Banner Insights

The Clash - London Calling - Pennie Smith
Image by oddsock via Flickr

You think anno 2009 ad agencies would know how to communicate online. But – this week’s experience – it’s far from reality. Art directors of ad agencies really have no clue of online marketing communication and the insights of visitor behaviours. Personally I feel they should either get educated or be banned from this responsibility. I almost smashed my iPhone against my table of anger.

Therefore I came up with the idea to write some basic rules and behaviours for a good banner after a clash with a ‘world famous’ agency, although this blog is meant to be about online marketing above online communication. SO – Here they are …

Rule 1: KISS … Keep It Simple and Stupid. Visitors of a website with banners are not paying attention to your precious banner. You can put all the love in and make the visuals the best ever, it will remain noise for the person who is reading the news for example.

Rule 2: No Story Line … A website has loading time as well as the banner. 95% sure the visitor of the website will miss at least the first 5 seconds of the banner. If it has a story line it will most likely not make any sense.

Rule 3: Less Is More … the less text the banner has the more likely it is people will remember what it says. That rule is also used in billboards and posters alike. It’s the corner of your eye effect. In a glimpse you have to be able to catch it. Large copy explaining a subscription is totally waisted space.

Rule 4: Cliffhangers Work … a banner does not have to tell the full story. If you leave an open space or even create a cliffhanger people are more willing to click. They want to know the answer. It’s a human instinct to find out. For instance: we made one banner once which a girl who was about to jump but the clip was looping over and over again. Click rate: 22%. You can leave in blanks or provide less information. Nothing is as boring as a complete story with a financial offer in the end.

Rule 5: Annoying is Not So Bad … Movement can be really annoying in a banner but remember we fear danger. Something moving is danger because you never know what will happen next. Make the movement irregular and the click rate will go up (if it’s a valid offer of course)

Rule 6: Add a Click Generator … Do not forget to add a ‘button’ where people actually know where to click. A lot of times art directors are against using ‘ugly’ buttons. They forget that the visitor doesn’t know that they can click. A button or a hyperlinked word shows them where.

Rule 7: Infotain or Entertain! … A banner is more appealing to a visitor when it’s obvious that it will be more than 1 click to go to the landing page. You can use technique in a creative way to make captivating effects with roll overs, interactive slides, or even with a mini game.
Entertaining or informing a visitor in an appropriate and light fashion does lead to more clicks. On top of that the visitors will have more affection to your brand even if they don’t click through.

Rule 8: Be Creative … There are more words for ‘click here’, ‘order now’, ‘read more’. From experience visitors do know they’ll have to pay if the banner ends with one these words. It’s an action stopper.

Probably there are tons more rules. These are just a start.

Dear  Art Director, Please ask some one who knows. Enrich the Web.

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