Many Internet marketing agencies scoff at banner advertising, one of the most common methods of building visibility on the Internet.
The oft-cited statistic of doom is the click-through rates on banner ads averaging 0.5 percent, which means that for every two hundred prospects who see the banner ad, only one clicks on the Web link embedded in the message.
However, rumors of the death of banner advertising have been greatly exaggerated.
The novelty factor of banner advertising has definitely worn off. But, when a banner ad is well-targeted and the creative is good, click-through rates can be substantially higher.
Effective Branding with Banner Advertising
Generally speaking, banner ads have traditionally fallen into one of two categories: branding campaigns and click-through campaigns.
The purpose of branding campaigns is to get your company's name in the public eye. These types of campaigns often coincide with promotional advertisements in other venues: print, radio, television, event sponsorship, etc.
The goal of a branding campaign is not so much to get people to click immediately on your banner ad but to have your company's name stick in the mind of the public through repeated viewing
to make your audience feel familiar enough with your company image that going to your website is almost second nature.
Additionally, if you're purchasing keyword or category display ads on search engines and directory sites, and your branding banner ad appears on those sites over a period of time, people will tend to associate those keywords with your company's name.
The downside of branding campaigns is that they often require more money to maintain than click-through campaigns, and it's more difficult to gauge their effectiveness.
Since click-through rates (CTRs) are not an effective measure of a branding campaign's success, you need to establish longer time frames for whether visitors to, and/or sales on, your site increase as a result of your branding efforts.
The Direct-Marketing Advantage of Click-Through Advertising
If you run a small-to-midsize company and have a limited advertising budget, you need to realize the maximum effectiveness of each banner ad you run.
This requires a click-through banner ad campaign, which allows you to connect with your audience on the most direct level possible.
A click-through banner ad campaign directly calls for action from the viewer, either by stating what your prospect wants or needs and how they can get it on your website, or by using strong emotions to catch your prospect's attention and elicit a response.
The key with these ads is to make sure the viewer is taken to a page of your website that directly corresponds to the ad they just clicked on.
The disadvantage of click-through banner ads, if it can be called such, is that they force you to target your audience much more accurately. If your ad is too general or deceptive, you'll get a large number of click-throughs but very few sales.
Getting Twice the Value from Your Banner Advertising
The Internet is one of the few places where you can successfully combine branding and direct marketing. You're missing out if you see it as an either/or prospect.
At Kethyr Solutions, we've found the most effective banner advertising campaigns use a combination of branding and click-through strategies.
Therefore, regardless of a banner ad campaign's intent, we make sure all banner campaigns we manage offer a clear benefit to viewers, feature a strong call to action, and take people where they're expecting to go.
Any website that presents a clear benefit for users and actually delivers on that benefit will receive positive branding and increased sales as a result.
Planning a Successful Banner Ad Campaign
Planning a successful banner advertising campaign takes a bit of time and effort. But, when done correctly, banner campaigns can result in a good return-on-investment (ROI) in terms of both branding and sales.
First and foremost, you must be familiar with the prospective customers for your product or service.
Many businesses make the mistake of blindly purchasing banner ad space without understanding how their target audience searches for their products or services.
One of the most valuable tools for understanding your customers and prospective customers is website statistics software. Good anayltic software can provide much of the information you need to plan a successful banner ad campaign.
For example, if your site's visitors are using a search engine, directory, or another search-related service to find your site, statistics software can tell you which keywords and search service they used.
In order to use this data to create effective banner ad campaigns, we determine which sets of keywords and keyword phrases your visitors are using to find your site as well as the sites of your competitors.
Next, we determine the phrases for which your site lacks optimal search engine positioning. Besides optimizing your website for these additional phrases, these are often the best terms to target with your banner ad campaigns.
Once we've determined the best type of banner ad campaign for your needs and have the demographic data for your target audience, it's time to:
Make Sure Your Banner Ads Appeal to All Your Prospects
The Art of Segmentation
Companies that use a single banner ad for their ad campaign often have unrealistic expectations of what that ad can accomplish. They assume a single banner will attract everybody interested in any product, service, or feature found on their website.
The problem with a one-banner-fits-all strategy is the banner spreads itself too thin. Its impact is diluted. All too often, a banner ad designed to appeal to everyone ends up appealing to no one.
Smart banner advertisers avoid this problem by practicing "segmentation." This means targeting a particular segment or segments of your overall market, giving each an individual ad strategy. When applied correctly, a segmentation strategy can produce a very effective overall banner campaign.
What if you only have one product or service to offer? A segmentation strategy is still important. If your target audience has any demographic range differences in age, income, education, gender, location, cultural background, profession, interests and hobbies, browsing habits, or Web browser preference, to name a few your should create individual banners that appeal to each of those segments.
Finding the Best Venues for Your Banner Ad Campaigns
It is vitally important to know how your visitors are finding you, and products or services similar to those you offer, before you purchase banner ad space. Otherwise, you risk wasting precious advertising dollars.
Some advertisers are lured into purchasing the most ad impressions for the lowest rates. The problem with this type of buying is that you have the least control over where your ad is featured and the least reach to your target audience.
Instead of purchasing ad space on a general, mainstream website, you should consider purchasing space to run your ad on a category page of a site, or an industry-specific site, where the purpose is closely related to your ad's content.
That having been said, there's no need to wonder whether advertising on a large portal site is worth the price, or if advertising on a less-trafficked, industry-specific site can help you reach your target audience for less money.
Using proven market research techniques, Kethyr Solutions can help you:
- Identify the highest-traffic websites that cater to your specific target audience.
- Check where these sites are already displaying banner ads
- Determine the amount of competition your banner ads will face
- Communicate with banner advertising representatives on your behalf
Whether you're purchasing a fixed number of ad impressions or an exclusive placement, you are almost always allowed to rotate several ads in that space. We usually recommend our clients rotate ads evenly for at least a week to determine which one gives the best results.
But don't drop the other ads too quickly! We've often achieved better overall results by leaving the other ads in place and rotating them less frequently.
Running just one ad in a space can lead to quicker banner burnout, that is, fewer people clicking on the banner over time. Other ads become a good backup system, prolonging your top banner's shelf life.
Selecting the right keywords and determining where to purchase banner space requires some time, patience, a lot of testing, and careful analysis of your CTRs and site statistics.
Every successful banner campaign is unique. It might seem like a lot of extra work on top of all your other marketing tasks, but remember that casual ad placement is bad for the bottom line. It really is worth your while to spend a little time evaluating a fit before investing in ad real estate.
And, remember, Kethyr Solutions is here to help. Contact us today for more information and an estimate.
Designing Your Banner Ads for Maximum Effect
Once we've determined the sites you'll be advertising on, it's time to start considering banner ad designs.
One banner ad for each segment of your audience is a start, but multiple banners for each segment are better. Several banner designs for each segment of your audience can more effectively measure the types of ads that work and what should be improved.
You shouldn't assume all segments of your audience will respond the same way to the same type of banner ad. Thinking you can just change a few words or a graphic won't always do the trick. You may have to redesign your ad for any given segment to achieve the best results.
Assuming the screen real estate of the sites you intend to advertise on is not too cluttered, the next question becomes how you can use your banner ads to catch a potential customer's attention as effectively as possible.
By evaluating the colors on the Web pages on which you're purchasing space, we can decide whether to match some of the colors in your banner in order to remove the "blatant advertisement" edge or go with high-contrast, bright colors for banner backgrounds in order to attract attention.
Rich media can improve a banner providing it serves a purpose. Animation can be an effective way to capture attention. However, if animation is located on a page where the user would dwell for an extended period of time, it can be more annoying than beneficial.
Basic but effective forms of rich media can include a drop-down menu, which, when clicked, expands outside the original banner size, multiple links within the same banner, or a pop-up interactive window that can handle transactions without requiring the user to leave the original site.
It's important to remember that the same things that make good print ads make good banners. Unfortunately, the same things that make bad ads make horrible banners.
If you don't know how to write and design a clever, compelling message, hire someone who does. Nothing turns off potential prospects more than a really poor attempt at being clever.
Remember that your ad is a representative of you, containing a smattering of your personality and ability. If it looks dopey to a viewer, guess what they're going to think about you? It's better to be clear than clever.
Kethyr Solutions provides a wide assortment of banner designs, in all file formats, that fall within the guidelines of major search engine and directory sites. View our banner ad design prices or contact us today to get a specific estimate for your project.
Save Time & Money
Let Kethyr Solutions Handle Your Banner Ad Placements
Kethyr Solutions has a wealth of experience managing successful banner ad campaigns.
We work with banner ad sales representatives on our clients' behalf to make sure:
- Your banner ads meet the requirements and restrictions (file formats, dimensions, file size, etc.) of the advertising venues you've identified
- Your ads get the best visibility possible, including prominent page placement on Web pages with the most visitors and the least amount of advertising competition
- You get the best prices possible, whether it's on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or CTR (cost per click-through) basis
- The sites your advertising with provide statistics of impression rates (how many people view the page) and click-through rates on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis
Tracking the Effectiveness of Your Banner Ad Campaigns
Any site that features your banner ad should already have site statistics software to allow you to test your banner's effectiveness. We can make sure, in advance, that the site will provide you with statistics of impression rates (how many people check out the page) and click-through rates on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, and that these statistics are provided on a regular basis.
Additionally, each of your banner ads should lead to a "landing page" on your website that specifically matches that banner's content.
Visitors do not want to go to a home page where they must hunt for the product or information they seek. Ideally, each banner should go to a page on your site specifically designed for that banner.
For truly accurate measurements of your segmented banners' performance, you'll likely need a service that provides more advanced tracking capabilities than simply measuring impression numbers and click-throughs. Kethyr Solutions works with several, industry-leading analytics software vendors and we would be glad to help you implement a program that provides real-time tracking of visitor behavior and purchasing patterns using any criteria you'd like.
By using your own website statistics software and setting goals and visitor criteria, you can identify in advance the qualities of a successful banner campaign.
For example, you may determine a qualified lead is a visitor who clicks on your banner and makes a purchase, goes to a particular point on your site, completes a subscription or registration form, or spends a minimum amount of time on your site.
With these tools, Kethyr Solutions can help you determine the ads that most effectively draw the right type of traffic to your website and continually improve your campaign's performance and results.
Contact Kethyr Solutions today for more information or call us toll-free at 888-538-4971.
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