As you browse the internet, you probably get annoyed by intrusive display ads. You might even ignore them completely. And you're not alone: A study found that 86% of consumers suffer from "banner blindness" – where they can't even recall the last banner ad they saw. And these days, a lot of people are going out of their way to avoid display ads by using ad blockers.
But while you can likely appreciate people's aversion to banner ads, as someone who needs to market a business, you understand their value and need people to pay attention to them – if only for a split second. In fact, display ads make up a large piece of the advertising pie, allowing you to target an audience across multiple devices and channels. From video to animation to pop-ups, you need display ads, and you need them to be effective.
So how do you combat banner blindness? We have three tips to help you bring your display advertising back to life.
1. Adhere to Best Practices
Like the rest of your marketing efforts, brand consistency is key with banner ads. Make sure your colors, fonts, and messaging match your brand. You want people to be able to quickly identify who the banner ad is coming from. Also, make sure your copy strikes the right tone to evoke the emotion you want people to feel – should they be inspired? Feel a sense of urgency? Be excited?
It sounds basic, but it's critical to have text you can read easily that contrasts with the background color. You want high-quality, relevant hero images (which also help to evoke an emotion) paired with a clear logo. You have a very small space to get across one major idea before someone looks away – so use your space wisely and have a message that's both compelling and easily digestible.
2. Increase Your Conversion Rates
There's no two ways about it: Your ads must be optimized for mobile. With up to 70% of web traffic occurring on a mobile device, if you're not thinking mobile-first, you're losing out on clicks and sales. Mobile-first means literally that: Design your smaller, mobile ads first and then scale them up from there for desktop sizes. When you're working with a small ad (320x50px is a common mobile ad size), it's important to keep the copy short and the CTA button clear.
Increasing conversion rates also means strategic targeting. Bigger is not always better when it comes to audience size – you want your targeting to be as specific as possible to ensure you're getting to the right people. You want to target people who are interested in your product or service, as well as those with buying power or influence.
3. Take Your Design to the Next Level
With the average person seeing around 60 display ads per day, you need to do everything you can to stand out. One way to go about this is to use rich media, e.g., video, audio, and anything that helps your audience interact with your ad. Keep in mind, however, that a majority of people will likely be viewing your ad without their sound on – so if you're using a video, it's wise to add captions and a strong visual CTA at the end.
Using animation can also help grab people's attention and drive your message home – but make sure it's not overwhelming. People are already annoyed by display ads, so try to make sure yours isn't the culprit.
When creating your ads, you want to maximize your space with an innovative design as well as display the most relevant information possible to your audience. And innovative doesn't have to mean complex – sometimes the simplest ads are the most effective.
Remember Your Goals
Naturally, the number one goal of display ads is to inspire people to stop, read, and click. It's to nurture people through the sales funnel (awareness, interest, decision, action). But remember that people in your various audiences can be at different points in that funnel. So when you're setting up your targeting, make sure to tailor your ads to where people are in their customer journey.
Aside from garnering clicks, many organizations are starting to see display campaigns as more of a general brand awareness exercise. Instead of click-through-rates being the be-all and end-all, businesses are emphasizing reach and impression stats as indicators of effectiveness. And it makes sense: The more people are seeing and recognizing your company's ads, the more they'll start to become aware of you and warm to the idea of becoming a customer.
As is the case with all marketing, don't be afraid to break convention and push your designs – just make sure you're testing your creative and tracking your stats to ensure you're running the most effective ads possible.