The Decline of Banner Ads
Due to the low click-through rates (CTR) for banner ads, advertisers no longer consider these types of ads as a significant method of marketing. In about 1,000 webpages that a banner ad would appear on, around 2 to 5 people would take time on clicking the ad and only 1 person out of these respondents would have an interest to know more about the product in the advertisement. Given the low response level, return on investment through banner advertising is proven to be too low to justify the cost.
Given the low response level, return on investment through banner advertising is proven to be too low to justify the cost. Rise of New WordPress Plugin.
The Fall of Banner Ads & Rise of New WordPress Plugin
According to the report of MediaMind, the loss of effectiveness of banner ads is, ironically, successful online advertising. As the budget becomes bigger and bigger for advertisements, users had been exposed to more and more click-on ads. However, the number of advertisements that a typical user would click on is much less than the amount of ads that a user had been exposed, thus, reducing the total CTR.
In effect, users have become familiar seeing ads on webpages they browse and read so they have a tendency to focus only on the related content they are interested about or searching for. Even if their peripheral vision can see the ads, users just tend to ignore them. This phenomenon is called ‘banner blindness’.
How Users Suffer From Banner Blindness?
One of the reasons why CTR is extremely low is that most users have no interest to the product being advertised or on the website itself. Thus, there’s no reason clicking the banner ad. Some users consciously pay no attention to them because they have discovered that banner ads usually fail to deliver what they have promised. Another common reason is that a lot of users do not see these banners on webpages.
It was Benway and Lane who reported several studies of usability in which they coined the phrase “banner blindness.” The task of their subjects was to locate certain information on a webpage that could be discovered faster by clicking the banner ad. Based on the outcome of their studies, the great majority of subjects did not consider using banners to retrieve the information they needed. As a result, the users had to exert more effort looking for information when it was readily available via a banner. The conclusion of the studies is that users are highly probable to ignore information that is on banners.
In 2013, Infolinks, a worldwide leader in monetizing advertisements in digital media for brands, publishers and their agencies, has revealed the results of their first exclusive study that aimed to examine the challenge of the phenomenal banner blindness.
Based on the results, it showed that only 14% of respondents had a recollection of the last ad they saw and the product or company it was promoting. Despite the refined methods of market targeting, relevance is still a major challenge with about 2.8% of respondents claiming that they assumed that the ad they had seen was applicable to them.
Overcoming Banner Blindness
Though banner blindness can’t be totally eliminated because of the ever-changing and complex search pattern of users, its effect can be ominously minimized by using relevant tests and understanding how users are behaving when they search or navigate a website.
Research has shown the solution to this problem is as follows:
- The offer on display has to be positioned above the blog content on your site. Optimal placement of the ad is paramount in order to maximize exposure.
- The ad should be creative, but should also complement the site and appear native or native-like to the site where the ad is being displayed.
- Scrolling text has been proven to be more effective at being noticed by visitors than static text.
- The call to action or offer has to be relevant to what the customer is looking for otherwise they won’t click on it. There is no point in advertising dog-training on a website which deals with “How to look after your cat”!
How Does WP Ticker Bar Overcome This Problem?
In response to the above conundrum, I wanted to create a WP plugin which displayed an attention-grabbing, call to action which would increase CTR to a blog site.
How is this achieved? In the settings screen of WP Ticker Bar, the user is given a number of options – all of which can easily altered to test performance:
The following are the features which I’ve included in WP Ticker Bar in an effort to overcome this phenomenon of ‘banner blindness:
Text Box – have a simple text box which would allow the user to very easily create a strong relevant call to action for prospective customer to the blog site. The ease in which the text can be altered means that the call to action can be tweaked for maximum CTR. In addition, the more relevant the offer is to what the visitor is looking for, the more likely they will click on the offer.
URL – The destination page where the visitor is taken to when the click on the bar. In order to get the most from a high CTR, it’s important to have a strong sales copy which is relevant to the call to action being displayed on the Ticker Bar.
Scrolling Option – A call to action message which ‘scrolls’ across the offer bar is more likely to noticed by visitors to a blog site than static text.
Text Color/Background Color – As mentioned above, the banner (or offer bar) should be creative but also compliment the website. This feature allows the user to set the colors of the offer bar which would complement whatever site the plugin was installed on. Again, like the text box, this can be altered easily to maximize effectiveness & CTR.
Delayed Display – This was an important feature which we included in the Settings screen. Delayed Display allows the user to set a time delay (in seconds) before the bar appears. The result being that a visitor can be browsing on a blog site for content, the offer bar would then appear after a number of seconds have passed. This further increases the probability of the bar being noticed and therefore further increase the probability of a click-through.
To conclude, since its development, WP Ticker Bar was introduced to a sample size of beta tester to determine whether we had met our objective of achieving a higher CTR than your standard, run-of-the-mill banner adverts. Based on the feedback, over 97% of users reported a higher CTR than usual. Out of this 97%, about 56% reported more sales than normal as a result of this higher CTR.
Based on further in-depth analysis, it was discovered that the 41% of the 97% who achieved a higher CTR but did NOT get any sales, did not do so mainly due to the lack of a strong ‘call to action’ message or a poor quality sales page (which was displayed after clicking the Ticker Bar). Therefore the WP Ticker Bar achieved what it was set out to do – achieve a higher CTR. As for the sales? Well, effort is still required on the part of the user in creating a high converting sales copy and a strong attractive call to action to be displayed on the WP Ticker Bar in order to capture more sales!