Digital advertising and content vehicles have come a long way. With tech like VR and augmented reality on the horizon, you can gain exposure for your brand in fresh and exciting ways. While you have your eye on this new tech, you always have to keep focus on the “digital ad godfather,” the banner ad. That graphic or animated video embedded next to a video, list or article continues to move product and boost bottom lines across the globe.
While banner ads may seem boring and are not always the focal point of marketing plans, they can be a big deal if the right mix of creativity and strategy go into their development. Here are a few ways to empower this deceptively simple touchpoint so you can maximize its effectiveness and help impact your bottom line.
Tell Your Story
Yes, banner ads have limited real estate, but it’s still a great place to tell your story. You just have strip it down to the essentials. Any copy should be short and sweet. Remember, every word must count to make this an effective storytelling vehicle. If all else fails, leverage brand or product taglines. If animation is possible (which we’ll touch on in the next tip), build the copy over multiple frames.
Make It Eye-Catching
Consider your banner ad a mini billboard or even a three- or four-frame mini movie. Incorporate any movement and animation that you can. Movement will always catch the eye, drawing more attention to your ad. Just be careful to watch your file sizes, which will be in the specs that you’ll normally receive from whomever you purchase the media. Storyboard them, or at least develop key frames, especially if you need to sell them in to any other internal or client stakeholders.
Hit Your Target
Since it’s all digital and everything can be tracked, data will be plentiful. The key is to use those analytics wisely. Comb through the data and find your audience. Learn where they visit, what they read, what they play and what they watch. Gathering all this info and figuring out personas will ultimately dictate your banner plans. As long as the overall brand language aligns, you can customize your ads based on the media placement. That could be a simple copy tweak, new imagery or shifting the background color to a complementary color in your brand’s palette.
Motivate Them to Act
Three little letters are the key to this tip: C-T-A. The call to action needs to be simple and direct, nudging your audience along to the next step of the process, whether it’s learning more or making a product purchase. Include animation in the actual CTA button or area you want to draw their eyes to. It could be a simple highlight moving over the button or movement of a small arrow pointing to the CTA itself.
Test and Measure
Pull cues from where the banner ad will be placed to investigate multiple versions of the same product ad so you can test which performs better. With careful planning, this testing can be done seamlessly. Experimenting with banner ads can be fun—just make sure you keep an eye on the budget. Unless your ads are performing well, then you can always ask for more. Also, make sure you explore ALL avenues where you might reach your target audience, including social sites and mobile gaming.