Banner ad promotions are as old as the Internet, and there may be some who think the banner ad is dead. But according to Nielson's most recent Trust in Advertising report, consumer trust in banner ads has nearly doubled in the past six years. Flashing images, little creatures running back and forth across the screen and the dizzying arrays of vibrant colors have been replaced with polished, clear, engaging ads that eerily show products you just viewed on another site. So you feel compelled to click.
Or do you? According to ComScore, despite the trillions of banners ads shown across sites, three in 10 are never seen. The challenge with banner ads is overcoming banner blindness — we're so accustomed to seeing these ads, and have grown so wary of clicking and finding ourselves in a labyrinth of clicks just to get to the initial offer, that banner ads can sometimes go ignored. So what does your banner ad need to make sure it gets noticed?
1. Ad Design
Headlines are what will draw a viewer's eyes. sell. Make your headline stand out; make it simple and clear; and make sure your target customer knows what they will get by clicking and how easily they'll get it. Use graphics sparingly — used poorly, they can make your ad seem cluttered instead of sophisticated. If you use an image, make sure it earns its keep by being attractive, relevant, funny or cute. And include your logo. Good design promotes familiarity with your brand.
2. Ad Copy
Use as few words as possible to convey your meaning (for example, "Click here to visit our website for more information" isn't better than "Click for more info") and make sure the font is clear and legible. Don't forget to use trigger words — if the user has to figure out what you want them to do, you've failed. Words such as "limited offer," "free" and "special offer" make it pretty clear what's going on.
3. Call to Action
Banner ad currency is clicks, and this means you need to make sure you have a clear call-to-action (CTA) button. Your CTA should be in a bright contrasting color, be big enough that it can't be missed and have clear copy that tells the user exactly what they'll get from clicking and why it's relevant to them. It's probably a good idea to ensure there's some white space around your button so it doesn't get lost in clutter.
4. Landing Page Design
If someone clicks on a button promising them that they can download something or sign up for a webinar, that's what they expect to find when they click. Make sure the banner ad links to a landing page that has the information promised in the banner. Don't make target customers go digging for information, because they won't — they'll just bounce.
Interactivity can be an attention-getter as long as it's relevant — for example, a mortgage lender could include a link to a mortgage calculator, or a weight-loss ad could add a link to a calorie counter. If you can include relevant interactivity in your ad that adds to the customers' experience rather than wasting their time, it's worth considering.
Banner ad promotions have gone through various incarnations since the birth of the Internet, but what is clear is that they are effective and they're here to stay. To make sure your's are noticed, design a banner that looks like a banner, but is really a work of precision and art.