Image credit: Coca Cola Happiness Factory Campaign, 2006. Agency: Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam
Social media for businesses would normally mean increased presence online, meaningful conversations leading to more brand building, credibility, and trust. But is there a possibility that an increased social media presence and engagement could mean better CTR (Click through Ratios) for advertisements?
Bryan Eisenberg of Eisenberg Holdings is a die-hard conversion rate optimizer. He says:
“Most websites don’t have a traffic problem, they do have conversion problems.”
Conversion, as such, is a huge bottleneck for businesses. According to Zenith Optimedia, more than $56.8 billion will be spent this year on generating traffic for websites while only 2-3% of this traffic will convert.
Bryan also reveals that companies spend only about $92 for getting a visitor to a site but just $1 to convert them into customers. More than 48% of businesses have no control over conversion. Lack of time and resources are believed to the problem plaguing small businesses.
Yet, even the slightest of the changes bring about huge differences in conversion rates and increase in CTR.
Now, businesses looking to market their products and services try most forms of marketing. Banner ads – compared to most other ad types – are fast sinking into oblivion. Banner ads are an epic fail. The average click-through rate of display ads is a mere 0.1% and only 8% of Internet users accounted for 85% clicks on display ads.
Why you ask? Maybe Mike Volpe’s 10 Horrifying Stats about Display Advertising should help answer that.
But is there no recourse to salvage the death of the banner ad? Is there a way to increase the CTR? Let’s try a few ways:
Social media, content marketing and trust
Whether you use banner ads or not, what holds its place in the list of importance is your content marketing and the trust you invoke from your visitors/customers.
Social media is a great way to build trust and ramp up engagement over time and it should be used as such. In digital marketing, no single approach works off on its own, without influencing other ways of marketing that you’ll deploy. Social media drives traffic, gives your customers a way to connect with you, and builds enough credibility to give your advertisements a better CTR hopefully.
But that’s mere guessing. So, you’ll need ways to work this out. That brings us to…
Banner ads don’t annoy, they just hang in there
Banner ads aren’t all that bad. The worst scenario for a banner ad might just be the fact that it might be viewed if not clicked on. This, according to Mike Volpe from HubSpot is better than barging into offices, spam or calling cold prospects. Besides, many large publishers rely solely on display advertising to survive and produce awesome content, which we consume and learn from.
The key to banner advertising effectively is to make sure that your banners are clutter free, relevant and they should look good. Use subtle colors and avoid obtrusive images. The advertising space is limited and you just have to get to the point quickly. Keep the ads and the destination pages connected. For instance, if you are promoting a free trial for your software, a click should take the customer straight to a landing page where customers or users can sign up for it without resistance.
Think of retargeting as the rescue vessel that’s attempting to save the fall of the banner ads. Using retargeting, websites (or third party advertising engines such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads) store data based on your website visits and interests to showcase ads that your customers have shown interest in. According to Adroll.com, a new channel marketing using retargeting on Facebook News feed targeting saw an increase in CTR of about 3-4%. Facebook even has dynamic retargeting through their dynamic ads program to ensure high click-through rates. Another good point in retargeting’s favor is that it makes display advertising and your banners much more relevant as your targets have already shown some sort of interest in your offering.
Of course, even for retargeting, you’d still have to do it right. Ben Plomion at moz.com shares handy tips on retargeting, where he suggests getting to point, keeping ads relevant, and balancing the retargeting campaigns (to avoid making it feel like your customers are being stalked).
Optimize other ways to use banner ads
For Publishers, Split Testing can help you optimize your website for better Ad click-through-rate too, so, once you have your pages optimized for better CTR, work on your social media strategy to drive more traffic to your website and benefit from the increased CTR and ad earnings. Now, the number of banner ads displayed on the page should be optimal while your social media management should account for trust and credibility.
You can also optimize your ads for “View-Through Conversions,” as Ben explains on Search Engine Watch. View-through conversions help you track conversions from banner ads even if users never click on a banner ad. While the view-through credit isn’t entirely 100%, marketers allocate about 65% for a 14-day window.
Banner ads can also be used exclusively for brand recall, heads up campaigns, upselling and many other alternatives rather than depending on clicks for conversions.
Keep the banners but plough through with content
Drive traffic to your websites in credible and respected ways such as guest blog posting, social media, Facebook ads, and third-party publishing. You can keep the banner ads floating but what really helps you increase your CTR is the value you provide for your readers. With valuable content driving traffic, you can plough more traffic to your pages and optimize landing pages, home pages, and blogs for better conversions using graphics, interactive pages, and much more.
As you go about creating content, claim your Google Authorship, which can increase your exposure through more visible, relevant, and trustworthy search results, as Hendrik-Jan Francke of Bright Orange Thread suggests.
How are your banner ads working for you? What kind of CTR do you see historically? How do you see social media, content, and other ways of marketing affecting your CTR? Please share your thoughts in the comments!