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Overview of Banner Advertising

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A banner ad is a form of online advertising which involves embedding an image into a web page which links to the advertiser’s website.

Banner ads can be in either static or animated form. Animated banners have moving images or words which are intended to attract the attention of web user. Pop-ups are also an additional form of banner ads.

Up until 2000 banner adverts were the main form of advertising on the internet and were highly valued as an advertising medium. In 2000 the banner advertising industry crashed, not helped by the end of the dot com boom and the realization that click-through rates were so low. This led to a radical re-evaluation of their value and pay per click advertising became the main form of online advertising.

The downfall of banner adverts arose because by nature they are annoying. They distract web users from the content of the web page, with pop-ups especially annoying, leading many people to install pop-up blockers. The problem with banners is that without attracting attention to them no one would see the advertisement, but this effort to attract attention causes the adverts to be annoying.

However, it’s not sheer coincidence that banner ads are still widely used today. The fact is that when used in the right context with appropriate goals they can work well as part of an integrated online marketing campaign.

Click-Through Rates and the Branding Effect

Click-through rates for banner advertising have been falling year on year for the past few years, with expected click-through rates for a banner ad now in the region of 0.15-0.80%.

Four factors affect the click-through rate of a banner ad – its relevance, its position on the web page, its size, and the design. Relevance is determined by the match between the website that you’re advertising on and your product or service. Ensure that there is an obvious match between the two.

Banner ads placed within high quality content work well as do those placed at the bottom of the web page – at this point people aren’t sure where they are going to navigate to next so will often pause and have a look at the ad. As expected, banner ads along the top also work well as everyone who visits the web page has the opportunity to see them.

Larger banner ads have more chance of attracting peoples’ attention but there’s also been a move towards integrating smaller banners into relevant content.

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