Did you know the banner ad is now 18 years old? In the beginning banner ads probably seemed like a great idea and you may have even put a budget for them in your business plan (small business lenders want to know where you’re spending your marketing dollars). But today, does anyone care about banner ads enough to click through?
The statistics tell both sides. Some studies show banner click-through rates of only .07 percent, but compared to other media, that’s not too bad. eMarketer estimates that paid search and banner ads garnered nearly 71 percent of all U.S. online ad spending in 2012, but projects that share will drop to 64.6 percent by 2016.
The trend seems to be going in the direction of rich media banner ads and banner ads for mobile sites—especially ads that embed interesting videos that tell a story about the merchant. When they’re innovative and used correctly, banner ads can still be very effective marketing and sales tools for small businesses. Static ads are less capital-intensive, but may not get the results you’re looking for. Here are some helpful tips to follow:
- Catch the viewer’s eye. Your banner ad shouldn’t blend in with the rest of the page. Depending on which site you’re advertising on, you may need to alter the look of the ad to stand out. And remember, if you can afford it, bigger is better.
- Be interactive. Create a poll, ask a question, create a game--prompting viewers to do some sort of action will get their attention more than a static message.
- Advertise on websites with a targeted message. You know your audience best. Pick websites where the focus of the site is very clear.
- Find out what sites your customers frequent and make sure your banner ad is in front of their eyes wherever they go.
- Don’t forget to create a banner ad for your business’s Facebook page. If customers are seeking you out on Facebook, they won’t mind seeing your banner ad. Be sure to change it often.
- When creating your banner ad for other websites, keep in mind size limitations. The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) specifies eight different banner sizes, according to pixel dimensions. The IAB's standard banner sizes are:
486 x 60 Pixels (Full Banner)
392 x 72 Pixels (Full Banner with Vertical Navigation Bar)
234 x 60 Pixels (Half Banner)
120 x 240 Pixels (Vertical Banner)
125 x 125 Pixels (Square Button)
120 x 90 Pixels (Button 1)
120 x60 Pixels (Button 2)
88 x 31 Pixels (Micro Button)
Consider joining a banner exchange program. If you want to get your banner ad on a lot of different sites, you can join a banner exchange program that posts your banner ad for you if you agree to post banner ads on your site. Usually, the arrangement is that you post two banner ads on your site for every one of yours posted on another site. Make sure you check reviews of these sites to see if members have had any problems.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.