As you surf the Internet, you may notice that a number of websites feature advertisements. Many of these ads come in the form of embedded banners, which advertise a service, product or company. These banners are frequently found on websites hosting freely accessible content, as a form of generating revenue to run the site. You may have also noticed not all of these ads are the same -- some of them are a simple picture, some of them are animated and some even feature interactivity.
A static ad is just that, static. If features no animation, motion or other interactivity, outside of being clickable. These banners are something like an ad in the newspaper or a magazine, an image arranged to arouse your interest and get you to click. Some are tailored to fit in with a specific site, blending in with the color scheme or setup of the site. In general, they contain images, slogans or relevant text for the advertised product, service or company.
Animated ads are similar to static ads in that they are an image file. However, animated ads feature a sequence of frames containing images, slogans or text. The ad cycles through these frames in sequential order to create an animation loop. Some ads are designed to loop infinitely, while others are set to go through one, or a set number of loop sequences. Some Web hosts require that an animated banner have a set number of cycles to limit bandwidth consumption. These files are typically GIF format, as it is a widely used format supported by most Web browsers.
Flash ads take the concept of an animated banner a step further. Using Adobe's Flash animation platform, animations in a flash ad have a more fluid feel compared to their slightly clunkier GIF counterparts. Flash ads also open the opportunity for advertisers to create an interactive ad. Users may be ask to choose between a number of options, or to play a rudimentary game, before being taken to the advertiser's link. These files are saved in the Flash format, SWF.
Creating any of the mentioned advertisements requires a few tools. For static ads, little more than an image editor is require. This can range from the absolute basic, including Microsoft Paint, to professional graphic design programs such as Adobe Photoshop or CorelDRAW. Making an animated ad will require a GIF animation program. Adobe offers this capability in its Photoshop and Flash programs, although many free GIF animators are also available online. To create Flash ads, users will require a Flash editor. Adobe's Flash software is the professional standard, although many free alternatives also exist.
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