Click-through rates for display banner ads are a challenge for any marketer or any advertiser. Not only is there a big difference compared to classic search engine text ads, but it’s harder to get people interested when they’re browsing as opposed to searching.
Below are 9 most likely reasons for low response rates with display banner ads. We wanted to be helpful, so we included the remedy for each of them.
1. You’ve designed that banner ad for yourself
You added the logo, you added the price, some text, a good image and a nice call to action… they’re going totally going to love it and click your banner like crazy, right? Well… wrong! Users won’t click a banner ad unless there is something that gets their attention, something they want or something that interests them.
How to fix it: Don’t assume that people know what you’re about. Take 10 minutes and think about the people you want to lure in. What would attract their attention in what you’re offering? Tell what your product or service briefly and highlighting the main benefits in your ads. Write a few sentences, cut it in half (best trick I learned from my boss) and you have a good value proposition.
2. You’re not using a call to action
Ahem, a call to….what? Call to action. It’s a little thing you add on your banner telling your users EXACTLY what you want them to do next. Without it, users are highly unlikely to take any action after seeing your ad.
How to fix it: Think of what you want your uses to do and add that to your banner. You can tell them to “Buy now”, “Download now” or “Start now”.
3. There isn’t any kind of branding on your banner
There are many benefits to using branding on your banners. Branding makes a good first impression, it helps you stand out from the competition and build initial trust with your customers. Not using any branding on your banner might make you look less trustworthy and unprofessional.
How to fix it: Add your logo to your banner. If you don’t have the logo available, you can add the website name. Also, try to use your website color scheme on your banners.
4. You’re using low-quality images.
Yes, we know: it costs a lot of money to hire a professional photographer and you probably don’t have that kind of money. Or the time to do it. However, low-quality, blurry images will make your banner ad seem less credible and won’t inspire any trust in what you’re offering. This, in turn, will make users reluctant to click your ad and find out more.
How to fix it: There are plenty of websites that offer high-quality images for free. Bannersnack has over 5000 professional stock photos ready to use in any banner (and you now they’re free, right?). Additionally, there are some other nice resources where you can browse for images.
5. No one can easily read what’s on your banner
We’re very fond of creative fonts… on classy wedding invitations or on printed posters. For online banner ads however, the harder it is to read the text, the slimmer chances of a click. Text that’s hard to read requires extra patience for a closer look and might come across as less trustworthy.
How to fix it: Choose fonts that are easy to read online. Tahoma, Roboto, Arial, Verdana, Century Gothic, Futura or Georgia – these are just a few examples and any of them is a good choice. Select a good size (13 pixels and upwards) and make sure it doesn’t overlap with images. Also, use a color that sets the text apart from the rest.
6. Your banner is overcrowded
How to fix it: Like we said before: good design inspires trust. Keep your banner design simple and take out everything that’s not relevant. Think of what would get your users’ attention. What would entice them to click to learn more further? Everything else is secondary and it needs to go, it’s only distracting attention from the main purpose.
7. Using too many colors
“Roses are red, violets are blue, this banner could use some green too.” Using too many colors, especially in strong saturated combinations will make your banner ad look unprofessional. Yes, the strong colors do attract attention, but they don’t inspire enough confidence for people to actually click your ad. Which is what you want, right?
How to fix it: Good design inspires trust. Choose a palette with up to 3-4 colors and stick to it. If you’re out of ideas, we suggest colorlovers – they have great combinations. Also, use solid colors – stay as far away as possible from multi-colored-early-days-of-the-web-rainbow gradients.
8. Heavy use of animation
A little interaction and a bit of animation here and there might make your banner more interesting. But do you actually need a flashing effect on every element of your banner? Text, buttons, images: do all those things need to move around? It’s really hard to follow. Even harder to figure where you can click.
How to fix it: Create static banners. Not only do these bring in more clicks, but most websites nowadays feature ad spots for static banner ads. That would be solving two problems at one: more clicks and possibly more impressions!
9. You’ve been running the same ads for (at least) a year
Be honest: when did you last update your banners? Like everything, banner ads have a lifespan of their own. Ad fatigue and banner blindness are common online phenomenons that affect your campaigns as well. The more often and the longer people see the same ads, the less likely they are to respond to it.
How to fix it: You need to periodically revisit and refresh your banner ads. Try new messages, new images, try using different promotions in your ads and you will definitely see an improvement in clickthrough rate and conversions.
Now… back to you. Do you have further ideas on how you can improve CTR for your banner ads? We’d also love to know how these suggestions worked for you. Let us know about both in the comments below.