Some "experts" say they don't exist. Apparently we have become so accustomed to seeing banners, we have learned to ignore them. We sub-consciously create little white blocks exactly 468x60 pixels in size that neatly fit over banners so that we no longer see them and NEVER click on them.
Of course these same experts will then tell you what, of course, you SHOULD be using. Their product.
Naturally some marketing techniques work better than others. But that doesn't mean the less effective approaches should be ignored. A balanced advertising campaign will spread itself across a variety of mediums.
But isn't it true that click-thru rates (CTR) on banners have dropped over the years?
This is difficult to ascertain and views on this are conflicting but, ultimately, CTR's on banners are irrelvant and the measure of success should not be based on this misleading statistic.
Let's say you get a 2% CTR on your banner. In other words, 2 out of every 100 views results in 2 mouse clicks.
Most would consider this to be a successful banner as most achieve considerably less than this. But how many of those "clickers" then take a genuine interest in the website they view?
Not many. Especially when you consider that the most effective banners are those that give nothing away and lure you in through sheer curiosity.
The banner has successfully achieved a good CTR, but for what purpose.
A banner with a high CTR does not automatically translate into success for your website.
The success of a banner should be judged by a different criteria. By one that cannot easily be measured.
Just for a moment, compare banners to billboard advertising.
How many times have you seen an interesting billboard and then communicated with it to learn more information.
Well, unless you're Steve Martin in LA Story, the answer is never.
How many times have you rung the phone number or written to the address printed on a billboard?
Once? Twice? Never?
In fact how many billboards do you see that actually provide you with a contact number and / or address so that you can find out more?
They exist, but are few and far between.
Does this mean that billboards are a monumental failure?
Not a bit of it. Billboard advertising is primarily about branding. About getting a product, a logo, a tv channel, a movie, absolutely anything into your brain. If you see it enough times, you will remember it.
You might not even know what it is you have seen, but you can be assured that when you see it on the supermarket shelf or in your TV guide, the billboard image will be recalled and a connection is made.
Branding isn't about CTR's, it is about visibility. It's about presence. If you're seen enough times, people will instinctively start to think that there must be something worth-while behind the advert.
At the very least, you project the image of success.
And this is important not just to draw new customers but also to keep your existing ones happy.
Think about all the billboards you see for the number one selling brand of cola. Are they looking for new business? Are they really trying to find that miniscule group of people that have yet to try their soft drink?
Not a bit of it. They are just reminding their millions of existing customers that they exist and to keep on buying their product.
So think of your banners, not as a draw to lure people to your webpage, but as an opportunity to tell the viewer that you're out there. Be sure to remember the following:
-- Colour scheme and logo. This should match your website exactly. Placed side by side, the connection between your banner and your website should be glaring.
-- Make sure the banner communicates or, at the very least, strongly hints what you are about. Luring people into clicking on your banner about traffic exchanges and then trying to sell them a car is not helpful.
-- When you create new banners, keep the style consistent. Viewers should be able to connect your banners together while still seeing something new.
Of coure if CTR's really matter to you, then this article cannot help you. Instead, you might like to try spending your hard-earned cash on one of those ebooks that teach you how to "hypnotise" your customers.
Although I can't speak for their quality. I've never brought a single one of their "mesmerising" products.
Dylan Campbell has been quietly making a living on the Internet since 2000, he has a unique, and often controversial, view of the industry.
Dylan write exclusively for The Nettle Ezine