Online display ads, or banner ads, are a cost-effective way to build brand awareness with local consumers surfing across a multitude of news, entertainment, and lifestyle websites. As with all online consumer conversations, engaging the right consumers online is the crucial first step to driving more traffic to your website. Follow these 5 display advertising best practices to ensure you create compelling and targeted banner ads that get results.
1. Identify your goal.
Display or banner ads have two primary purposes: to create brand awareness and generate visits to your site. Your banner ads should align to your brand message and landing page(s) to deliver a consistent user experience that increases both awareness and visits. These two strategies go hand in hand, but you may want use your ad to emphasize one goal more heavily than the other. For instance, if you want to increase leads, call attention to a new product promotion, special discount or exclusive offer. As with your search text ads, any offers shown on your ad should also be prominently displayed on your landing page to increase conversion.
2. Keep copy short and sweet.
You don’t have much space to convey your message, so do it as concisely as possible. First and foremost, include your business name and location or service area so viewers immediately know if your business is right for them. Then quickly deliver a message that tells the consumer how your product or service will improve their life in some way. Highlighting a great benefit, like “Lose weight—fast” is more effective at driving visits for a new gym than a feature, like “State-of-the-art equipment”. Don’t forget to include a compelling call to action, like “Sign up for your free trial” that entices your audience to visit your site.
3. Use graphics to bring life to your ads.
If it’s within your budget, hire a creative professional to design high-quality graphics for your ads. Banner ads can use either static images or animation in the form of animated GIF or Flash. Choose image(s) that are relevant to your audience and help convey your key message. Use animation, bright colors, and bold fonts to quickly draw a surfer’s eye to your ad, but be careful not to use too many visual elements; multiple images and excessive animation (e.g., flashing or swift motions) can distract from your message and even turn off consumers.
4. Target, target, target.
When determining ad placement, locally target your ads so they are only displayed to consumers in your target geographic area. Depending on your business type, you may also want to target a more specific audience where they are most likely to see your ads. For example, an auto dealer who wants to target consumers based on their behavior may advertise on an auto ad network that reaches in-market shoppers across a variety of auto-specific websites.
5. Measure your results.
One of the greatest things about advertising online is having the ability to track your results. You can calculate your clickthrough rate (CTR) to determine how effective your ads are at driving visits to your website. You can also use tools like Google Analytics to track the origin of your site visitors to know which sites and networks generate the most traffic. By knowing your results, you can then make changes to ad design and copy, website placement, targeting, and other elements of your campaign.
Do you have any banner ad best practices that have resulted in more leads for your business? What are your favorite display ads that work? Let us know in the comments.
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