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Userguide: Create banners

Linkfire is your one-stop-shop for creating any assets you need for digital music marketing. Whether you need a beautiful and functional landing page where your users can select their music service of choice or a way to embed your promotions directly on your own websites, we have you covered.

When buying advertisements for your releases on the Google Display Network, you can generate dynamic creative assets using the Linkfire suite. The end result is a downloadable .zip file, which you can then upload directly to DoubleClick. The banner creative itself can be customized in a variety of ways. See our step-by-step instructions on how to do this below.

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All banner sizes have a number of elements that can be edited and adjusted according to your needs and requirements. See list below for available elements and related properties.

 

Image
The Image is auto-populated using the artwork (Album cover) found in the meta-data. Although this provides an easy alternative we recommend and encourage you to upload custom artwork so image quality and dimension can be better controlled. The following formats are accepted: .png, .jpg & .gif. The final banner download will convert your artwork into a static .png.

The minimum required size of custom artwork corresponds to the banner size you wish to use. However, if you plan to use the animations, an additional 20% increase in image sizes is recommended.

E.g. if you are creating a banner in the size 320*50 (Mobile) with animations, the recommended minimum size for custom artwork is 384*60 pixels.

Dedicated image processing programs like Photoshop are generally best suited for cropping tasks. If the highest possible image quality is a priority, please crop your image to the needed size using Photoshop or equivalent program before uploading to Linkfire.

 

Title 
The banner Title is auto-populated with the title found in the metadata when available, usually "[album/track] by [artist]". You can easily change this in the "Value" input field.

You can also manage the following properties:

  • Font (choose between 15 fonts)
  • Font weight (normal or bold text)
  • Font size (size of text)
  • Line height (height of text line)
  • Text align (left/center/right)
  • Text Color (you may either use the color picker or, if known, type the RGBA/RGB/HEX code)

 

Subtitle
The Subtitle is auto-populated with the "Description" found in the metadata when available, and will often be along the lines of  "Preview, download or stream [album/track] by [artist]". You can easily change this to your liking by typing into the input field.

In addition, you can edit the same properties as described above under Title.

 

Description
There is no auto-population for the description. Type text in the input field and edit properties at will with the same flexibility as for Title and Subtitle described above.

 

Call-To-Action
The Call-To-Action (CTA) button will either present multiple music services as an overlay or take the user directly to a music service selected by you.

You can manage the following properties:

  • Value (add appropriate text)
  • Font (choose between 15 fonts)
  • Font size (9-16 px, limited according to the button size)
  • Font Weight (normal/bold)
  • Text Color (you may either use the color picker or, if known, type the RGBA/RGB/HEX code)
  • Background Color (you may either use the color picker or, if known, type the RGBA/RGB/HEX code)

 

Player
The player will let fans to listen to a 30 second preview of a track. The preview source is the same as specified in the "Media" section on the "Edit link" page.

You can manage the following properties:

  • Progress bar color (you may either use the color picker or, if known, type the RGBA/RGB/HEX code)
  • Progress bar background (you may either use the color picker or, if known, type the RGBA/RGB/HEX code)
  • Color reverse (invert the way the elapsed time of the progress bar is displayed - increasing the bar or decreasing)

 

Logo
You can upload an artist or label logo to be used in your banners for additional recognition and branding. The recommended and maximum size is 200*100px, using a file of .png format with a transparent background.

 

Background
For increased readability and additional creative elements you can opt to use one or multiple of the following:

  • Animation (Zoom in/out, Panning left-right, Panning top-bottom)
  • Bottom gradient (For contrast between background and elements if needed)
  • Black background overlay
  • Banner has border

 

Banner specification chart

  Google size limit

Minimum artwork dimension
without animation

Minimum artwork dimension 
with animation

Artwork format

MPU
(300 x 250)
150 kB* 300 x 250** 360 x 300 .jpg, .png or .gif
Leaderboard
(728 x 90)
150 kB* 728 x 90** 874 x 108  .jpg, .png or .gif
Skyscraper
(160 x 600)
150 kB* 160 x 300** 192 x 360   .jpg, .png or .gif
Small Skyscraper
(120 x 600)
 150 kB*  120 x 300**  144 x 360  .jpg, .png or .gif
Half Page
(300 x 600)
150 kB* 300 x 600** 360 x 720   .jpg, .png or .gif
Mobile banner
(320 x 50)
150 kB* 320 x 50** 384 x 60   .jpg, .png or .gif

* The total size of the banner's exported .zip file may not exceed 150 kB as per Google's specifications. This file contains your artwork, logo and services. If the file is larger than this, try to reduce the size of some elements, or remove them altogether. Note that we compress any assets used in the exported .zip file, so the originally uploaded artwork can often be considerably larger than specified limitations.
** Uploaded artwork can be bigger than the minimum dimensions. Final exported dimensions are dependent on how the banner assets are cropped during editing.

 

 

How to create banners

To activate your banner, follow the same steps as you do when you want to create a link.

Enter your source link in the input field, press continue and manage your settings in the edit link page according to your preferences. When ready, click "Create link".

In your link feed, click "Edit link" to get back to the edit page. You are now ready to start working on your banner(s). Find the section called "Banners" and enable it by switching the toggle to the right.

Note that the enable button will only work after your link has been saved.

 

 

From the dropdown "Add new size", choose the banner size(s) you wish to create. We provide the following default and standard sizes:

  • 300*250 (MPU)
  • 320*50 (Mobile)
  • 120*600 (Small skyscraper)
  • 160*600 (Skyscraper)
  • 300*600 (Halfpage)
  • 728*90 (Leaderboard)

See examples of all sizes and creative options on this link: https://banner.lnk.to/showcase4

Once you have chosen your banner size(s) they will appear in a list below the "add new size" dropdown.

Each banner size chosen has an "editor", "delete" and "dropdown" option.

Click the dropdown to upload a custom artwork and/or logo.

In this section you can also choose if you want the CTA button to take the consumer straight to a preferred service or display a selection of available services as an overlay.

If you are promoting an album with multiple tracks, you can also choose the track you want to use in the 30 second preview.

 

 

Once done with the above, select "Editor" to start working with the creative elements you have uploaded.

In the "Editor" page, you will find a sidebar with a list of editable elements as described in the Banner specification section. To make things easy and intuitive, we display a live preview of the banner you are editing (see example below).

Each element has a dropdown section where properties can be edited, also according to the specifications above. You can easily hide every element by using the "Visible" toggle.

In order to position the elements chosen, go to the "Positioning" dropdown and enable "Edit mode".

 

 

Now you can drag and drop your elements around according to your needs. We have made it even easier for you to center align elements, both horizontally and vertically with the "snap to grid" function.

When in edit mode, you can adjust the size of the artwork using the provided slider or by scrolling on the artwork. You can also crop the artwork by dragging and dropping in any direction.

In the "Background" section, you can choose one of the three available animations: "Zoom in/out", "Panning left-right", "Panning top-bottom". Note that using animations will lower the resolution of the artwork used.

Here you can also use additional background features by switching the corresponding toggle:

  • Bottom gradient
  • Black background overlay
  • Banner has border (this adds a thin black border to your banner)

These options have the potential to increase readability depending on the background color of the artwork.

When you're satisfied with the look and feel of your new banner, remember to hit the "Save" button in the bottom of the sidebar to save your changes. Next, go back to "edit link" and click the "Update link" button at the bottom of the page to save your work.

 

Share and export banners

When working with your banners, you can share a live preview with your colleagues or other stakeholders to gather feedback and input. To do this, expand the "Share preview" section on the page and copy the provided URL. Note that this live preview will show your latest saved changes, so remember to hit that "Save" button.

 

 

When you're all done and your banner has been saved, it's time to upload it. To do this, you will need to download a .zip file which contains your finished banner. Go to your linkfeed and click the dropdown on the right side of the "Get link" button then click "Get banner". Select the relevant channel and you will be taken to the modal were you can select and start downloading your banner(s).

 

 

Here you will need to select whether you want a file to upload on DoubleClick or on Google AdWords. If the latter, keep in mind that banners for AdWords are currently in a beta testing phase, and do not include the audio preview. If your banner contains an audio preview, it will be automatically removed for the Google AdWords version.

The downloaded file will include all assets you need to get your banner up and running on the Google Display Network.

Note that the total banner assets size is limited to 150 kB as per standard Google limitations. If your banner size exceeds the limit of 150 kB you will not be able to download the file. Try to reduce the size of the banner's artwork and/or logo and potentially also reduce the number of services available.

 

Tracking banner traffic

Linkfire banners are exported as a stand-alone file and uploaded to ad networks. Therefore, it is not possible to directly track banner usage through the Linkfire suite. Consult your respective ad network to see information on where and how often your banners are displayed.

However, you will be able to see how many visitors click through to a service from your banner. When a visitor clicks on your banner and selects, for example, iTunes, they will in fact be routed through a Linkfire direct link to iTunes. These are tracked, and so you can see inside your link's normal Insights page how many visitors have clicked through your banner to a final destination.

Enjoy!

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