Banner ads are the staple of the publisher’s and affiliate’s revenue generation – and for good reason: banner ads offer a concise, well defined and effective platform for communicating an advertiser’s message and offer the publisher hefty returns for their advertising space.

But – with the prevalence of banner ads, visitor’s to a site and potential interaction with a banner ad can be diminished by what has come to be known as ‘banner blindness’: so many demands for attention contribute to a generalized apathy and no interest in ads. The image below shows an example of this using eye tracking technology; the difference in color ‘temperature’ (blue coldest, red hottest) depicts the different reading styles (skimming, browsing and in depth reading):

(image courtesy of: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/banner-blindness.html)

Bottom line: if users know what they are looking for or are really interested in your site’s content, they are not distracted by ads. In fact, visitors will completely ignore things that even appear as ads, even if they are not e.g., content of the site not framed in green but where one would expect an ad).

(For those interested, there are some great eye tracking videos on: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/banner-blindness.html.)

Given the very real potential of banner blindness – here are some best practices that we recommend for both publishers and advertisers:

  1. Keep it simple. The majority of users seeing your banner are well versed in gathering information on line. If it is not quick, simple, and to the point, they will ‘check out’ of your ad copy and move on to the next informational nugget. For advertisers, this means keeping things simple and directly to the point: brief ad copy and themed for the majority of the sites running your banner. For publishers, this means choosing ad campaigns and creatives that fit your site well.
  2. Do your research. If you want to compete, you need to know your competition, take note of what your successful competition is doing; there is a reason they are successful. For publishers: see a 300×250 in the top left corner on a popular site? Chances are that this is a well thought out and profitable ad placement. For advertisers: notice a common theme or layout in your competitor’s 728×90? Chances are, this banner layout is getting the clicks.
  3. Landing pages. Advertisers: follow up your banner ads with a clear action on your landing page. Want a new member signup? Make it as easy and simple as possible for your visitors to sign up. Want a game play? Emphasize your game thumbs and descriptions. Publishers: we take care of this or you – our optimization software considers the entire package, constantly seeking to maximizing your revenue.

As a member Copacet network, both publishers and advertisers gain a distinct advantage over other networks: our optimization routine ensures that only the best performing creatives run on the best performing publisher sites. Following these best practices will always boost your banner ad performance, but optimization algorithms ensure that you receive the best performing sites as an advertiser, and the highest paying revenue as a publisher.

 

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