Yoni Levy
Yoni Levy 22 November 2017

Don't Let Bad Banner Ads Bog Down Your Advertising

In the attention economy, the future of banner ads is all about getting creative and personal. A digital production agency shares their insider tips for making the most of your display advertising resources.

Don’t let bad banner ads bog down your display advertising efforts

It seems no matter where you turn in cyberspace, the doomsayers are heralding the death of display advertising. Ad blocker adoption is on the rise! Consumers are banner blind! There’s too much competition for attention!

Ad blocking and banner blindness is on the rise…but it isn’t due to advertising fatigue.

Consumers are just tired of boring, irrelevant and intrusive banner ads.

Luckily, there’s an easy solution.

The cure for bad banner ads

After building thousands of banner ads, emails and more for clients in everything from entertainment and technology to pharma and healthcare, our team has learned a few things about how to build the perfect, attention-grabbing banner ad.

Here’s the shortlist.

  1. Keep those visuals under control

For many digital marketers, the fight for attention in a saturated online world can be summed up in two words: be louder. From flashing animations to auto-playing sound and bright, clashing colors, the over-the-top visuals only inspire the reader to do one of two things: keep scrolling or install an ad blocker.

While it seems counterintuitive, we promise that you can stand out without causing your viewers eye strain.

Once you have your concept, stick with complementary colors and 1-2 accents. Don’t be afraid to embrace white space.

Always use high-resolution imagery. Low-resolution imagery looks cheap and hurts your brand image.

Finally, animations should be visually interesting, without causing queasiness.

  1. Get interactive

One of the best ways to boost engagement, brand awareness and other key campaign metrics is to get interactive. Unlike TV and print, display advertising is in the unique position of being at consumer’s fingertips and responsive to their actions, thanks to rich media technology.

While gamification is often synonymous with ‘interactive advertising,’ gamification isn’t a fit for every product or service offering.

Luckily, interactive advertising experiences go far beyond games.

Interactive experiences can be as simple as asking a user to tap on a product to learn more in the ad, or as complex as a multi-level game where users need to tap and click their way through obstacles, challenges and more.

You can even add in 360 experiences for a fully immersive brand-building opportunity.

Campaigns built around interactive banner ads enjoy longer engagement times, more click throughs and better brand recall, making them one of the best ROI options out there.

  1. Cozy up with personalization

One of the biggest drivers behind ad blockers isn’t a distaste for ads. It’s a distaste for ads that are intrusive and irrelevant.

That’s why the future of digital advertising is all about customization.

Gone are the days of generic, mass-market messaging to everyone with an internet connection. Consumers are living in a world that caters to their preferences, whether that’s build-your-own burgers or hyper-relevant ‘Watch Next’ selections on Netflix.

Digital marketers need to take note and follow suit.

Luckily, there are a host of new technologies and tools designed to help your reach thousands of consumers with unique-to-them messages. Top of mind is dynamic advertising, which enables advertisers to automatically customize messages based on users’ locations, demographics and browsing behavior.

Then there’s artificial intelligence, taking intent-based marketing to the next level by delivering customized messages tailored to the content someone is browsing in real-time.

  1. Search beyond your competition for inspiration

No matter your vertical, it’s natural to turn to your competitors in the same space for ideas and insights. The only problem with that approach? It creates a bubble of lookalike content, as all your competitors do the same thing.

Me-too messaging makes it impossible for your target audience to tell your business apart from the competition.

Creative breakthroughs – the kind that truly set you apart from your peers - often come from looking outside your industry. So, if you’re an educational institution, check out the adverts in a publication for healthcare professionals. Ecommerce brands, look at how B2B service providers are positioning themselves across different channels.

  1. Speak your target audience’s language

Advertising is about starting a conversation. The problem? Most brands take a broadcast approach instead of tuning into what their audience is saying.

The key to being a good conversationalist is being a good listener. That’s why brands that start their conversations with customer-centric messaging are more likely to get a response.

So how do you get more fluent in your customer's language?

First, look to social media for inspiration. How are they describing their wants, needs and frustrations?

Then, dig deeper. Ask other departments for their feedback. What are customers saying to your support and sales teams? Your account managers?

Use the insights to reframe the messaging around your offering. The inspiration for your next great banner ad campaign might just come from customer service, not your creative team.

Putting it all into practice

These simple, standalone practices can help you make the most of your resources. Over and over, we’ve seen these insights transform our clients’ display campaigns.

Now it’s your turn to take your banner ad campaigns from lackluster to high-impact.


rich meyer
rich meyer

Consumer interaction with online advertising is essentially nonexistent. The average click rate of banner ads is 8 in 10,000.

rich meyer
rich meyer

the online ad industry is facing a swelling crisis, one defined by fake traffic, bogus publishers and invisible Web visitors... bogus ad inventory, as it turns out, is rampant. In fact, according to numerous sources across the ecosystem, fake traffic is essentially systemic to advertising—it’s part of how the business works.”

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