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Banner Bar Mysteries
by Brian Chmielewski
Banner advertising. What thoughts are conjured up in your mind when you
see these words? Depending on your role ( advertiser, broker or host ),
financial stake ( budget, commission or income )and experience with the medium, these two
words can elicit drastically different emotions.
With the industry average click-through rate and CPM price declining, it's easy to
assess that banner advertising is a miserable medium to participate in.
talking in averages. For every banner ad campaign that performs poorly,
there is an equal and opposite campaign to support banner bars as a
successful ad medium.
Many advertising banners earn unbelievable click-throughs AND sales. The simplicity of a message,
a standard color scheme, targeting and free offers are a few keys to strengthen any banners'
All too often on the Web, a statistic with an opinion originates from one
source, is picked up by subordinate sources and is eagerly transmitted for
mass consumption. Could this be the curse of the 1 percent rate now associated
with banner advertising? It's fair to say that banners are declining in
their effectiveness, not that they are dead as a means of marketing. Maybe the novelty of the
industry has worn off, forcing ad bar activity to adapt to its naturally
click rate. Here are some facts about the banner advertising industry gathered from the WebCMO
banner ad survey.
These statistics should sound unfamiliar to you since they tend to
contradict the declining confidence and prosperity of banners announced
throughout the Web. For
those who don't fit this profile and wish to take advantage of lower
prices and less competition for marketing via ad bar technologies, engage
your advertising dollars
in the per-click model. Increasing numbers of advertisers and ad hosts are
joining per-click networks as they vie for market share. The majority of
programs include creative development as part of their service and they
guarantee visitors to web sites, reducing the risk associated with the CPM
banner ad model.
- Only about 37 percent of the web businesses use online banner advertising frequently.
- Online banner users tend be those who started their web businesses earlier, have higher volume of site traffics, have higher promotional budgets and put larger portion of their total business budgets in their promotions;
- Generally speaking, online banner advertising has medium effects in generating traffics, generating sales and creating site images;
- Generating traffic and generating sales are two key reasons for online banner advertising satisfaction.
- Compared to non-banner users, banner users start their web business earlier, have higher volume of site traffic, have a greater promotional budget and spend a larger portion of their total budget on promotion.
- 38 percent of those surveyed earned 1 percent or below click-throughs, 29 percent saw between 1 and 2 percent and 34 percent achieved above 2 percent!!!
Building a Banner
What characteristics of a banner make it successful? Performing a comparison on banners that get clicks reveals some central traits that you should place in your creative.
For those who need help building a banner, Lycos' Tripod recently added a
truly unique feature for its members. Banner Builder offers members of the
free service a
simple four-step process to create aesthetically pleasing and functional
marketing banners. Users choose from one of six banner types, adding in
background color, font type, text color, and even upload images to
include. In only minutes users can complete the creation of a fairly
decent banner, which can be
immediately added to the Tripod network's banner exchange. Banner
Builder's final product is not the quality that you would get from a
banner designer like Gabriele
Design or BannerNetworks, but the cost can't be beat. These banners are
ideal to submit to banner exchange programs that you might join.
- Animation: Use this sparingly. Banners that used limited animation
saw results. The perception of three main action frames also worked
well. Banner frames were displayed long enough to capture the
- Message: Banners with concise messages that targeted specific
audiences and banners placed in the most appropriate settings
- Color: Banners that abused white backgrounds and primary colors
for text and color blocks performed better. The frugal use of color
seemed to satisfy click-through rates as well.
- Trickery banners ( i.e. faux pull-down menus and forms ) earned an
extremely high click-through rate, but low conversions.
The growing popularity of the per-click industry is apparent this holiday
season, as sales of the service rival opt-in direct email as the preferred
choice of marketers
to get their web site's message out. Another popular approach for filling
out banner ad inventory is the displaying of affiliate program banners in
rotation with paid
advertising. Many sites feel that the added value of potential commission
is well worth the free advertising that the affiliate owner receives.
Something is better than
It's unclear where banners are headed. Jupiter Communications reported
back in March that Java and other new technology banners are too costly to
most. For advertisers to embrace these new banner technologies, phenomenal
click-through rates must be earned to offset this higher development cost.
limited number of sites actually hoisting these banners into their HTML,
placement and targeting become inadequate. So, in an already click-unhappy
experimentation with new tech banners is heavily governed. It is clear
that many sites are experimenting with different shaped banner ads.
Research on the success of
these new-formed ad bars is forthcoming.
If you'd like to get guaranteed visitors to your site for the holidays,
visit the uPromote's CPC traffic service.
First published in WebPromote's newsletter.