5 Ways To End Banner Blindness

It’s obvious why some of us don’t like online ads. In this day and age, we search the Web for what we want and don’t enjoy being distracted by miscellaneous ads. However, when presented at the right time to the right person, targeted online ads can help us research products, save money, update us on our favorite brands and lead us to new ones we would like.

A recent Adweek Media study found that as many as 43% of consumers ignore online display ads. However, since display ads are the second-largest online marketing channel, according to the IAB, marketers need to make fighting “banner blindness” one of their top priorities in order to make those budget dollars pay off.

For your next banner campaign, keep these five tips in mind to combat banner blindness:

1.Timing and Placement Are Key: Banner ads need to be delivered at a time when the reader is compelled to take action. Even a well-designed and perfectly targeted banner ad may attract eyeballs, but won’t necessarily convert the view into an action because the reader isn’t looking for product information at that point in time. As for ad location, most Internet-savvy people look at Web sites in an F-shaped pattern, merely scanning the top before directing their gaze to the middle of the page where the majority of the content appears. Therefore, it would make sense to start placing your ads in those locations.

2. Surprise the Consumer: Advertisers and agencies must be innovative within the small banner ad space they are given by doing something that’s truly a first. Many consumers have trained themselves to ignore ads, but if you catch them off guard with an innovative one, they will be more likely to convert. A great tool to use is Flash, which gives you the ability to have animation that engages the consumer while keeping the file size low. However, be sure not to use the technique purely for distraction; Flash banners must be used to convey your messages effectively.

3. Take Advantage of Remarketing: The ability to reconnect with people who have previously visited your business is a technology unique to the Internet. Therefore, you should use banner space to target these past visitors because they are already familiar with your brand. The best part of remarketing is that it is aimed at the most vital target of an advertiser -- its own audience. Remarketing helps consumers see banner ads that are more relevant to their individual interests, so the more sites they visit that use remarketing, the more relevant their banner ad experience will become.

4. Give People What They Want: Promotions! Bringing your ads to a higher click-through rate than the industry average of .09% means placing enticing promotions and offers into the banner. Groupon and LivingSocial have done a great job of this, and have enjoyed enormous success. It forces advertisers to give the best possible offer to get new clients to buy their product or service, often at a loss to the advertiser. While 50% or 60% is pushing it, what about 15% or free shipping? If you want a consumer to buy your product for the first time, you need to offer them a great reason to click on the banner.

5. Use Creative Artwork: According to research performed by Franck Largeault, banners composed of artwork have a much stronger effect on memory and future recognition than banners that only consist of links or text. Visual banner ads have almost double the impact of textual ads. If ad creative design is boring, you’ll know if because consumers won’t click on the banner. You need to change it up to really stand out and capture consumers’ attention!

In the beginning, banner ads were the primary form of online advertising, much like commercials were on television. However, just as TV commercials lost their effectiveness with the invention of the DVR, banner ads began losing their effectiveness as online consumers became accustomed to ads on Web pages and began to ignore those areas.

After a decade-plus of fake giveaways, pop the balloon with darts, ad games and countless other annoying tricks, you’d think there would be complete banner blindness from all consumers. However, digital advertising is here to stay. While banner blindness is getting worse, the good news is that there is still time to fix this problem. Companies need to learn how to rise above the noise and capture the consumers’ attention despite their learned indifference.  

1 comment about "5 Ways To End Banner Blindness".
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  1. Rafael Cosentino from Telanya, October 27, 2011 at 3:37 p.m.

    Good advice. The alternative route to ending your target banner blindness is simply to not just use “banners”. We find that standard size ads (300x250, 728x90, 300x600 etc) in standard page positions (top of page, right rail and footer) do not perform nearly as well as non-standard sizes in non-standard page positions.

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