Outbound marketing or “interruption” marketing is not everyone’s favorite. For marketers, outbound marketing is less converting (but not less effective) than inbound. It requires more creative persuasion because you’re approaching the consumer with a pitch instead of the consumer approaching you for info. For web users, it’s a blatant interruption of watching the memes and funny cat videos, or worse, their remote work.
So the 2018 prediction that 30% of users would soon be using ad blockers was not a surprise. The move toward ad blockers seemed to be the end of online display advertising, and it certainly has spurred enough “display is dead!” declarations.
Even though ad blockers ended up eventually showing even higher results reaching 42%, still the annual rate of banner advertising is growing and is expected to gradually increase by about 4.4% over the next few years (more so in the mobile segment – up to 13%). So we’re here to tell you why you shouldn’t be so quick to forget what banner ads can do for your business.
What are display banners?
A banner ad, web banner, or display banner is an online outbound advertisement hosted by an ad server. The ad server embeds your ad into a web page according to your campaign strategy. The ad aims to attract attention, bring more traffic to your website, and increase conversions. Display banners cost roughly $1 per 1,000 impressions. That means you could have a conversion rate of 0.001%, earn only one dollar off your only customer, and still break even.
Why Display Banners Are Still Relevant Today
1. They generate major brand awareness
Banner ads get a bad rep much of the time because you don’t see high conversion on banner ads compared to some other forms of display advertising. A Think with Google study showed that 0.6% of banner views received a click-through, but that doesn’t mean banner ads aren’t converting. They’re just not converting right there on the page.
Banner ads generate brand awareness. Even when a viewer subconsciously sees the ad and doesn’t consciously register what was being advertised, he or she will be more likely to recognize your brand the next time it pops up, making him or her more likely to click. Video may be gaining serious online popularity, but there’s just no substitute for banner ads when it comes to repetitive, subconscious messaging.
2. They’re the most affordable display advertising available
Banner ads are the cheapest PPC-type advertising available today. They are cheaper to create and cheaper to share across multiple platforms. You can use digital publishing software to create your banner ads yourself or pay professionals for graphic design and copy (text).
Even if you choose to hire professionals, the costs will be low because of the small size and simplicity of the ad. Once your ad is created, you can partner with display ad networks to get it published or publish it yourself using software like ad server or DSP. Remember, it’s all about brand awareness. Make sure viewers can quickly understand who the ad represents and what you offer.
3. They help you target and qualify your web traffic
Your target audience is one of the most critical factors in any marketing campaign you run. Focusing your efforts on the people who are most likely to need and want your products and services is the most effective way to maximize your return on ad spend (ROAS) and increase your conversion rates across the board.
Banner advertising allows you to target your audience, then further qualifies your web traffic. People who click on your banner ad will be viable, potential leads. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have clicked on the ad. If you have click-throughs coming in that aren’t targeted or qualified, you should rethink your ad placement and design.
4. Ad serving platforms help you track your success and optimize your campaign
Marketing is an evolving strategy that has to be able to react to the expected or unexpected performance of various pieces, but that means you have to know how each piece is performing at any given time. Some types of advertising are easier to track than others, and banner advertising is one of them.
Large brands may use ad servers for full control while smaller brands may partner with ad networks to get easy access to quality traffic. Your platform should be able to provide metrics, as well as total control over the placement and performance of your ads. You’ll know if your ad is being seen by enough people, if the design and content of your ad are effective, and whether you need to adjust your strategy to improve your ROAS.
5. You can run longer campaigns with fewer resources
Because they’re so simple, banner advertising allows you to maintain long-running campaigns without sacrificing many resources to management and tracking. This, in turn, increases your ROAS in two ways.
First, spending fewer resources on campaign management will cost you less, so your return will be higher, but the big return is generated by familiarity. A long-running campaign across multiple platforms breeds the kind of familiarity that is so crucial to sales conversions. Chances are, when you think of something you need to buy, you already have a brand in mind, and that’s not just because they’re good. It’s also because you know them.
How to Start a Banner Ad Campaign
Today, getting your banner ad campaign is a fairly straightforward process because most servers have evolved to be user-friendly and intuitive. You typically start by choosing a banner type and name, uploading your graphic, adding the link and accompanying text (this will only be displayed on some browsers/websites), and launching your campaign.
Or, you can delegate this process to an ad network and just enjoy the full-service management of your ad campaigns. Some advanced ad networks offer not only quality traffic, but also auto-optimization algorithms that help your banners convert (which is a rare thing in display advertising). In this case, starting a campaign is even simpler than in the first case, but this solution will lead to less control and understanding of the traffic and inventory.
Whichever way you choose to let the world know about your brand – banner ads are the way to go, and they are not going anywhere anytime soon.