Banner Blinders

Jason SteeleBy Jason Steele
on November 17th, 2011

Display ads are everywhere on the wide wide world of web. No matter what site you visit odds are you will see a full banner, leaderboard, sky scraper, push-down, pop-under, medium rectangle, half-page, and/or square button. Subsequently, because consumers are blinded by banners they have turned a blind eye to them; which is unfortunate because targeted ads, when presented to the right person, can help them save money and time.

A recent Adweek Media study found that 43% of consumers ignore online display ads. So what can an advertiser do to fight the banner blinders? has 5 helpful tips:

1) Timing and Placement – If the user has recently been searching for shoes then behaviorally targeted ads for shoes are more likely to get noticed by the consumer than say… a dancing baby trying to peddle low-interest mortgage rates. If you can behaviorally target the consumer, do so. In addition most people look at leaderboards first, then ads in the middle of the page so placement in those areas are key.

2) Keep it fresh but simple – Since most people glaze over ads it’s important that they be eye-grabbing but not eye-gouging. Something to catch their attention and pique their interest while being subtle goes a lot further than flashing, beeping, distracting flash-heavy garbage (see: above dancing baby)

3) Welcome repeat customers – The term ‘remarketing’ means to target consumers who have previously visited your business or engaged your ad. Remarketing helps consumers see banners that are more relevant so serving them a banner with content that they’ve previously interacted with or related content helps aid in retention. A happy customer is a, well…happy customer.

4) Promote Promotions – If you are going to have a cover page or overlay on your banner don’t just use it to show your logo, have a promotion or offer. Free shipping, 15% off, loyalty program, free test drive, etc. Give the consumer a reason to engage your ad otherwise instead of turning on and tuning in, they will just drop out.

5) Be creative with your creative – Banners with art have a much higher engagement rate, a stronger effect on memory and future recognition than banners that only have text or links. According to research done by Franck Largeault visual ads have double the impact of textual ads. Even so, this creative should be refreshed often so that repeat customers don’t become blind to it.

Keeping consumers interested in banner ads and actively engaging them is difficult but not impossible. Video Merchandising is the key. Putting your goods directly in front of the consumer where they can see and potentially purchase the product elicits high engagement rates in the double digits!

Just remember, don’t go overboard with requiring the consumer interact with the banner ad before your product is identified, e.g. a flash heavy shooting gallery game that takes 30 seconds before it showcases your brand could actually be a company killer. Unless it’s a game where you shoot that damn dancing baby, that might work well.

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