Love them or loathe them, banner ads are here to stay. So let’s make sure they work.
Digital adverting has long sought to distance itself from what is considered traditional advertising. But as the self confessed gurus have come to realise, the science that underpins traditional advertising thinking is equally relevant in the digital world.
Banner ads are an intrusive medium, so treat them as such. That means realising that your audience is not actively engaged with the banner from the outset. You have to work to get their attention.
Think of them as billboards at the side of the road. You have a limited window of opportunity to catch the attention of people who are not actively looking to engage with you but are on their way somewhere else. So make it worth their while to stop.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have a person’s attention – you don’t. You need to earn it.
60% of Mobile banner clicks are accidental
Fat thumb syndrome first made the headlines in January 2016 when a location based mobile and digital company found that the majority of mobile users were accidently clicking on mobile banner ads.
When they dug a little deeper however, they found that far from leading to a positive brand engagement, users were feeling frustrated and annoyed – negative feelings that were automatically transferred onto the brand that was responsible for the brand and un-welcomed intrusion.
Recognising the negative impact fat thumb syndrome can have, Ikea recently ran a campaign where they started by apologising to people who clicked on their banner ads.
Understanding the five to 10 word rule
One of the most common mistakes brands make is overloading digital banner ads with copy. They are not brochures.
Keep copy short and to the point. Research indicates that people can only process five words per second. So think about what you are saying and lead with your key message.
On average an animated banner ad will last 10 to 15 seconds and include multiple frames. But this is not an excuse to overload it with content. Remember – your banner ad is intruding on the users online experience so aim to get your message across as quickly as possible.
Logically, the above would also suggest that you don’t attempt to get people to do too many things. Have one clear objective for the banner ad and the end user.
Brand your shop window
Experience tells us that the most effective banner ads will have the brand logo and name in each and every frame. Simply put – this ensures that in the limited window of opportunity you have to engage, people will know who it is that is trying to reach them.
Is your banner ad part of a wider integrated campaign? If so it makes sense that your banner ad is recognisable as being part of that campaign. Think about colours, images, fonts etc.
Remember – if a person has already been exposed to the campaign through one of the other advertising channels within your wider strategy, your banner ad will have a degree of recognition and a backstory when they encounter it online. Capitalise on that.
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