Effective banner advertising has two main functions — branding and response — but ads don’t always do both jobs equally well. We take a look at which purpose makes the most sense for a client.
The early days of online advertising based its reputation on clicks, which is the response function of the ads.
During that time, a typical Web page had few ads, and those ads were much smaller than today. The small ad sizes limited the use of graphics and emphasized text because it was space efficient.
As an example, one of the first standard ad sizes was the strong horizontal size — the 468 by 60. That size has been replaced by the 728 x 90.
owever, the flood of banner ads across the Internet because of the vast increase in the number of sites, the skyrocketing page views and therefore ad inventory, and as well an increase in the number of ads per page led to a steep decline in average clickthrough rates and therefore the response value of banner ads.
Online ad rates plummeted as well. The market was overwhelmed and began to block out the ads.
The trend started to reverse as ad sizes grew larger, which allowed advertising artists to focus more attention on graphics and brands. As a result, effective banner advertising could serve both response and brand depending on the advertiser and campaign.
One big challenge is getting both publishers and advertisers to understand the importance of branding in any effective banner campaign.
ood response ads include more than just the ability to click through to the companion Web site. They also should include a phone number, email address or business address when possible.
A number of online operations have found success with using a phone number in particular because it allows a client to call from their desk right as they see the ad.
Some operations even provide a toll-free number to their clients as a way of tracking the number of calls. Newspaper and TV station Web sites that use the toll-free numbers for automotive dealers have reported more leads from the phone numbers than from emails or clickthroughs.
Other good candidates for response advertising include mortgage companies, travel services (cruises, airlines, agents), real estate and financial services — businesses that typically are information-intensive and that draw a high number of phone calls rather than personal visits from potential customers.
usinesses such as retail, entertainment and travel destinations that do draw personal visits from potential customers are good candidates for banner ads that emphasize branding.
These businesses find benefit from short-term campaigns that focus on sales, events, seasonal peaks and other time-based activities.
So a simple question should be part of any needs analysis with a client — should the campaign emphasize branding, response or some combination of both? It depends on the business and the need.
The success of the campaign depends in part on making the right choice.
Effective banner advertising isn’t just about the direct response rate. It also includes indirect response that comes from branding.