If you've been noticing that you’re just not getting any click-throughs on your banner ads, you’re not alone. People have grown weary of ads that don’t speak to them or interrupt their reading activities.
But there’s hope. Along with outlining some of the most common reasons why banner ads are ignored, we’ve included food for thought on how to make the whole advertising experience better for your readers to begin with.
People Aren't Click on Your Banner Ads Because...
Did you serve someone an ad that wasn’t the right match, like showing a baseball mitt to someone when they play football? If you aren’t making the best use of your user data, targeting content to people who will most likely find it useful is going to be difficult. Build lists of readers based on contact property rules from your database (geographic regions, job titles, or any other information volunteered from a form on your site). This allows you to target more specific and relevant ads to certain readers, and swap out banner content based on given criteria of each segment. Keep in mind that even the best banner ads can only resonate so much with a reader, as compared to an educational piece of content or an offer with deeper relevance.
We all remember the first banner ads—virtual flashing neon signs that made you twitch while trying to find information the web. Some banner ads haven’t evolved very far. If you’re too “in the way” of a reader doing what they came to your site to do, not only will you see low engagement on your ad, but you may even push people off your site altogether. Remember, people don’t want to be sold to. Ads that don’t feel like ads will likely be more well-received than those that don't. Hence, the rising popularity of native advertising. Dedicate resources to ad design, and be sure to use language and CTAs that say more than, "buy now."
They’re Not In-Line With Purchase Intent
The message conveyed in your ad should be tied to the stage your readers are at in the buyer's journey. Use dynamic content to vary your banner ads based on lists of readers who already meet a certain activity criteria, such as a previous ebook download or a current customer. As a publisher, you can use a number of cues from your own site or database to trigger your dynamic content. For instance, when a first-time reader lands on your site, you can show them an ad for an ebook. Once they've downloaded that offer, the next time they return to your site, the ad can now offer a webinar. Once they attend that, your smart content could then serve an ad to schedule a call with a sales rep.
They’re Not Mobile Optimized
On a site that isn’t mobile optimized, users need to pinch and expand just to read what’s on a banner ad.The likely response? Readers either click ads on accident, or ignore them completely. To make matters worse, it’s a very real possibility that ad-blocking technology, which is becoming more and more common on mobile, may result in a serious decline in your banner ads being served altogether. One simple way to avoid this? Build a website that is mobile optimized, and rely on on-site CTAs or in-line native text links to elicit clicks for your advertising and marketing campaigns.
They Don't Provide Value to the Reader
If your banner ads don’t clearly indicate how they’re helping the reader, people will move on. Instead of traditional banner ads, consider using that space to house CTAs for a content offer. This provides your readers with motivation to actually stop and click by putting the customer's needs first, allowing you to understand what their pain points are so you can offer the right solution. This may require a little extra effort on your part to think about the customer's needs as compared to the just your advertisers', but in the end it helps guide buying decisions and garner long-term trust.
When your readers see something they like, something they think will enhance their lives in some way, they’re going to be more apt to click. With happier readers who find banner ads helpful rather than hurtful, you create a win-win situation for your advertisers, readers, and publication.
Originally published Aug 27, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017