opinion

Banner Advertising – Improve Your Design Standards

Joe D
The standard banner ad – once the true “standard” for advertising on the Internet – is sadly going the way of the dinosaur. If you are still making 468x60 static banners then you truly need some help. In today’s market you need to razzle-dazzle your customers with either Flash, video or rich media – without annoying them – in order to stand out from the crowd.

Click-through rates for banner ads stabilized at a dismal 0.09% in 2010, down from .15% back in 2008. According to a consumer survey that was conducted by AdweekMedia-Harris, 43% of respondents stated that they ignored banner ads on the Internet much more often than they did paid text ads on search engines as well as ads found in traditional media sources such as radio, TV and print.

Despite all those horrible numbers and percentages, it has been estimated that ad spending on standard Internet banners will increase in 2011 by as much as 11.4%, upwards of $6.56 billion, and will continue growth through 2014 to an estimated $8.63 billion. What can you do today to make the most of these coming changes? How can you improve your banner design to attract more customers and clicks?

#1 – Give ‘Em What They Want

Customers are sick and tired of banner ads that attempt to market to them based upon the keywords, site content or other data collected about them, and only 21% stated that they would interact with a company through one of those banner ads. Instead, customers have revealed an interest in receiving discounts, coupons and other incentives, with 77% stating that they would be motivated to click through on such banner ads. 46% stated that they would be motivated by banners that offered solutions to problems or as a means of finding out more about a product. Ads that were designed to be entertaining or humorous dropped in the rankings with only 28% stating that they would click them to see more and only 26% stating that they would click-through on games or other widgets.

#2 – Measure Your Success

It is important to understand that CTR (click through ratios) are not the only way to measure just how effective your banner ad is with your target audience. An analysis completed by Media Mind which encompassed more than 100 million conversions around the world showed that only 20.4% of conversions came from clicks, with the other 79.6% coming from simply viewing the banner.

#3 – Be Choosy

You can increase the effectiveness of your banner ad marketing campaign by picking better sites to advertise on. For example, choose sites that have focused content on a particular subject or theme rather than sites that have a wide range of content available. Choose a site that offers banner space that is larger than the standard 468x60 banner size – larger ads perform better than smaller ones. Make sure to buy multiple exposure spots as a means of re-targeting users. Studies show that users are much more apt to click on ads that they are familiar with, but many sites only show each banner once.

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