Banner ads are down but not out. The billboard-like Internet ads that appear on web sites everywhere don't pull response they once did. Yet, today's much lower ad prices are giving many businesses an affordable and effective way to spread word online.
Back in 1994 when Web was new, as many as 40 percent of people who saw a banner ad clicked on it. As time passed and banners became commonplace, response rates dropped to 1 to 2 percent. Those figures are comparable to what other media--radio, TV, newspapers, and direct mail--can deliver.
Banner ad rates have dropped from $20 to reach 1,000 people a year ago to just five or six dollars today. Even though trendy luster of Web has passed, there are still millions of interested prospects to be found online. This could be best time ever for small and medium-sized businesses to stock up on banner ads.
The Internet ad industry isn't taking response rates lying down. Recently Internet Advertising Bureau approved standards for new, larger banners. The new "wide skyscraper" size has already appeared on top sites and is three times larger than what we are used to. Advertisers hope larger size will get reader attention, converting more sales.
Experts warn not to get caught up in flash of new banner technology. The quality of your offer and clarity of your message are still main factors in getting results. Here are five ways to make sure you banner gets attention and pulls response:
* Your banner should ask reader to take action. Something as simple as putting "Click Now!" on your banner can increase response.
* Use words that attract interest and create emotion. Free and Special Offer are favorites. I like to start each line with an action word. Buy, Save, Profit, and Rush work well.
* Push main benefit your product or service provides. Most advertisers forget this point and promote their product's features. Show readers how a feature leads to something that benefits their situation. The chrome fender on Gizmo 2000 saves time and reduces costs.
Animated banners pull better response than static ads. Sites and banner networks usually have guidelines that help keep your animated banners from becoming a turnoff. Keep your ad size under 12k. Anything larger takes forever to load for anyone using a slow dial-up line as almost 80 percent of North Americans do.