combine a number of mistakes, which you will be able to spot quite easily.

1. Poor Graphics

Many merchants use poor, pixelized graphic on their banners, and not necessarily because they do not have good graphics in their possession.  Most of them are just not paying enough attention to the way the final saved version looks. This often results in an affiliate program having banners that affiliates do not want to use.

2. Unreadable Font


Make sure that the inscription (or even a part of the inscription) on your banner is not too small to read. Blurry, unreadable font is neither doing your brand any good, nor helping your conversion.

3. Phone Number

Yes, some merchants actually put a toll free phone number on their affiliate banners! If the word for the untrackable route the end user can take is a “leak”, this is an example of one super-leak. All the end user has to do is call the merchant directly, and the affiliate can forget about their commission.

4. URL on Banner

and and

and 2 all of the above-quote banners

Some affiliates may consider a full URL mentioned on the banner to be a “leak” (as their website visitors may type in the URL directly into their address bar instead of clicking the affiliate link, and therefore the affiliate cookie would never be set). I recommend avoiding the usage of full URLs on affiliate banners. If it’s a part of your logo, use everything but the .com or the .net part on the banner.

5. Excessive Animation


Don’t these make your eyes hurt? I’ll tell you more — affiliates generally prefer banners with no animation at all. There is no need to make it flash or blink, and hurt the end user’s eyes, if you want to emphasize something or attract attention. Play with different fonts and different colors. You can attract attention in a much more effective way if your banners do not blink.

6. Missing Call to Action

and and

These are excellent banners (apart from some blurriness on the bottom of the last one), but they have no call to action on them whatsoever. Believe it or not, but some end users will not think of clicking them unless you explicitly ask them to. “Shop now”, “Click here”, “Claim/Redeem now” (for coupons) and other calls to action are a must on all marketing banners, and affiliate ones are no exception.

7. Poor Contrast

This banner has the call to action, but the contrast between the writing and background is extremely poor. It makes the font very difficult to read.

8. Grammar Mistakes

It’s not a terrible one (no spaces before and after the dash, which should have been replaced by a period), but still — by all means, use good grammar on all affiliate banners.

9. No Line Around the Edge

Yes, a simple line around the edge of the above banner (as  well as around some of the banners listed in points 2, 3, and 4 above) would have been of great improvement to its overall look (especially when used on affiliate websites with white background).

10. No Brand

This is a banner used by a chocolate merchant. Beautiful picture. But what about the brand? Same can be said about the banner used in #7 above. Do not leave your brand name out.

I hope you will find the above list of help, and if I haven’t mentioned some of the mistakes worth noting, please post them in the “comments” area below.

7 thoughts on “10 Mistakes to Avoid While Creating Affiliate Banners”

  1. Excellent post, right on target with all 10 examples shown. I see these types of banners all too often. It is frustrating to affiliates to try and find an alternative method to promote a merchant when their banners are poorly designed and isn’t an option.

    Also, it would be nice if some merchants would offer more color chooses. If I have a website that the primary color is pink, then an orange or bright red banner isn’t going to blend well. If a banner makes my website look poorly designed, I will not use it.

  2. msladybug,

    I agree 100%. That is exactly why in conclusion to my yesterday’s post I wrote: “Remembering that some affiliates will need banners of different sizes or color gamma, it is always good to let them know that you are open to creating custom” ones. Color gamma match is important, and your example illustrates the point well.

    Thank you for you post, and should you think of any other design-related problems, let me know.

  3. It’s funny, I was just discussing the design of some new AWeber affiliate banners with one of our designers, Bob Ricca. We were JUST talking about the 88 x 31 buttons and what we can and cannot do with them.

    You have hit the nail on the head, especially with the animated banners. They can be just downright annoying and I see our affiliates do not use them that often.

    We are in the process of making some great new (non animated:)) banners that should be available for our affiliates very soon.

    Thank you for the info, Geno.


  4. It’s always a pleasure when a post is both timely and useful. Glad you’ve found to be such, Ron, and best of luck creating the new banners for AWeber.

  5. While the free 2nd day air shipping is missing an explicit call-to-action, I’d say it’s not a great example. The reason being that the offer itself is pretty interesting, and should qualify/interest folks enough to click. You’d have to split test, but I don’t think a call to action would improve the banner much, intuitively.

    Besides that, one issue in designing the smaller banner formats is that you have little/no space. It’s hard to fit the logo, a headline, an offer, and call to action in 125×125 pixels. Hence animation.

    That said, I do agree that animation can be annoying. But if it rotates slowly/in a non-intrusive way, it can improve the message’s clarity. Again, an issue of testing and comparing, but it’s hard to fit all you need into the space…

    Either way, your points are well taken (evem those I’ve tried to nuance above) and so I’ve really enjoyed this post and bookmarked it!

  6. ouch! Guilty as charged. O wad sum power the gifty gie us to see oursels as others see us! Thank you. I am now a subscriber and will try to mend my ways with your good advice. I’d taken phone numbers off all the DesignerShoes banners. But clearly that wasn’t enough. It is always a challenge to switch to thinking like an affiliate from thinking like a merchant. I appreciate the help.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *