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4 Ways to Ensure a Bright Future for your Display Banners

banner blindness

Can you think of something that has been around for ages, is a rich source of information, and is meant to grab eyeballs? But, it is increasingly being met with glazed eyes. It can be extremely useful, and yet you find yourself ignoring it.

We are talking about the good old ad, of course. The world’s first advertisement was aired in the US in 1941. After the advent of the internet in the 90s, the first banner ad popped up nearly 30 years ago, a tiny little rectangle. About 44 percent of its viewers registered a click-through, and the world of advertisements was remade. It has since become more digital and diverse.

Banners: Not so Bright a Picture Today

Marketers continue to peg a huge part of their efforts and campaign goals on digital ads – both display and paid search. According to a 2018 study by Quantcast, over 75 percent of global direct brand marketers thought digital marketing was critical to their overall marketing efforts. While the worldwide digital ad spend saw a dip in growth last year, it’s expected to bounce back in 2021. 

But, on the other side, the picture is not too promising. The average CTR on banners (alongside other displays) has plummeted to 0.06%. Most customers don’t remember the online ads they have seen. A significant percentage of internet users have been constantly surveyed to swear against traditional banner advertising, and a large number dodge banners and other displays with ad-blockers.

So, what can marketers do to bridge this gap between investment and fulfillment? Can one continue to hope for a (better) future for banners? Are there specific steps that can be taken to fight the tide of ‘banner blindness’?

Why the Dip in Popularity?

To begin with, here are a few factors that are possibly contributing to banner blindness – which, as you’d know, refers to the prejudice against and consequent ignoring of banner ads by the larger percentage of browsers globally. They are important to understand the phenomenon and to figure out what can be done differently.

4 Things that Can Boost The Future of Banners

To fight the tide of banner blindness, there are a few fundamental things that marketers can continue to do or initiate.

1.Target sites and audiences

Banners should always be targeted at the right site and the proper audience. A good amount of research, to begin with, is the first step towards this goal. The design, content, and individual elements of a banner have to be tailored in line with the purpose and content of the site. They should also appeal to the demographics of the average browser of that site. Additionally, it would also serve to incentivize the ad for a higher CTR. Remarketing has proven to be an effective path to raise CTRs and direct users to a specific landing page. From the user perspective, it’s easier and more beneficial to click on a banner ad when it is promoting just the product they were searching for.

2. Make your banner stand out

The banner these days (no pun intended) has to pop. When these ads have become a dime a dozen, it stands to reason it needs to grab attention from the get-go. Design and size your banner such that it stands out from the surrounding content. The dimensions and the colors have to set it apart for the viewer. But, bear in mind, research shows a banner with integrated content (a form of content marketing, if you will) has a higher potential for clicks. So, a good banner ad has to still ‘merge’ with the site content. Additionally, the content of your banner has to be extremely well-crafted and targeted. The CTA has to be loud and clear and should address the UX factor of ‘what’s in it for me’ unfailingly.

3. Get your ad placement right

The positioning of your banner is equally important. It’s important to track the browsing pattern on a specific page before positioning high-potential ads. Front and center is generally prime ad estate for visibility, but there might be other sections receiving a good amount of engagement.  Studies also show that genuine content elements that have some ad-like traits tend to be ignored, too. So, if your banner is a legitimate piece of content marketing, make sure it’s in a spot that will catch the browser’s eye. You can go by the dictum of ‘F’ patterns of browsing, as shown by eye-tracking, and have your ad as a leaderboard banner at the page top.

4. Experiment with formats 

Today, there are a number of unique ad formats that marketers can choose from. These will definitely help you stand out, along with great placement of your ad. Users are far more likely to look at and engage with creative banners than with the traditional formats. Video ads, for example, see an average CTR of 1.84%, the highest click-through rate among all digital ad formats. Then, there are 360 ° degree ads, 3D photo ads, and AR ads, which have registered quite a bit of game-changing success. Banners can be executed with ease as HTML5, (software-agnostic and customized with logic to target user preferences), GIF (engaging and inexpensive), or static (clear CTA and unobtrusive) banners. They are easy to implement with the newer technologies and boost customer buy-in and sales at the end of the day. 

Check out this subtle yet impressive GIF banner created by Iterable:

Wrapping Up
So, our message: the good old banner ad is here to stay. Remember, digital content consumption and online shopping are two trends that are only set to grow and evolve in the coming decades. So, rest assured, your digital ad spending is always going to convert. Only, the design, logistics, and content of banners need to keep pace. Whether it’s mobile ads, new-gen banners with interactive content, or revolutionary designs – the way forward is constantly experimenting, ditching the tried-and-tested. But, also, don’t shy away from trying and testing! Adapt the A/B method at every turn, tweak and make your banners pop out and clicked through.   

Need expert guidance on restyling your banner-ad approach? Our professional and creative designers can help you customize.

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