How To Measure Banners’ Effectiveness

Do Banners Still Work? I Keep Hearing They Don't... Let's See...

I’ve read a material recently by Marketo that very well pointed out how differently the sales and marketing departments think in terms of timeframes, goals and ways of showing value.

Sales always look at the numbers they need to meet by the deadline and they have a very measurable way to show value: the closed sales. On the other hand, marketing may have a longer term goal, a branding campaign running, needs to create awareness or to “warm up” the leads before passing them over to the sales department. Their results are sometimes very difficult to quantify.

Does that sound familiar in any way? We don’t have to be a big corporation with different departments for sales and marketing to see the picture here… Just acknowledge that marketing may have different objectives than just to create leads.

That being said, let’s see if we can find some similarities with the above situation, for banner ads in a broader context of advertising streams. We all know the click-through rate is low for banners. That’s why many people say they don’t work. Because banners, directly, don’t create as many sales as other forms of advertising.

So, in an online world beginning to be dominated by video content (many people even search by videos only), are banners still effective?

To answer that, let’s just remind ourselves that more than half of our brain is dedicated to visual perception and processing. So, a visual content is generally better than a non-visual content.

Because after a while people tend to develop a “banner blindness“, the trick is to make the audience aware of it’s existence.

Let’s have a look at some key points to have in mind when setting up banner campaigns:

  1. You don’t have to make it your primary goal to sell through a banner, but also to improve your branding and awareness within your target audience’s ranks. You can use other media channels to benefit from the growing awareness. With a good branding campaign, this strategy will pay off in time.
  2. You can easily target different audience categories through banner ads, and at lower cost than with other type of advertising.
  3. Your banners should stand out, but don’t make them annoying! You can use animated gifs or flash banners to draw attention.
  4. Create curiosity and have a call to action for your target audience!
  5. Have your target site look professional, without obvious errors and having quality and fresh content (do not use auto-generated or scraped content as your own work!).

So, you shouldn’t generally measure you banner campaign’s effectiveness just by the sheer number of sales it generated, because it’s a package deal. You also build your brand and grow your awareness by repeated exposure, and for that, there’s no need for a click on the banner! Just to be noticed.

However, I have just learned that even though banner ads have a low click-through rate, their CTR is still better than the response rate for TV or outdoor ads (but all, surprisingly, worse than the response rate for radio ads!). That’s very interesting, isn’t it?

Research shows that consumers engage with banner ads more than TV or outdoor ads. Banner ad CTRs average at 0.07% (Digiday). TV response rate is 0.05%, according to Nielsen. Outdoor has a 0.03% response rate (Digiday). Radio, which lacks the visual component of the other three media, has a response rate of 0.13% according to Arbitron.

Source of quote: DCMarketingPro (published July 2013)

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About Adrian
Creator of, I enjoy working from home and having a flexible schedule. My mission: to grow myself, then teach and help others to step up and inspire them to offer help at their turn.

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