Top 10 greatest mistakes in banner advertising

Some say banner ads don’t work so well. And that, at least to some extent, is true. There are many reasons why they don’t work, and almost always is your fault, dear marketers.

Since we don’t wish to bore you, we selected only the top 10 greatest mistakes EVER in banner advertising. Now let’s shoot them:

10. Make that banner look much prettier than our old, corny website.They’ll understand we’re in a hurry.
Well, we’ll tell you one thing: your prospects don’t care about you. That being said, neglecting your landing page is a very expensive mistake. The landing page is the first thing your prospects will see after clicking your ad, so it’s very important to make sure they won’t leave your website in the next second. Otherwise, your advertising campaign is no more than wasted money.

9. Size, length, weight? What are we talking about? Shoes?
No, banners. Not knowing the basic metrics of banner ads can put you in some serious trouble. And that’s because publishers require some clear specifications regarding the banner’s size (for example 120 x 600 px), length (for example maximum 15 seconds of animation) and weight (for example 40Kb). Follow the IAB standards and it will be less likely for you to be in the wrong.

8. The purpose of a banner is to attract as much traffic as possible, right?
Wrong. While you naturally want to increase traffic to your website, you should also want to attract possible buyers. Otherwise, all you will get is busy servers, big money spent on big websites and “silly traffic“. The ideal is to make your ad appeal to a clearly targeted audience – the one that is more likely to buy your product – and place it on targeted websites – the websites your typical buyer would visit.

7. Interrupt the users from whatever they’re doing. If they pay attention reading, they’ll pay attention to what we’re saying too!
That’s simply not true. Not only your prospects will not play attention at your message, but they will be irritated by it. So our advice is to avoid expandable banners, interstitial banners, floating banners and pop-ups. Or, if you still want to use them, at least make the X button visible.

6. My banner is so fabulous people will automatically click on it!
This is a very frequent mistake marketers do. While it’s true that a well-designed or otherwise intriguing banner does well at attracting clicks, it’s also recommended to tell the users what to do next. Use a call to action, even if it sounds very obvious, like “click to find out more”. You will be surprised by the increase of the click-through rate.

5. A banner has to be as informative as possible: put something about us, our logo, our slogan, a picture of the product, three benefits, the price and a call to action. There you go!
There you go: a cluttered, busy, queasy banner almost nobody would click on. Since banner ads are relatively small, keep only the essential on them. Make their message crystal clear.

4. I like this website. I think I’m going to advertise here.
As said at the mistake no. 8, you should advertise on websites that your typical buyers would visit. Nevermind your boss’s preferences. The only thing that matters here is what your audience like.

3. Oh, there’s too much text on this banner! I want a clean, “web 2.0” design.
Oh, dear… This is a quite common misconception about the web 2.0 trend, especially among designers. First of all, web 2.0 is about content, not about design. You design the content. Second, a beautiful banner that provides little to no information is kind of useless. Of course, you can hope users would be impressed by the ad’s graphics and slick animations and just click on it out of reflex. But it’s a much better strategy to combine the design with a strong marketing copy.

2. Just make that ad stand out!
As we were saying in a previous post, marketers started a race for the Internet user’s attention and in this pursuit, they resorted to all kind of annoying, intrusive and tasteless banner ads. As a result, web surfers developed the banner blindness (the tendency to ignore, consciously or unconsciously, any banner-like information). In this context, what is the purpose of making an ad flicker, blink and flash? Almost certainly, your audience will ignore it. Our advice for you is to make banner ads look like valuable content, make them look like an interesting slideshow or animation and place them in an appropriate context.

1. Advertising effectiveness? What’s that?
This is by far the most frequent and serious mistake marketers do when advertising online. They forget to measure the results. Measuring the banner advertising effectiveness can give you valuable feedback about what sort of ads tend to have more success, which websites send more traffic to your websites, and what are the users doing once landed on your website. This information can help you refine your future campaigns and render them more effective. The main advantage of the Internet advertising over the classic media is the ability to make precise measurements. Are you going to leave this advantage unused?


  1. David Barbara
  2. Nikos

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