3 Tips to Help Your Banner Ads Reach Their Full Potential
Here’s what we’ve learned by testing over 100k banner ads on how to increase revenues with display advertising.
(Posts initially published on August 21, September 4, and September 11, 2013. Updated and merged on September 18, 2019.)
Banners are still one of the most efficient ways to generate leads and sales for just about any Internet marketing campaign.
That is true for mainstream advertising and it is particularly true for what matters to us here: the adult market.
Indeed, if you use a website or a blog, or if you’re buying ad space on other websites, banners are your bread and butter!
Whether you choose to design your own or use one of the hundreds of custom-designed banners we have, it’s up to you. Just keep in mind, ours are free and tested…
Although they look good, good looks are not a banner’s most important quality. Of course pretty ones with a kick ass call-to-action is always nice. If you’re designing your own you should definitely make sure you’re designing a quality product.
But performance is what you’re really looking for in a banner. If people are clicking on a banner, that means it’s doing its job. Simple as that.
And if you want your banner to perform, your number one priority is to make sure it flourishes in the right environment. We want you to have success so we got something for you:
Follow these three simple tips to help your banner ads reach their full performance potential.
Tip # 1 – Where To Display Your Banner Ads…
…If You Are a Webmaster
Make sure your banner is fully visible to all the right users. Having your ad above the fold is extremely important! When your traffic first visits, you don’t want to have them have to scroll down just to see your banner.
Fully visible banners = better performance.
Do a little research, visit a few websites and you’ll see that a lot of webmasters fall short on this.
Of course, you’ll probably want to post more than one banner. You’re still going to want the banners that are the focus of your campaign to fully appear on the main pages of your site without having to scroll down.
Here’s a trick for you: Use different banner sizes so ad spaces go hand in hand with the design of your site. Leaderboard, top right square or front, pop up, or IMads: you have multiple options when it comes to banners.
You’ll also want to position your banners in a way where there won’t be parts of them missing, where banners don’t overlap each other, or get in the way of clickable thumbnails or links.
… If You Are a Media Buyer
Buying ad space on other websites? Make sure that you get your money’s worth.
If you get charged prime spot rates to post your banner ads, it has to be a real prime spot.
If your banner ad doesn’t fully appear on the homepage, then it’s not a prime spot. There’s nothing wrong with non-prime spots, as long as you pay the right price (hint.. a lot less!)
You also need to know where your banner ads are published. Do your banners get printed on pages that have content that’s compatible with the products you’re trying to sell?
For example, if you place banners that advertise 18 year old live cams girls on a tube site and they always end up appearing on the “mature” category pages, then you might not get the results you’re hoping for…
It pays to know at all times what’s being advertised on the same page as your ads. If possible, aim for niche exclusivity. You’ll get better performance from your banners if you’re the only one advertising a certain type of product.
And if you wanna go even further in your banner optimization, check out the 5 Things all Winning Banners Have in Common.
Tip # 2 – How to Avoid Banner Ad Blindness
Avoiding banner blindness is a crucial element of a successful campaign because a large majority of internet users have become blind to advertising of this nature due to immense overexposure.
Getting noticed and getting your visitors to perform actions with your ads is trickier than it used to be… so what can you do about it?
Well, if you want people to see your banners you can try either of these contrasting strategies:
Feature a Banner Ad That Clashes With Its Environment
Use contrasting colors (e.g., a pink banner against a grey background).
Or try the minimalist approach by designing a banner with just two words on a page full of text for more of an effect.
Don’t be afraid to use banners that are identifiable.
People who click on them will do so because they’re interested in the product you’re promoting. If there’s a logo and a sales pitch, visitors will know what they’re getting into, and it will have a positive influence on your earnings-per-click (EPC).
For media buyers, try using such banners on your CPC (Cost Per Click) buys to increase your ROI. These banners have a low CTR (Click Through Rate) because people know that they are clicking on an ad. And that’s why they also have a great conversion rate!
Try to avoid flashing, aggressive banners. While these kinds of ads may get noticed, they usually just turn people off. Something basic yet noticeable will do much better.
Make Your Ad Look Like It’s Part of the Page’s Content
A simple way to do this is to design a banner that looks like one of your video thumbnail links, and to put it at the top of the list. If you want this to work you have to be careful about a few things:
- Your banner has to really look like the other thumbnail links, which shouldn’t be too hard to do if you designed your site or blog yourself.
- Your “hidden” banner should lead the visitor to an offer or landing page that has content that is similar to the rest of the content on the page. Be consistent with what you’re selling in your copy. The user clicks the thumbs on the landing page because it’s what he wants to see.
- Don’t over do it! If your visitors are redirected all over the place and can’t tell the difference between ads and content, well… they’re just going to leave.
You want to expose your visitors to ads, but you also want them to enjoy and spend time on your website.
Don’t be pushy, either: Too many ads and your visitors will flee after just a few seconds.
For media buyers, the CTR for these kinds of banners is usually really high and if you buy your spot using a CPC method, you’ll pay a lot of money for your impression. Use this trick with CPM (Cost Per Mille) buys to increase the amount of clicks by 1000 impressions.
You’ll have to make the final call as to which banner suits the type of traffic you have.
To ease your decision making process, do some AB testing on your banner before using it to check its effectiveness.
Tip # 3 – Your Banner Ads Should Lead, Not Mislead
When you feature a banner advertisement, your first goal is to get visitors to click on it… obviously!
But the banner’s job doesn’t stop there. A good, efficient banner should take visitors a little further.
Once visitors click on a banner and are taken to a specific offer, there’s still one crucial action left for them to do: they have to whip out that credit card and/ or buy products to generate a conversion…that’s the REAL goal!
If you’re getting clicks but no leads or conversions, that may be a telltale sign that your banner isn’t quite up to the task.
So, how can you make your banners finish the job?
They should have the same qualities as a good salesman: convincing but honest.
Having you stay clear from misleading ads is also part of Google Compliant Ads policy, which is important to say the least.
Here’s a little video that will show you what Google considers misleading in a banner ad:
Use a Strong yet Honest Call To Action
They’re a not so subtle, yet incredibly efficient way to get people to engage in the action you want them to do…. time and time again.
If you’re designing your own banners, you should always have a strong call-to-action, something that makes visitors “have” to click on your banner ads.
Using CrakRevenue’s banners? All of them have tried and tested CTAs, but it’s up to you to choose the one that fits your traffic best.
If your CTA promises access to free mud wrestling videos, there better be free mud wrestling videos, or at least something similar in the product you’re promoting.
For PPL, PPS or Revshare programs, you want to attract visitors that are likely to make a move on the offer, not just click and not follow through.
You’re better off using a straight to the point, honest CTA that is faithful to the offer you’re promoting.
Don’t Blind Lead
If you have a banner that promises something and leads to a signup form before the user even gets a chance to see what the product is about… that’s called blind leading.
The visitor will often sign up because he’s expecting to get what was promised to him in the banner. If signing up gives him access to what the banner promised, he might become a paying customer.
But, if your banner ads deliberately promises something that the offer can’t deliver, just to get the visitor to sign up, there are very slim chances that the visitor will ever make a purchase.
If you get PPS or Revshare payouts, blind leading is totally useless. On the other hand, with PPL payouts, you might make a few bucks, but you’re not exactly building a long term quality business relationship with the sponsor…
If you want to build a long-term profitable business, you have to produce quality leads that end up spending money.
In other words: your banner should be an accurate preview of the actual offer, and visitors should only be invited to sign up once they have had a chance to see whether the product is what they’re looking for.
Let’s add some context…
Blind Leading in Media Buying
Media Buying tip #238: If you mislead the user, you’ll lose money in the process.
Media buy is divided into two distinct parts: Buying and Selling.
For this example, we’ll focus on the former.
Buying : When we talk about buying, the two most popular buying options are CPM and CPC.
Cost per Mille (CPM) – When you buy CPM you want to have the best click through rate (CTR) for each 1000 impressions. But if on every click the visitor isn’t redirected to a page that’s related to what your banners advertise, he’ll go back and you’ll automatically lose an opportunity to convert. So, you have to find the right balance between the CTR and converting to optimise your CPM spot.
Cost per Click (CPC) – Misleading potential clients on CPC platforms is a big problem for many media buyers, because it can result in money lost.
Here are some hypothetical (yet very realistic) numbers to demonstrate that point and illustrate how you can improve your ROI with good banner ads:
Best Banner Ads Practices in a Nutshell
The CTR matters a lot in the efficiency of your banner ads, but it’s not the only thing to take into account.
At CrakRevenue, we’ve tested more than 100,000 banners over the years. And you know which ones were profitable? The ones that adhered to all 3 tips above.
So if you happen to struggle to find the right banner for an offer, don’t hesitate to ask your affiliate manager, we certainly have a winning banner available for you website or the ad spot you purchased.