The average clickthrough rate (CTR) for Facebook ads is 0.05 percent, and display ads are 0.1 percent. In other words, only one or two people are clicking for every thousand impressions.
Even with these kinds of dismal response rates, advertisers are boosting their digital ad spends in 2013, and according to eMarketer, display will overtake search ads as the top online ad segment by 2015.
So should we pity the banner, or is there still hope?
As a marketer, I love looking at banners and seeing who's advertising what, where and how. So to answer my own question, I see the cup half full for display ads and believe they are still superior compared to billboards, print and television — if done right. This means decluttering and increasing the relevance to users.
With that said, I also believe that just building brand awareness on a 300 x 250 pixel square box is no longer enough to persuade prospective customers to click and buy. Rather, creating an emotional connection and building a relationship will. This is called brand affinity.
Here are three banners showing how companies use brand affinity to capture the hearts of consumers, create loyalty and ultimately get them thinking about the brand the next time they are ready to make a purchase.
Ikea, known for its DIY assembly, let users put together their own banner ad. How cool is that?! This campaign stands out because it's interactive and, most likely, everyone has at least one Allen key lying around at home, so we can definitely relate.
Cadbury celebrated reaching 1 million fans on Facebook by creating goodwill with a giant chocolate thumbs up. The thank you banner went viral as fans contributed by clicking to add their own piece of chocolate to the sculpture. We definitely “Like” this campaign!
In the competitive world of fashion, Michael Kors sets itself apart by featuring a girl-next-door type of model in her free-spirited, jet-setting lifestyle. After all, isn't that what life should be about? So hopefully, when it's time to splurge on a handbag, you will chose MK because you remember that girl and think she's hip and urban, just like you.
These are just a few examples of breakthrough campaigns that leverage brand affinity to create deep and meaningful relationships with consumers. So before you think banners are dead, think again. Perhaps with just a little more creativity and engagement, we can cure banner blindness.