Five Routes to Banner Ad Success
Here are my top five recommendations for how to engage with banners successfully.
Spend Your Time on Targeting
This gets complicated, fast. Not only do you have to have the right sites, but you must also determine the right pages, and in some cases, the perfect content for your advertising messages. Key targeting parameters: Audience makeup, site popularity, the content/context connection, other advertisers, and the “tent,” meaning the ad category. For instance, if you’re marketing financial services, your ads may find an audience on virtually any site under the “financial tent,” like real estate, insurance, and credit cards.
Be Specific With Your Creative Strategy
Working hand in hand with targeting, choose the right message for the site. Go deeper than a simple category creative. Use banner ads to sell product features and benefits. If you’ve done your targeting correctly, you can get down to real product specifics.
Use Rich Media
There are many excellent tools and formats available.
- Animated GIFs provide a simple and kilobyte-friendly platform to get longer messages in through multiframe refreshes.
- Flash is the platform choice for smoother, graphic-rich transitions, and you can add interactive tools like calculators, radio buttons, rollovers, music, etc.
- Video is even better: Give a product demonstration, take the user for a test-drive, tell a story.
If you don’t have rich media available, try adding it through a provider like Linkstorm. And don’t forget to inquire with the site(s) you’re considering whether certain media options are available, like page takeovers, pull-downs, and page morphs. Before you start creating, check IAB’s (Interactive
Advertising Bureau) rich media creative guidelines.
- Fight for the Right Placement
Where your ad appears on the page can be critical to its success. Go to Google’s AdSense help articles to see a “heat map” that indicates likelihood of viewership and response. But much depends on the type of site on which you’re advertising. If it is mostly editorial, then embedding the ad within the content may perform better than a standard leaderboard or bannerunit.
- Make Sure Chapter 2 is Ready to Go
Banner advertising is effective, when done right. But remember, it’s only the first step in a contextualized conversation between you and your prospects. So make sure you have the tools and the structures to continue the banner ad conversation both online and offline. That could mean driving click-throughs to landing pages, or to your website; from data capture forms to downloads; or to more content that tells more of your brand story.
Banner ads may not be at the top of the DM media consideration list, because most of us think of them as best suited to display, versus response. But give banner a try. Used properly, they can be a strong ROI contributor to any integrated campaign.