Posted on 4/7/2020 in Digital Marketing

By Ryan MacQuarrie

I overheard an important question the other day, posed by one of my coworkers:

When was the last time you actually clicked on a banner ad?

As a Digital Marketing Strategist, that does a lot of work in the Google Display Network (GDN), I certainly had some thoughts on this, which led to another series of questions: 

  • Can you remember the last ad you saw? 
  • Can you even remember what the ad was for? 
  • Aside from the ads on your Instagram feed that freak you out because your phone is obviously listening to you, what was the last ad that YOU saw and remembered?

If you can’t remember, you may be experiencing a phenomenon called banner blindness. If you’re experiencing it, then there’s a good chance that your customers are as well.

While this isn’t a new concept, it is definitely one that you should be thinking about when you are trying to maximize your digital marketing budgets and stretch your dollars further. Studies show that as little as 14% of consumers remember the last ad they saw and the company or product it promoted.

Overcome Banner Blindness

Banner blindness might seem like a good enough reason to stop running your display campaign, but as marketing tools and technologies evolve, we are able to gather more and more comprehensive data about the people who are visiting and converting on our sites. With the increase of information, we are able to better gauge the effectiveness of banner ads on your display campaign and the rest of your digital marketing efforts.

1. Make Sure Your Banners Are Engaging and Relevant!

Back when the internet began, banner ads were not only irritating, but they often lead to a computer virus or four. Banners, as well as the internet, have come a long way since the '80s.

Now, successful marketers’ banners include a balance of information, attractiveness, a call to action, and strategically placed negative space. They also use relevant content, like keywords that are of interest to your main audience. There are no hard and fast rules about creating a great set of banners, but there is something to be said about creating a banner that looks trustworthy.

2. Have Fun With Your Banners and Experiment!

This is where A/B testing will be your best friend. Try out two or three concepts together and let the data guide you to determine which is performing the best. You should ask yourself:  

  • Has your CTR improved in any channel? 
  • Are you seeing higher traffic numbers or an increase in unique visitors? 
  • Have leads or sales overall increased? 

You can then use this information to determine which ad combinations are performing the best. Once you find a mix that works well, create new variations of that combination. Constant iteration is your friend. Always be testing, that’s our motto!

3. Think Mobile First

As we all know, mobile accounts for the lion share of digital traffic these days. One thing you might not know is that mobile banners typically have a higher CTR than desktop versions. In order to get the most out of your banners and avoid the inevitable blindness, you should implement a mobile-first strategy when designing your ads.

Mobile First

4. Try a Retargeting Campaign!

It’s not always about filling the top of the funnel. It’s just as important to pay attention to the lower part of the funnel as well. Once a visitor lands on your page, maybe researches your products but then drops off, you can serve them with relevant and engaging ads to help bring them back to your site and convert.

This is where it is so important to create those engaging ads with a clear call to action. This person has already visited your site, shown interest and you want to bring them back.

In Conclusion

Banner ads are still a very important part of advertising online. Don’t forget, your audience is there and you need to be using the space to its full potential in order to generate the clicks you are looking for. Try implementing the 4 strategies above and you’ll be well on your way to combating mobile banner blindness.

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