Display Advertisement Design & Optimization
The Brief

The Norton AntiVirus team had a targeted display ad campaign on CNET/Download.com with a baseline performance of a 1% CTR (click-through rate). If the campaign could be optimized to a 3% CTR, they would be able to break even on the costs of the campaign.

The Process

The campaign began with existing creative, designed by the in-house team. In addition, there was an interactive video banner creative, designed by an external agency. My role was to manage and optimize campaign, utilizing all available resources, which included my own design skills.  The campaign optimization ran as a week-over-week series of A/B testing.  Reporting was provided by CNet/Download.com.

The Results

After 5 weeks of testing, a 3.6% CTR was achieved.  The campaign optimization continued for an additional 5 weeks, at which a maximum CTR of 6% was achieved.  This was the highest historical performance to date for any ad placement on the CNET/Download.com website.

Baseline Results
Optimized Results
Summary & Lessons Learned

Over 30 pieces were created and tested in this campaign, and a select few are displayed above. Can you guess which was the 3.6% CTR winner? What about the 6% CTR winner?


As a design professional, I was very surprised to discover what banners customers clicked on and responded to the most strongly. It was not necessarily the prettiest or most interactive banner. Optimizing this campaign was a very insightful and humbling experience.


Key lessons learned:

  • Static banners consistently outperformed video/interactive banners in CTR
  • Banners with light-colored banners consistently outperformed black banners
  • Copy in the Call-to-Action button makes a difference
  • People always like the word "Free"
  • Always consider the look and feel of the publisher website
  • Be flexible about brand color guidelines if you truly want to maximize your display ad campaign performance
  • Your Button can never be too big...unless it violates the site publisher rules ;)

Logos used in the portfolio area are © & ™ their respective companies.

All other content and artwork on this website is © & ™ 1999 - 2015 P.M.B.Q. Studios.