How To Get Great Buys On Banner Ads And Make Them Produce
Banner ads are down but not out. The billboard-like Internet ads
that appear on web sites everywhere don't pull the response they
once did. Yet, today's much lower ad prices are giving many
businesses an affordable and effective way to spread the word
Back in 1994 when the Web was new, as many as 40 percent of
people who saw a banner ad clicked on it. As time passed and
banners became commonplace, response rates dropped to 1 to 2
percent. Those figures are comparable to what other
media--radio, TV, newspapers, and direct mail--can deliver.
Banner ad rates have dropped from $20 to reach 1,000 people a
year ago to just five or six dollars today. Even though the
trendy luster of the Web has passed, there are still millions of
interested prospects to be found online. This could be the best
time ever for small and medium-sized businesses to stock up on
The Internet ad industry isn't taking response rates lying down.
Recently the Internet Advertising Bureau approved standards for
new, larger banners. The new "wide skyscraper" size has already
appeared on top sites and is three times larger than what we are
used to. Advertisers hope the larger size will get reader
attention, converting more sales.
Experts warn not to get caught up in the flash of new banner
technology. The quality of your offer and the clarity of your
message are still the main factors in getting results. Here are
five ways to make sure you banner gets attention and pulls
* Your banner should ask the reader to take action. Something as
simple as putting "Click Now!" on your banner can increase
* Use words that attract interest and create emotion. Free and
Special Offer are favorites. I like to start each line with an
action word. Buy, Save, Profit, and Rush work well.
* Push the main benefit your product or service provides. Most
advertisers forget this point and promote their product's
features. Show readers how a feature leads to something that
benefits their situation. The chrome fender on the Gizmo 2000
saves time and reduces costs.
Animated banners pull better response than static ads. Sites and
banner networks usually have guidelines that help keep your
animated banners from becoming a turnoff. Keep your ad size
under 12k. Anything larger takes forever to load for anyone
using a slow dial-up line as almost 80 percent of North
If you use photos in your banner, keep them low resolution so
they load quickly. In many cases you can reduce the standard 256
web-safe colors to just 16 for an even "lighter" banner.
Animated banners step readers through two or three successive
panels. Put your most important message on the first panel so
those with slow connections don't miss out if the second panel
doesn't pop up before they click away. I like to put the main
offer on the first panel with a few delicious details on the
If you banner is light and loads fast, feel free to have the
most important part of your message on the third panel. For
example: (1) Tired? (2) Feel better fast (3) Get
Before you commit big money to your banner ad campaign, test
your ad or ads with a 30 day trial run. Most banner networks
provide reliable statistics on how many people have seen your ad
(impressions) and how many clicked on it to go to your site
(click-throughs). You can also check the server logs your web
host provides to see where hits are coming from.
Pay close attention to the web page visitors are taken to after
they click on your banner. One of the biggest complaints is
users can't find information about the offer they saw on the
banner. Tailor a special page to correspond with your banner.
Make sure you give plenty of information, ways for prospects to
contact you, how to buy, and what your product or service costs.
Too many sites are leaving these points out of their sales page,
making this one of the chief causes of lagging banner response.
Banner ads are the Internet's main advertising vehicle. Over the
next few years, as more and more people get fast broadband
Internet connections, we will see "rich media" banners that look
more like television.
Low ad prices and less competition makes this a great time to
promote your offer or name online. By following these simple
tips you can make banners a reliable part of your marketing