If your goal is to deliver leads that you can tie back directly to your marketing investment, do not make banners the core of your enterprise B2B marketing program. Period.
Lead generation is still one of the top objectives of enterprise B2B marketers and many B2B publishers continue to propose banners as a way to deliver leads.
Publishers that continue to do this are doing a disservice to marketers that don’t know better and are losing the respect of those that do.
Banners don’t drive leads. Remember that.
B2B Banner Lead Generation Results
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Ok, here are how the numbers work out for different banner approaches targeting enterprise B2B audiences.
Can you do better than this? Maybe, and here are two things you can try, if you are determined. However, very few marketers will see a large enough improvement to justify making banners a core part of their program over search, content syndication, email or other stronger lead generation tactics.
- A great offer (not just content) can improve both click rates and registration rates.
- Welcome ads (those ads that interrupt you on the way to a page) and clickable site skins will dramatically improve your click rate, although visitors will have a higher bounce rate and your CPM will increase dramatically as well.
The vast majority of enterprise B2B marketers will not change the conclusion that the cost per lead from banner campaigns is simply too high to stomach until other alternatives have been maxed out.
The Fine Print
Every rule has an exception, in this case the exception is retargeting. Outside of retargeting, banners are only ok if someone clicking and filling out a form is NOT your goal.
Retargeting works for two reasons other banner tactics cannot replicate:
- It is your exact audience and they are already aware of you and have engaged with you. This increases click rates and conversion rates dramatically with a level of targeting no other solution can match.
- It is dirt cheap. With CPMs often below $2.00, price alone makes a huge difference.
The problem is, retargeting isn’t a scalable solution, it is limited by the traffic to your site and cannot reach new audiences.
One Last Time
Banners will not work if your objective is directly driving enterprise B2B leads.
Marketers, stop now if someone is recommending a banner program to drive leads. If you need help identifying alternatives, you can send me an email.
Publishers, stop chasing budgets with banner proposals that simply won’t pan out.
Do you agree? If so, spread the message. Share this post with every B2B marketer or media sales rep that needs to see it.
Banner supporters, sound off in the comments below or flame me on Twitter (@wittlake).