Why banner ads don't work?

From time to time people ask why their banners ads don’t work.
Well there is no simple answer but actually I am more surprised when people say there banners DO work..

But anyway apart from the obvious answer of terrible creative here are a few more pretty obvious (but then again people do keep asking so…) reasons:

– Ads not relevant: The content of the banner ad is not relevant to the viewer and not “compatible” the page on which it is seen.

– Too much flashy graphical imagery makes it look like an ad and mostly viewers are interested in content not ads. Contextual ads work better. Text is powerful.

– Bad positioning on the page. When the ad is placed too far away from the “interesting” page content. Try placing text links or banners/buttons in or near the page content.

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There are 6 comments .

Margus —

Forget “banner”. Question is about “Ad”. “Ad” is working or not – this is the question.

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Robin Gurney

Fair point Margus but to avoid confusion with offline lets say I should have said “digital/online display ads”.

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One thing I wouldn’t agree is “Too much flashy graphical imagery”. The fact is that you absolutely have to be extremely flashy, to stand out with a limited size banner, next to other attractive content… You have to attract eyeballs. And once you have the attention (mouseover or click or smth), you can start saying what you really wanted to say about your product. The easiest way to attract attention is still naked women, and it still works 🙂 But if your corporate image does not fit with bare flesh, your AD must do a bit more work to put out something attractive. And if he cannot deliver something that would be the most eye-catching element on the webpage, then banner advertising is just not feasible for you.

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Eyeballs are as attracted to the “flashiness” of the banner as much as the CTR or campaign efficiency is related to the level of technical innovation behind it. It helps, no doubt, but is far from the absolute truth.

Take a look at any of the studies – banners, that either mimic content or/and are related to the topic/content, get not only most of the clicks but the best quality of attention, especially if they are not overly flashy/blinking. Reason: brain views it as ‘possible content’ rather than dismissing immediately as ‘commercial’.

Eyetracking studies also demonstrate that faces and eyes – if the person on the photo is looking directly at you – get the best quality of attention (and as much as boobs).

But that is irrelevant – you do not need ANY traffic, you need the right kind of traffic. 3 clicks from people who all buy your product is better than 100 clicks from those who never will.

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