Banner ads are not created equal.
Some are meant to be effective in conveying your message, while some are
meant to be ignored. Low click rates are not necessarily the result of the
medium but rather, the effectiveness of your banner ads in building brand
awareness, generating click-throughs, and boosting sales depends on how it
was created. |
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A November 2000 study by Nielsen/NetRatings showed that the right
approach to creating banner ads can entice viewers to actually click on a
banner. The banners of Harry and
David, a gourmet food gifts store, yield a very impressive click rate of
67.21% among at-home viewers; while iWon/PaceFoods' banners generated 40%
click rate among the at-work viewers. These figures refute the myth that
banner ads will always have a low click-through rate.
To make sure that your banner advertising dollars are spent well, your
banners must be designed and implemented with the following characteristics:
1. Keep your
message short and simple.
You only have a few seconds to capture the attention of the viewer. Hence,
you must be able to get your point across in a few words, as a wordy ad
won't get read. Find the right words and images - including animated GIFs
that allow short messages to rotate - to trigger action. According to a
study by AdRelevance, too much clutter adversely affects the performance of
a banner and negatively impacts on a banner's ability to brand. Concise ads
are successful because they deliver a message or name that the viewer can
something interesting to viewers.
It is not necessarily true that people do not read ads. People only read
what is interesting to them - and sometimes, it can be an ad. Making the
case for targeted placements, your banners will only be successful if you
seek out people receptive to your message. You banners will simply be part
of the clutter to be ignored if you serve up your ads to viewers who
considers your message irrelevant to them.
3. Give people
a reason to click. Viewers
will only respond to a compelling proposition. Your banners must be
attractive or interesting enough to be successful in generating even the
slightest flicker of response. People react favorably to banners that
provide them a chance to win something. A banner where they can get
something for free or a special discount also gets high click rates. Develop
your banner's message around the most persuasive reason why people would
want to go to your site, be it the information you provide, special offers
and promotions, or products that can make their life much better.
follow-through mechanisms. Leading
users who clicked on your banners to your home page is acceptable if your
advertising goal is to develop branding for your site. However, if you
offered a special promotion or solicit a specific action from the user, you
must create follow-through mechanisms for these users. A special page
explaining the promotion in detail, for example, provides visual or
messaging clues about what to do next. In addition, having a special page
for each of your banners can help you determine which creative is more
effective in bringing in traffic or sales.
5. Target your
ads. Click-throughs alone
are a poor indicator of the effectiveness of a campaign. The important
metric is the number of qualified prospects that the banners solicited. If
you are looking for audience for a site catering to baby boomers, a 15-year
old who clicks on your banner is less relevant to you. A campaign targeted
to a specific audience is likely to yield better results. A targeted
campaign is geared to a specific audience, be it a certain demographic group
or people working in a specific industry. You need to be more selective
about where you buy ad space, preferably on those sites whose content
dovetails with your specific marketing message.
6. Always test
your banner ads. Before
going full-blast in your campaign, you need to test your banners with a
subset of your target audience. You should experiment with various banner
designs to gauge the appeal of your promotional offers and the type of
message that brings a high-interest customer. Most ad networks now allow
advertisers to conduct a test run. With the falling cost of advertising, you
can now buy 25,000 impressions for only $25. This low cost can tell you a
lot about how successful your banner ad campaign will be.
7. Banner ads
must be part of your overall advertising strategy.
Your marketing campaign will be effective if all its elements are sewn
tightly together. Your banner ads must support your direct mail campaigns,
and dovetail your email marketing. Test these campaigns head-to-head and
judge them in terms of lead quality rather than quantity. Is your email
newsletter sponsorship campaign bringing you more sales than your banners?
If so, you must weigh the pros and cons of continuing each campaign,
including the costs and response generated from each medium. Understand,
however, that there can sometimes be a lag time between seeing the ad and
actually responding to it.
using rich media. Rich
media banners, which include animation, sound and other special effects, can
increase your response rate. These banners could facilitate e-commerce and
may even lead to instant revenues. Some rich media banners have a built-in
order area, expandable order forms, and even secure server technology to
protect credit card transaction. Enliven, one of the leading rich media
banner creators, claim that brand recall is about 34 percent higher than
with a basic gif banner, and that over half the visitors spend from 30
seconds to as much as 5 minutes interacting with a rich media banner. The
drawback, however, is that rich media banners will cost more to produce and
place; and they are not available on all web sites. Plus, unless users all
go broadband, the banners can sometimes slow down web page loading times or
even crash a page. If you have the resources, try incorporating rich media
in a banner and test how it performs with standard banners.
The success of your banner ad campaign will depend on whether it drives
users to action. Develop your banners with your users' needs in mind,
constantly monitor its performance, and don't tire of revising it to improve
your conversion rate. While banner ads is only one of the many ways to reach
your audience, it can still be a very powerful tool if used properly.
About the Author:
Steve Ma. Reyna is a staff writer
of Power Homebiz Guides.