You don’t have to look far to see some negative stats on banner ads. Some oft-cited studies have found that all important click through rates (CTRs), or the number of people who actually bother to engage with a banner ad, averages out to be only around .1% of those who see it.
Yikes. That number’s pretty close to zero, and at zero your ad may as well be invisible. However, while grim, it’s not the whole story. Even while new forms of advertising pop up, the banner ad still has its place. Follow along, and we’ll try and paint a brighter picture of banner advertising.
Even if CTRs are relatively low, let’s not forget the size of the population they’re applied to. An ad placed on a popular website can collect an incredible number of unique impressions very, very quickly. And while some naysayers point to adblocking plugins as cause for alarm, they’re not as widespread as you might think. On average, 90% of visitors will still see your ad.
Not only can banner ads reach a large audience, they can reach your audience. Carefully picking which sites to run your campaign on allows you to zero in on just the demographic most likely to be interested in your product or service.
No matter what community you want to engage with, it’s a near guarantee that you’ll find a site catering to them. Finding a good match will drive up CTRs, but more than that, it ups the odds of each click through becoming a buy. Banner ads do act as a filtering medium; while your average visitor likely won’t pay them much mind, those that do notice and engage with them come to your site already interested in what you have to say.
Even without taking CTRs into account, banner ads can still promote your companies image. They are, after all, banners, and they give you a chance to create a striking, visual statement. Visitors don’t have to click on a banner to be influenced by it – each person who even sees an ad will come away with an altered perception of the advertiser.
The unobtrusive nature of banner ads also means that plenty of people are going to see them. While noisy video ads or popups are liable to be closed before they’ve had a chance to do anything but annoy a viewer, banner ads nest right next to content.
And that gives you a chance to define your brand. Ads are your public face, make them attractive, and you’ll send a positive message about your company. That image might not immediately sell anything, but it can pay valuable dividends down the road.
The bottom line matters for everyone, but it’s extra confining for small businesses. Even if you think you may see better traction from a different online ad campaign, ROI is king. Truth is, banner ads are relatively cheap. Even a limited budget can get a banner designed, placed, and sending attention your way.
Ultimately, the strength of banner advertising may lie in the degree of control that companies have over them. Setting up an ad doesn’t require a full marketing agency or bottomless warchest. A good designer and a brainstorm can produce a solid banner.
Results are easy to track, and if they’re not up to scratch? Retool the campaign. It’s much easier to redesign a banner than it is to reshoot a corporate video, and you won’t wind up hammered by out of control costs.
At the end of the day, banner ads still have plenty of life left in them. If you’re looking for a versatile way to get your name out there, then saddle up, and start brainstorming. A good banner might be just what you need.
Tuan Nguyen is a bona-fide banner expert, and the founder of 20dollarBanners.com, as well as Aplusmedia, a web development and marketing agency.