There is no denying the fact that banner ads can be a bit tricky. The average click-through rates are decreasing year by year and it’s getting harder to get people’s attention.
However, clicks are not the only thing banners are good for.
According to a study by Mediative, clicks are not the only benefit of display advertising. For example, 44% of those who interact with an online banner ad would search for the product or the brand online and 14% of them would contact the advertiser directly without clicking the ad.
Besides, banner advertising can still be a huge source of passive income, so it is an effective way to get featured by powerful niche publishers and bloggers.
Banner ads may be effective on many levels but they do need to stand out in the increasingly visual web and overcome shortening attention spans.
These are five examples of how you can use banner ads to do just that.
1. Match the Banner to Your Message
Your banner ad is a chance to contextualize the message of your landing page, and further push your agenda. It is a way of branding your message using the same tactics you would in any other marketing campaign. Your banner ads can press people to follow a link that the message leads to.
Here’s a great example that illustrates this point: Amnesty International is notoriously good at creating advertising campaign (including banner ads) that are powerful at delivering a message.
2. Use Banners to Promote Your Special Offer
There’s nothing better for the click-through than a specific offering (price discounts) a buyer can benefit right now. For example, if you had a free item that you want to push as part of introducing customers to your product, the banner ad is the best place to put a CTA that will be seen the moment the person lands on the page.
Banner ads are much more likely to result in a conversion if the creative injects the notion of “urgency”:
Abdullahi Muhammed, founder of Oxygenmat, suggests the CTA should be clear and straight to the point.
The following ad introduces a very timely special offer (Honda site doesn’t directly imply the offer is urgent but it targets graduates who are the major target audience during summer months):
3. Let Your Banners Get Personal
One of my favorite examples of emotion based banners comes from the Australian based group Quit Victoria. By clicking on the Play button, you are able to go through an interactive exercise that shows you what it feels like to have emphysema. After the test, you can learn the personal story of Mick Roberts who talks about his struggle.
It is a great ad that shows you how banners can be used to connect on a deeply emotional level. Emotion connections engage users, and push them to pay attention.
4. Feature Well-Recognized Faces on Your Banner
Influencer marketing is a win for display advertising! Let a niche micro-celebrity vouch for you and market that testimonial around your social media accounts as well as in your display advertising creatives.
Neil Patel is the prime example of that done right:
5. Match Your Banner Ads to Your Brand Colors and Logo
Linking banner ads across the web with your brand visual image will let you build brand awareness and generate more clicks and conversions. You will set a standard that becomes recognizable. Make sure your banners are consistent with:
- Your site logo
- Your landing page
- Your site color scheme
- Your social media branding (Here’s the most recent chart of social media image sizes)
Note: It’s easy to connect all the dots these days by using remarketing (retargeting).
HelloFresh is a great example of keeping all their marketing channels visually consistent.
Look at their logo:
Look at their banners:
Look at their social media channel:
And look at their offline branding:
Next time you see the green logo, or even an on-site picture, you’ll be totally aware which brand it is about!
Here are a few actionable tips to create an effective banner advertising campaign:
Use the Right Tools
Keeping all the above examples in mind, here are a few easy tools to create your perfect banner:
Bannersnack provides you with an easy to use toolset to design an effective banner. Their visual editor which they relaunched a few days ago is actually a pleasure to use. You get access to numerous design templates, beautiful photos, animated effects, fonts and much more:
- Easily create static, animated HTML5 and interactive banner ads
- Access banner analytics showing how users interact with your creatives
Banner Color Palette Generator
Pictaculous lets you generate color palette based on your logo. On top of that, it will also suggest matching colors.
Banner Effectiveness Analyzer
VAS lets you analyze your banner to identify if it makes a good first impression:
- Heatmaps highlight areas of the image that are likely to receive attention within the first 3-5 seconds. If only blue and green areas appear, there are no areas that will reliably draw attention.
- Regions show the probability of where a person will look in the first 3-5 seconds. Areas without a region will receive little or no attention.
Always A/B Test Several Versions
There is a great case study on Sony’s use of banner ads in their European market that I think everyone should see.
Using A/B testing they were able to tweak the banner ads and pick the best performing one. It promoted a 21.3% increase towards their goal of visitors reaching the shopping cart.
I always find these kinds of results inspiring because it shows there is no blueprint for an amazing banner ad. It is about trial and error, tweaking and perfecting, and maximizing results which anyone can do, whether they work for a giant like Sony, or a tiny little startup with bootstrap resources.
Read more about banner ad split testing here.
Banner Ads Can Be Effective!
Ultimately what you should have learned here is that banner ads make a genuinely awesome tactic for improving your conversions. Sure they can be hit and miss, but that is the beauty of the method: they are adaptable, and all it takes is some useful tools and A/B Testing to get to where you want to be.
Do you have examples of how banner ads can be more effective? Let us know in the comments.