Banner ads have had their fair share of criticism over the years and fallen prey to things like banner blindness and ad blockers, but there’s no denying one simple fact about banners and banner ads. Done correctly, they flat out work. The problem is some affiliate marketers tend to cut corners with their banners and then blame the medium. A bad workman always blames his tools. The simple fact of the matter is that banners work, and they work incredibly well when you take the time to do them correctly.
We’ve tested thousands of banners across a massive number of campaigns and verticals, and we’ve helped our affiliates optimize their banner campaigns and maximize their returns on some of the most competitive niches online today. Our results and the results our affiliates get confirm what we’ve always said. Despite the bad rap banners get, they remain an effective way to generate leads, provided you deploy them in an effective manner.
Having said that, here are our top tips for effective banner ad campaigns.
1. Location, location, location
Gone are the days when you could just stick a banner anywhere on a site and wait for the leads to roll in. Today’s banner ad campaigns are all about the location of the banner. Are your banners visible above the website fold? Do they display correctly on mobile devices? Are your banners displayed on pages with relevant content?
To succeed with banners today, you have to make sure your ads are displayed on pages related to the banner theme and topic. Native ads are a prime example of this. A native ad is nothing more than an ad that matches the theme of the page it’s displayed on, so it “blends in” with the page topic.
There’s no real point in running banner ads for a forex offer, for example, on pages that talk about weight loss. Forex ads on a forex related page will perform better, so always make sure to match your banners to the topic, and if possible, the page’s theme.
Do your homework before deploying any banners. Cheap isn’t always the best solution either. We’ve all come across pages jam-packed with banners all about the same topic. There’s a reason these locations are cheap. They don’t work. Use sub-prime locations, and your banners will be lost in a sea of competing offers. Aim for niche exclusivity where ever possible. These prime locations will cost more, but the results will far outweigh any extra cost.
2. Be Original
Best practice here calls for the use of a spy tool. We’ve published a detailed article about using spy tools and why you should be using one in your affiliate marketing. Use your favorite spy tool to see what is working in your chosen niche and for your chosen geos, and put your own personal spin on the designs. Don’t just copy what your competitors are doing, though, or you’ll end up with banners your target audience has already seen.
Banners come in various sizes, and one common mistake we see affiliates making is trying to fit the same banner design to all the available sizes. That might save you a bit of time, but some designs just quite simply won’t look good in certain sizes and orientations. According to Google Adsense, the banner sizes with the strongest performance are:
- Leaderboard – 728×90
- Half Page – 300×600
- Medium Rectangle – 300×250
- Large Rectangle – 336×280
For mobile devices, the most popular banner size is a 300×100 rectangle. Mobile banners typically perform best in the header or footer of the page.
Banners should include four main elements:
- A logo
- Your key selling point
- An image of what you’re promoting
- A call to action button
The whole point of your banner is to compel visitors to take immediate action. Images and CTA texts that reinforce this work best.
3. Test, test, then test some more
I can’t stress this enough. If you don’t test your banners, your campaign will never reach its full potential. Run your split tests and go with the best performing banner. Just because you like something, it doesn’t necessarily follow that your target audience will enjoy it as well! Banners are for clicks and leads, not for personal likes or dislikes.
4. Check your texts
This is something many affiliates overlook, but it’s a vital part of any campaign. Check what you can and can’t say about an offer you’re promoting before deploying any banners. This is particularly important for any forex related banners as brokers will have strict compliance guidelines for what they can and can’t say. These guidelines will carry over to you as an affiliate as well, and if you don’t get your banners confirmed, you may well see conversions being voided after the fact.
Talk to your affiliate manager, see what the rules are and stick to them.
We’ve helped countless affiliates achieve phenomenal success with their banner ad campaigns. If you need a helping hand with your banner ads, talk to one of our affiliate managers, and we’ll help you make your banners stand out from the competition!