Failures at Flash Banner Advertising

One of the many facets of my job is to help place banner ads online promoting a client’s campaign. When I first was hired for this job, I had limited experience in doing this, and the experience that I did have wasn’t anywhere near the same niche.

At first, I took the shotgun approach, placing banners everywhere and watching where they converted best. I tried various advertising networks, as well as contacting single sites.

I was giving them three different sized flash banners, and we rotated out different versions twice a month to try to stay fresh in the market, and reduce ad blindness. At the end of the campaign, the biggest takeaway was that banner advertising didn’t work well.

Our worst performing advertising was on Facebook, and this was for multiple reasons:

  • Our demographic was older 40+
  • Our ads had too much information
  • Our ads had a weak call to action
  • Our ads weren’t crafted for each of the sites we were targetting

The shameful part was that our best converting banner advertisement was still running a negative return on investment, which when compared to our search advertising’s positive ROI, I was left wondering if banner advertising is really worth the effort and cost?

While I still don’t have the answer, as my banner advertising campaigns are only now getting to a positive ROI after a year of tweaking, I do have some advice that might help you in your banner advertising creation and placement.

  • Animated ads always did better than static ones in my campaigns.
  • Promote three or less key messages. More might lead to impatience and confusion.
  • Make your call to action strong. People are very ad blind.
  • Customize your ads and message for the sites they’ll show on.
  • Keep your ads lightweight in terms of file size. People are impatient.
  • Make sure the sites you advertise on match up well with what you are selling. People don’t always browse the web with their wallet open.
  • Getting monetary conversions from social sites like Facebook is difficult. People suffer from a “what’s in it for me” condition.

The best advice that I can give you is to go out there and try different things. Record your results, adjust your strategy and test some more. With consumers quickly learning to ignore new tactics when coming across online marketing, we have to re-learn what strategies will be effective.

Lastly, if you are on a tight budget, I would recommend search advertising over network/single site banner advertising as the search is basically a pre-qualifier and delivers the right kind of traffic to your site if done right.

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