It’s no secret that conventional advertising is not as effective as it used to be. Even though digital ad spend increases every year, an average conversion rate hovers somewhere between 2-4 percent. If you get anywhere between the 5-10 percent range, that’s like winning the lottery. So then what’s a marketer to do to boost these conversion rates?

What types of ads are currently available for marketers?
Depending on your marketing goal and ad budget, you have a plethora of choices from which you can choose to get your message out to consumers. Common ad types available for marketers include:

  • Search ads: Includes a headline, a small description, and a call-to-action (CTA) text. They are integrated directly in search results, thus providing a seamless ad experience for consumers looking for products in search results.
  • Display ads: Includes text and images. Served in content-related websites, display ads have one level of interaction that leads consumers from the ad to a landing page.
  • Social ads: Includes text and image, served either on the side of the page or directly on consumers’ News Feeds. Social ads can serve multiple purposes, such as gaining new followers or driving traffic to an external landing page.

However, these ads aren’t all that effective. Take these statistics:

It comes as no surprise that some marketers are speculating that the banner ad is dead. With the average person getting served over 1,700 banner ads per month, people are over-saturated with ads and have developed “banner blindness.”

Irritated with obtrusive ads that interrupt their Web experience, people either no longer see these ads or simply are choosing not to engage with it, thus resulting in lower click-through-rates (CTR), less site traffic, and wasted ad spend.

So what are alternatives to display advertising?
As technology becomes more integrated with real life, marketers must concurrently adjust their ad strategyto create a positive user experience that will persuade consumers to pay attention to their ad over the thousands others served to them. Enter rich media ads.

Relatively new to the ad scene in comparison to search and display advertising are rich media ads, which are more advanced and creative than standard ad banners. Rich media ads can contain multiple levels of animated content like video, games, sound effects, or puzzles, creating a more interactive – and overall more engaging – ad experience for consumers. Another advantage is that they can be served on all platforms.

Rich media ads not only hold consumers’ attention better but also lead to statistically higher CTR. In fact, studies reveal that users are three times more likely to browse a site after viewing a rich media banner over a standard ad, resulting in increased view-through and conversion rates.

There is also a bigger push for promoted content that integrates seamlessly with publishers’ content. Taking a page out of the social media advertising handbook, sites like BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, and even The New York Times are running “promoted posts,” which are stories sponsored by brands. You can tell whether a story is a native ad if it has a small and sleek marker at the top of the article that says “Sponsored.”

However, don’t shift over your ad dollars to sponsored ads just yet. Although consumers are 52 percent more likely to look at native ads than banner ads, stats on consumer sentiment regarding native ads show that 51 percent of consumers who see native ads are skeptical about clicking and 49 percent are concerned that reputable publications are publishing native ads.

In an increasingly ad-less society, how do you create an effective ad?

  • Emphasize your brand, not a conversion– Pushing people to buy, buy, buy will not endear them to your ad. Instead, ads that intentionally utilize specific emotions are not only more memorable but are also more likely to move consumers to convert. They show consumers a lifestyle, a feeling, or an identity that can only be achieved with their product.
  • Give consumers a choice – Don’t force them to like your Facebook page or to leave the page they’re on when they don’t want to. In a time when consumers are already slightly skeptical of advertising, give them a clear and defined choice when they see your ad.
  • Don’t be annoying – No matter what type of ad you decide to create, it’s important that your ad is the least disruptive to a consumer’s online experience. There is nothing more off-putting – and more irritating – than an ad that keeps coming back, no matter how many times you click close.
  • Personalize your ads – There is nothing worse than seeing an ad that advertises a product for men… when you’re a woman (or vice versa). To increase your CTR, customize your ads for every audience segment, based on demographic, location, or behavior. To make the process less cumbersome, try utilizing dynamic creative ads, which displays different ads based on the consumer segment.

As consumers’ attention spans wane and their propensity to ignore an ad becomes more common, it’s important that your ads are targeted to their interests and personalized to match their needs in order to get that quality engagement your ad needs to get that coveted high ROI.