When the first banner ads were created, they were very effective because they were original and stood out among more traditional advertisements. According to Fast Company, the first banner ad had a click-through rate (CTR) of 44 percent, dwarfing today's rate of 0.8 percent. Now, Internet users often develop ad blindness because they get bombarded with different types of messages every time they go online. As a result, businesses must reevaluate their banner ad design and content to make sure that this marketing channel remains successful. Here are five ways you might be screwing up your banner ads — and five best practices to employ instead.
1. Including Excessive Copy
Banner ads with excessive copy can be overwhelming to viewers. If customers have to weed through unnecessary content to find the information they're looking for, they will likely click elsewhere. As such, you should make your ads simple, clear and readable by getting your message across in as few words as possible. For instance, you can say "Click here for more information," instead of "Click here to visit our website for more information." Furthermore, clear, direct phrases, such as "Learn more" or "Get offer," can assure customers that there is a payoff to clicking through.
2. Using Off-Putting Colors or Design
Customers are attracted to aesthetically pleasing banner ads. As such, it is important that you avoid using off-putting colors or animated gifs that can be seen as offensive or overwhelming. Your design should be engaging, and all of the graphics that you use should add value to your message by evoking emotions or suggesting solutions. In order to promote familiarity with your brand, you should also include your logo on all of your banner ads.
Another crucial element of banner ad design is the call-to-action. In order to be effective, your call-to-action must be relevant, clear, concise and specific. You should place this link in a prominent location to ensure that customers will find it easily.
3. Failing to Monitor Your Ad's Placement Success
Network display partners often decide the specifics of banner ad placement, but you can use tracking pixels to see where your ads are going. Once the placement of your ad is finalized, you should check on it to see if it stands out and makes an impression. If you find that your ads are blending into the background, you should try designing different ads for customers in other environments.
4. Forgetting to Rotate Your Ads
Though customers may find your banner ad very engaging the first time they see it, their excitement level will likely decrease over time. As such, you should keep users interested by rotating your ads every few weeks if you see engagement starting to decline. If it isn't broke - don't fix it. Part of acheiving brand recognition is a consistent look, feel, and message.
5. Not Performing Regular A/B Testing
You should also perform A/B testing on a regular basis to see if your ads are as effective as you would like them to be. Small changes in text, color or whitespace can affect users' experience and responsiveness. In one case, MarketingExperiments Blog found that a simple call-to-action change increased conversions by 77.6 percent. In order to see which layouts resonate most with your target audience, you should design different ads, rotate them and then compare their performances.
Banner ads can be a powerful marketing channel. By following these banner ad best practices and consulting with a digital marketing expert, you can create engaging ads that will attract potential customers.