|Banner ads are down but not out. The billboard-like
Internet ads that appear on web sites everywhere don't pull
the response they once did. Yet, today's much lower ad
prices are giving many businesses an affordable and
effective way to spread the word online.
Back in 1994 when the Web was new, as many as 40
percent of people who saw a banner ad clicked on it. As
time passed and banners became commonplace, response
rates dropped to 1 to 2 percent. Those figures are
comparable to what other media--radio, TV, newspapers,
and direct mail--can deliver.
Banner ad rates have dropped from $20 to reach 1,000
people a year ago to just five or six dollars today. Even
though the trendy luster of the Web has passed, there are
still millions of interested prospects to be found online. This
could be the best time ever for small and medium-sized
businesses to stock up on banner ads.
The Internet ad industry isn't taking response rates lying
down. Recently the Internet Advertising Bureau approved
standards for new, larger banners. The new "wide
skyscraper" size has already appeared on top sites and is
three times larger than what we are used to. Advertisers
hope the larger size will get reader attention, converting
Experts warn not to get caught up in the flash of new
banner technology. The quality of your offer and the clarity
of your message are still the main factors in getting results.
Here are five ways to make sure you banner gets attention
and pulls response:
* Your banner should ask the reader to take action.
Something as simple as putting "Click Now!" on your
banner can increase response.
* Use words that attract interest and create emotion. Free
and Special Offer are favorites. I like to start each line with
an action word. Buy, Save, Profit, and Rush work well.
* Push the main benefit your product or service provides.
Most advertisers forget this point and promote their
product's features. Show readers how a feature leads to
something that benefits their situation. The chrome fender
on the Gizmo 2000 saves time and reduces costs.
Animated banners pull better response than static ads. Sites
and banner networks usually have guidelines that help keep
your animated banners from becoming a turnoff. Keep your
ad size under 12k. Anything larger takes forever to load for
anyone using a slow dial-up line as almost 80 percent of
North Americans do.
If you use photos in your banner, keep them low resolution
so they load quickly. In many cases you can reduce the
standard 256 web-safe colors to just 16 for an even "lighter"
Animated banners step readers through two or three
successive panels. Put your most important message on the
first panel so those with slow connections don't miss out if
the second panel doesn't pop up before they click away. I
like to put the main offer on the first panel with a few
delicious details on the second.
If you banner is light and loads fast, feel free to have the
most important part of your message on the third panel.
For example: (1) Tired? (2) Feel better fast (3) Get
Before you commit big money to your banner ad campaign,
test your ad or ads with a 30 day trial run. Most banner
networks provide reliable statistics on how many people
have seen your ad (impressions) and how many clicked on it
to go to your site (click-throughs). You can also check the
server logs your web host provides to see where hits are
Pay close attention to the web page visitors are taken to
after they click on your banner. One of the biggest
complaints is users can't find information about the offer
they saw on the banner. Tailor a special page to correspond
with your banner. Make sure you give plenty of
information, ways for prospects to contact you, how to buy,
and what your product or service costs. Too many sites are
leaving these points out of their sales page, making this one
of the chief causes of lagging banner response.
Banner ads are the Internet's main advertising vehicle. Over
the next few years, as more and more people get fast
broadband Internet connections, we will see "rich media"
banners that look more like television.
Low ad prices and less competition makes this a great time
to promote your offer or name online. By following these
simple tips you can make banners a reliable part of your
About the Author
Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice and copywriting.
See his 10,000 marketing ideas and popular promotion
packages at http://DrNunley.com Reach Kevin at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-328-9006.
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