Saturday, January 17, 2009

Should you use banners?

Author: Dr. Roberto A. Bonomi

Article: WHAT ARE THE BANNERS?

Are graphics or images used for advertising on the Internet, that you must be quite familiar with if you have been on the Internet for a while. At they capture your attention with their blinking animations and bright colors. But after a while, you start identifying them with ads, and stop paying them atention.

Let me ask you a straight question: Do you click over banners very often? I bet your answer is NO, because as a matter of fact the average CTR (clickthrough ratio) http://www.sharpermedia.com/ for banner ads is nowadays around 0.2%

In other words for every 500 times that a banner is shown, it gets clicked only once.

With today's CTR being a tenth of what it was in n1997, and continuing to drop, you must probably have two questions:

Should you forget about banner ads completely? and if not... How can you get a better clickthrough ratio?

The answer depends on how much profit can you make from each visitor to your site...

IF YOU CAN CREATE SIGNIFICANT PROFIT FROM EACH VISITOR

Then experimenting with banner ads can produce reasonable results

Start out small. Test the effectiveness of your banners in small campaigns Then go to big banner advertising.

Banners are a promotion method mostly suitable for online stores and similar sites with high profit/visitor ratio.

IF YOU CAN'T CREATE SIGNIFICANT PROFIT

If your site is an affiliate program site or you sell advertising space... Forget banners!.

HOW CAN YOU INCREASE BANNERS CLICK THROUGH RATIO?

Banners aren't about cool design or fancy graphics.

Your banner's purpose is not to look good, but to get people to click on it, arrive to your site and do what you expect them to do, like purchase your product or browse through your content.

It doesn't matter if people arrive through ugly or pretty banners, as long as they arrive

Include a ""click here"" note in your banners

Why? Because banners that contain the words ""click here"" get more clicks than those that don't.

People have been exposed to passive forms of advertising for decades, and thousands of new users arrive Internet every month. So if you don't tell them ""Click here"" they just don't know that they are supposed to do it in order to go to your web site.

Animation is your friend

Banners that blink or move, catches the eye better than an ad that is completely static.

But be careful because an over-use of animation will increase the file size of banners, and make them take a longer time to load, increaseing the chance that the visitor has already scrolled past your banner, before it even appears on the screen.

Use large text that clearly spells what you are about

Using pictures or yourr company logo is not always a bad idea, but you should make sure that there's enough room left for text.

Use a large font size

You'll have to get noticed and small text just doesn't stand out the way bigger text does.

Get right to the point and be brief

Don't try to explain in detail what your site is about, you should explain it at your site. You must use banners just to get the click to your site.

Outline the benefits

To get the user's click you must give him a good reason to visit your site. Words such as ""free"" and ""sweepstakes"" or a beautiful lady and a hint of sex usually perform extremely well in terms of clickthroughs.

But your banners must talk about what you really offer. If there's nothing free at your site, you can't use the word free in your banner, or you'll get the wrong audience.

So be careful with the tricks,. they can be very useful, and can cause problems as well.

Better small

The faster your banner loads, the more time it has to attract a response. So you should always remember to optimize your banners for size at: http://www.gifwizard.com /pn=64579 reducing the number of bytes your banner takes is CRITICAL to increasing it's CTR. Ideally, your banner should be 6000 bytes or less:

It is often a good idea to remove excess graphics or heavy animation.

I recommend OptiView at: http://www.gifwizard.com /pn=64579 as the best online tool you can use to reduce the size (in bytes) of your banners (and other graphics). It will compress your graphics up to 90%.

Trick banners

Banners like the following, pull quite a lot better than the standard ones.

The reason is that this kind of banners doesn't really look like banners, and many people just think that they are part of the navigation system of the site and click it.

Trick banners receive a very high clickthrough ratio when compared to normal banner ads, but their downside is that the traffic they bring can be of lower value, because visitors are tricked into coming to your site.

Targeting pays off

Try to place your banners on places that attract the type of people who might be interested about your site.

BANNERS STANDARD SIZES SIZE TYPE 468 x 60 Full Banner 234 x 60 Half Banner 392 x 72 Full Banners with vertical navigation 120 X 240 Vertical Banner 125 x125 Square Button 120 x 90 Button # 1 120 x 60 Button # 2 88 x 31 Micro Button

WHAT ABOUT BANNERS EXCHANGE?

If you can't afford it or just don't like the idea of paying so much for an advertising campaign, you can opt for a banners exchange program, where you display banners on your pages for free and in return, other members of the program show your banner ad on their sites.

This sounds like a good idea, because it doesn't cost anything. But is it?

For starters, several banner exchanges have a 2:1 ratio

So for every 2 banners shown on your site, your banner gets shown once on other sites, and there are programs with a 3:2 ratio

Many exchange programs don't offer targeting

So your banners will end being displayed on sites that have very little in common with your site and that leads to a low CTR for your banners.

Lets make some numbers

You join a 2:1 banners exchange program

You get 10000 pageviews a day, and each one of them show other people's banner

You earn 5000 impressions a day. Your banner is shown in 5000 places

As you have created some killer banners, you beat the industry average clickthrough rate of 0.2% and your banner receives a 1% Click Through Rate, so 50 visitors come to your site.

So you exchanged 10000 hardly earned visitors for a whopping 50 visitors to your site!

My advice: Forget about banners exchange programs. Only display a banner ad on your pages, if they pay you for doing it. And even though, make sure you earn more than you spent to bring the visitor into your web site..

Written by Dr. Roberto A. Bonomi

About the author: Dr. Roberto Bonomi is a successful e-book writer that shares his home business experience at: <a href=""http://www.easy-home-business.com"">http://www.easy-home-bus iness.com</a> If you already have, or are looking for an Internet Home Business, you can't miss the free knowledge that you'll receive at his site.</p>

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