(And What to do to Fix It)
Banner advertisements hold a weird spot for marketers. One the one hand, they are obviously popular because they are everywhere, in a wide range of shapes and colors. On the other hand, marketers hate them because they have become boring, completely removed from what the consumer does and wants, and only rarely work. In fact, most people have developed banner blindness in reaction to the early pushy advertisements. Studies done into how advertising has been changing and evolving has clearly pointed to the banner ad as being one of the more futile forms of advertising, mainly because it just wont’ get out of its rut! In order to see how banner ads can be fixed to be more workable, it’s important to see why they don’t work so well.
Sure it’s pretty, but does it work? Will it stand out in a site?
Why Banner Ads Are Awful
Banner ads may be popular, but they have some serious problems that start with the way they are treated by the marketer and by the agency that creates them. The problem is not in the humble banner ad, it’s in the fact that we still haven’t allowed them to evolve and change to fit the internet. The ‘net is a very different publishing medium than a newspaper or magazine and so the advertising that is found on it and is successful, must also be different.
When people sit down to create banner ads, they treat it the same way they treat something like a commercial. There are storyboards, several revisions, and finally the banner ad comes out, usually costing quite a bit of time, money and effort for very little pay off. In the business world, this is a very bad thing! You wouldn’t generally commit a ton of money and time and effort to something that only pays a fraction back and yet we see this happening with banner ads all the time.
The other major problem with banner ads is how they are treated: they are treated as though they are commercials with 15 seconds of attention and nothing distracting people from them. This just isn’t so! In the world of the internet, the average attention span sits at about three to seven seconds and furthermore, your banner ad is competing with other advertisements and of course the thing that the web browser went to that particular site for, usually information. It’s no wonder that banner ads which are created in the same blah fashion are ignored far more often than not.
How to Create GOOD Banner Ads
Now, obviously you are probably not going to stop creating banner ads; they are too useful and too much a part of the internet landscape to ignore. In order to make this advertising format successful, you have to change how you do the banner ad from the very beginning. A banner ad should:
-Get its message across in three seconds
-Be able to gets its message across even while competing with other information
-Have a nice logo which is animated
-Stop spending so much time and money on it!
A banner ad must be created in such a way that it gets its message across quickly and it must be created in tandem with other information, not in a vacuum. The best way to do this is to create a few banner ads and then plunk them in a test webpage that is full of information and a few other ads and see how eye-catching and attractive it is. Simply creating the banner ad and placing it on a blank screen will not do the trick.
And you don’t have to spend a ton of time and money on each banner ad; there’s no point to it. Banner advertising should only represent a small part of your marketing strategy and thus it should only take up a small part of your budget. Basically, you should be able to tell your advertising agency who you are, what you want your main message to be and then get a banner ad back that is affordable and done in a reasonable amount of time. Don’t sweat over it; banner ads are not the most important part of your marketing strategy (at least, they better not be!)
When it comes to banner ads, it is definitely time to change our thinking. Banner ads for the internet are not geared to be commercials, works of art or serious investments. They are instead, a snippet of information meant to entice someone to come to your site in order to learn more. They are meant to be cheap, fairly easy to create, and still stand out in a crowd. Keep this mentality in mind instead of trying to make the banner ad into a work of art that tells an epic story and you’ll find that your ads are cheaper, easier and more effective overall. The humble banner advertisement need not be hated; change your attitude towards their creation and you will find that banner ads can really work well for you.