Banner ads are the oldest form of advertising on the internet, and in the age of social media and content marketing, many people claim that they are no longer effective. With all of the options for online marketing dollars such as social media, email, paid search and sponsored content, are banner ads still relevant? That answer is overwhelmingly yes! Banner advertising, if done correctly, can still be the most cost-effective and farthest reaching way to promote your brand.

Many online marketing trends, such as social media and content marketing, are gaining momentum, but banner advertising is still critical to any marketing program and definitely here to stay. In fact, banner advertising is one of the cornerstones of a comprehensive online marketing campaign, and it is the best way to get your brand message in front of as many eyes as possible for the lowest cost. Every year, advertisers spend larger portions of their online budgets on display and banner advertising. Banner advertising continues to increase as a percentage of digital ad spending, and in 2016, it’s projected to reach $13.39 billion, a 15 percent increase over the previous year. This increase in spending indicates that banner advertising still generates results.

Ever since content marketing began its rise in popularity several years ago, we’ve heard about the end of display advertising and the banner ad in particular. Content marketing, however, is very different from banner advertising, and they each have different purposes and goals. Content marketing is the creation of content that is relevant and important to your target audience and the use of that content to promote your brand. It is a great way to educate your audience about your brand and to increase your brand reputation and authority. The goal of banner advertising, on the other hand, is to quickly build brand awareness and drive conversions.

Social media marketing has been growing at an incredible rate, and according to eMarketer, advertisers in the U.S. and Canada are expected to spend more than $12 billion on social media marketing this year, a 25 percent increase over the previous year. Social media marketing has many benefits, such as ease of content distribution, improved customer insights and improved brand loyalty. Social media has highly measureable and actionable metrics, such as likes, follows and shares, and marketing through social media is a great way to reach and to deal directly with your existing customers. But how do you find new customers or prospects and lead them to your social media pages? How do you expose potential customers to your brand and your brand message? The best option is still the banner ad.

Here are the most important reasons to continue using banner advertising:

BRAND EXPOSURE: While it’s true that consumers have become somewhat banner-blind over the years, due to constant bombardment of ads, banner ads are not completely ignored as can be seen in measureable metrics such as conversion rates. Having the right ad in the right place in front of the right audience is still highly effective and will usually generate measurable engagement. These metrics, however, only tell part of the story. Audiences respond to ads in many ways other than actual clicks, such as researching the brand, going to the company’s website or researching the product being advertised. Increased exposure to a brand name or logo can also increase a consumer’s positive perception of the brand.

EASILY TRACKABLE WITH ANALYTICS: Unlike traditional advertising, the effectiveness of an online ad can immediately be measured with analytics. From the views and the clicks, to the end-point conversions those clicks lead to, such as sales, downloads or registrations, the data gathered from your banner campaign can be used to measure your marketing ROI and give valuable insights.

RETARGETING: Through retargeting, you can put your ads in front of exactly the right audience. Your banner impressions will be seen by those who have already shown interest in your brand by visiting your website and will continue to serve as a reminder and help drive future engagement and conversions. According to, retargeting can boost ad response up to 400 percent, and website visitors who are targeted with display ads are 70 percent more likely to convert on your website.

VERSATILITY: From a creative, cost or optimization perspective, banner advertising has unmatched versatility.

  • Creative options: Static banner, animated, rich media, interstitial
  • Budget options: No contracts and campaigns for any-sized budget
  • Optimization: If an ad is not performing, it can immediately be replaced with another ad

Since banner ads are still relevant and an important part of any company’s online marketing, here are a few tips for using them effectively.

  1. Use retargeting platforms: Use retargeting to nurture potential customers and generate conversions.
  2. Create eye-catching ads: Use animated banners, rich media, color and design to combat banner-blindness to make your banners stand out from the crowd.
  3. Have a specific call-to-action: Give the audience a reason to click your ad by using a call to action such as “Try a free demo” or “Join today.” Without it, your banner will generate awareness but, many times, no response.
  4. Place ads on trusted sites: Find the sites that are the authority in your space and the most trusted by your target audience. Placing ads on those sites, next to relevant content, will increase the effectiveness of your ads.

Previously published on The M/C/C Minute.