This week am working on a project that includes banner ads. These need to promote the brand of the company on its website.
The question was: What kind of features should an ad have to help catch the attention of users and increase sales as well. Online Ads have to follow certain Best Practices in order to be profitable.
Primarily these Ads need to reflect the brand of the company while being effective at sales. On the other hand they should also be able to measure the attitude of the customer with regard to the brand.
A quantitative way to gauge the effectiveness of the banner ad would be pretty simple. Web metrics can capture the number of clicks that a banner attracts. Companies generally experiment with combinations of banner size, color and layout to get the best response from customers in terms of clicks.
However online banner ads cannot be considered successful based on clicks alone. The customers feel and attitude towards online banners is just as important if not more.
“As online marketers, we underestimate the level of commitment involved when a consumer clicks through to a website. The consumer is making several assessments in the blink of an eye — will this be a waste of time? Will the site I click to be safe? Will the information I seek be relevant? Will I get what I need efficiently? There is a risk vs. reward scenario that we all play out when deciding to interact with an online advertisement. If we rely too heavily on the website destination to do our talking, we will likely find that no one will be around to listen.”
The following are a few attributes that make successful ads and drive brand awareness.
Banner Clutter: Keep the banner simple, with a minimal amount of creative elements. The catch phrase should not be wordy. This will help increase brand awareness and the overall effectiveness of the ad.
Connect with the customer: The Ad needs to connect with the customer and make him/her feel that there is a connection between the webpage’s subject matter and the Ad.
Value for the customer: Customers generally have a condition called “banner blindness”. They will ignore an ad unless there is something in there for them. A crisp message with an invitation to the customer to rollover or click the ad should grab their attention.
Customer commitment: Though your ad might “call the customer to action” by having phrases like “Click here”, there needs to be a commitment from the customer’s side to make that click. As Scott Meldrum points out, the customer needs to be assured that clicking the ad will get them what it promises. Hence the ad should state WHY the customer should bother clicking. A special offer or a free gift would go a long way, especially with customers who are already aware of your product.