Should I Use Banner Ads? Learn the Pros and Cons

The internet has changed the world of advertising.

Research shows that 28% of U.S. adults are always online, meaning digital marketing is a primary platform for advertising campaigns. And advertisers continue to identify ways to engage their audience with positive experiences.

One of the most common forms of online marketing is the use of banner ads. While this method gets mixed reviews, it can be an effective tool in generating leads and creating brand awareness.

Wondering whether banner ads are beneficial for your email marketing strategy? Campaign Monitor can help.

Banner ads and why marketers use them

Banner advertisements, or display ads, are rectangular graphics of various standard sizes. They’re placed in high-visibility areas on quality websites. The location across the top of a webpage attracts the most attention and is preferred by 57% of advertisers. Other high-traffic locations include across the bottom or along the sides of a site.

Banner ads use images rather than text to catch the viewer’s eye. The purpose of banner ads is to promote a business and generate traffic to that company’s website. Banners are clickable, linking directly to a landing page or home page.

Marketers use banner ads because they promote brand awareness. They’re also great lead generators. When viewers click on your ad, they arrive at your website because they’re interested in your offerings. With this method, you’re able to capture lead contact information and follow up for future communications.

As with any marketing channel, there are advantages and disadvantages to banner ads. Decide what’s best for your campaign. Choose the option most likely to help you generate leads, increase revenue, and boost your ROI.

Pros of banner ads

Banner ads offer numerous benefits. Here are three advantages associated with this form of display advertising.

They’re cost-effective.

The cost of banner advertising is determined by ad size. The smaller the ad, the smaller the fee. The number of clicks and impressions also has an impact on the cost. The average cost per click (CPC) for banner ads will vary based on your industry and the medium.  Rates can be as cheap as 50 cents per 1,000 impressions (CPM). So for just 50 cents, your ad can be displayed 1,000 times.

Between size flexibility, CPC, and CPM, you’re able to set your own guidelines for your ad spend. A limited budget can still yield positive results. This enables businesses of all sizes to promote their products on quality websites.

Ads are easy to create.

Marketers can create banner ads with ease. About 97% of marketers are likely to design their ads themselves. Banners are simplistic in design, so nearly anyone with computer skills can create a basic ad. Sizes are standard, and specifications are straightforward. It’s simple to build a layout that meets basic requirements. They’re easy to upload and, if not yielding desired results, they’re easy to change.

They’re highly targetable.

Studies show that 71% of consumers prefer more personalized digital ads. Banner ads achieve this by effectively targeting your audience. Qualifiers like demographics and online behavior help identify your optimal consumer. With this information, you can develop relevant ads that will resonate with specific people. You can then use transactional emails to deliver a consistent brand experience to newly engaged prospects.

You can further segment your ads by topics or interests. Choose from a list of categories to ensure your ads appear on relevant websites. Use banner ads as a remarketing tool to contact previous website visitors who left before completing a transaction.

Cons of banner ads

While it’s clear banner ads can be beneficial for marketing efforts, there are also downsides to display advertising. Here are three disadvantages to using banner ads in your campaign.

They have a lower click-through rate.

Click-through rate (CTR) measures how frequently a viewer acts on an ad. While search ads average about 2% CTR, display ads average about 0.06%. This is because search ads use a pull approach. They’re sought by people with the intent and desire to make a purchase. Banner ads use a push approach. When people see your ads, they may not be ready to buy.

Banner ads also have a lower CTR because more than 56% of display ads are never seen. Reasons for this include placement or position on a web page and ad size. Banner blindness is another contributing factor. Web users encounter thousands of digital ads a day. Some will subconsciously ignore the banners on the sites they visit. Others will intentionally avoid them with ad blocker software.

They yield lower conversions.

A lower CTR equates to lower conversions. Conversions are any action a user takes once they’re on your site. They can be completed forms, registrations, or sales. If people aren’t clicking through your banner ads, they’re not arriving on your site to act.

Banner ads are often the first impression people have of your brand. If your ad isn’t compelling, viewers may move right past it. If users do click on your ad, they’re usually directed to a separate website. This can lead to distrust and a high bounce rate. Banner ads can reach too broad an audience. This results in an influx of unqualified prospects who aren’t interested in your brand.

There are limitations.

Before they can be approved, banner ads must meet several guidelines. To ensure ads are functional and clear, marketers must adhere to technical requirements. Banners have specific size guidelines, leav You have a small area in which to deliver your content. There are limits on headline character count. You can only include so much text per image. These standards minimize the amount of content that can be included in your ad.

Advertising policies restrict certain types of content. Topics ranging from gambling to healthcare have stringent regulations. Sometimes content is approved, but only to a limited audience. This means fewer people will see your ad, further lowering the likelihood of click-throughs.

Additional marketing tools

While these ads are easy to make, distribute, and manage, they are most effective when supported with other forms of advertising. Consider supplementing your banner advertising campaign with one of these three marketing techniques.

1. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is the promotion of another company’s products by a third-party source. If someone purchases through the affiliate link, that third party receives a commission. Affiliate marketing is scalable. A traditional salesperson sells products for a single company. Affiliates can sell products from a variety of companies and profit from all.

Affiliate marketing is beneficial to merchants and affiliates alike. 81% of brands use affiliate marketing to promote their products. The process is simple. Companies provide affiliates a unique link to track sales. When a user clicks the link, data is stored on their device. This “cookie” lets the merchant know who was responsible for the sale. When combined with banner advertisements, affiliate marketing can drive sales and generate significant revenue.

MoneySavingExpert fills its page with quality content. Moreover, it’s all relevant for their audience. Affiliate links are the site’s only source of revenue, so they must be effective.

affiliate marketing example

Source: MoneySavingExpert

2. Blog swaps

Blog posts provide businesses a dynamic vehicle to promote their brand. They attract attention and build brand awareness. They have a massive audience potential, as 77% of internet users read a blog regularly. Blogs help businesses increase revenue, build a relationship with readers, and gain credibility. An easy way for blogs to increase visibility is through cross-posting.

Blog swaps involve the exchange of content with compatible organizations who have like-minded target audiences. By sharing posts on each other’s pages, brands gain new readership with people who are already interested in similar information. They also foster networking relationships with other organizations.

TopBlogger.com featured a guest post from an expert on developing and selling products online. The audience found the information so valuable that the original blog owner received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

blog swap example

Source: ProBlogger

3. Content marketing

Content marketing is the distribution of valuable and relevant information that educates your audience. Content marketing doesn’t push the sale of a product. Instead, it shows people how your brand provides a solution. It’s an ongoing strategy that builds a relationship with your audience.

Content marketing comes in the form of infographics, videos, podcasts, and web pages. It’s consistently useful information that readers seek and want to digest. Because you’re offering value, you give readers the impression that you care about them. This builds brand loyalty and increases the chance of future purchases.

In this example, McDonald’s Canada offered an open forum for their audience. The company answered nearly 10,000 questions with transparency. Customers valued the authenticity of the information provided in this campaign.

mcdonalds canada open forum

Source: McDonald’s Canada

Wrap up

Banner advertising can be an effective form of marketing. Like anything else, there are advantages and disadvantages to its use. You’ll have to consider what makes the most sense for your specific marketing strategy and budget.

Like all forms of marketing, the success of banner ads can be enhanced by using multiple forms of digital marketing to enhance and amplify your efforts.

Consider supplemental marketing tactics such as affiliate marketing, blog swaps, and content marketing, but don’t forget about social media marketing, customized landing pages, and more. By combining any of these advertising methods, you can build brand awareness, establish customer loyalty, generate leads, and drive sales.

For more information about incorporating banner ads into your email marketing campaign, contact our sales team today.

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