The Secret of Successful Branding: Engagement

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Branding ≠ Conversions

It’s time to let go.

Display advertising is a staple of internet marketing; it’s been with us for decades, and its staying power is highlighted by constant innovations in online banner advertising technology.

But here’s a curious question…how is that even possible?

Why do so many of us still invest in banner ads?

Banner blindness is eating away at the effectiveness of advertising for millions of businesses. In recent years, study after study has shown that display ads simply don’t convert the way they used to.

In 1994, the very first display ad launched on a site called HotWired. That ad roughly drew in a 78% click-through rate. Huge returns, right?

That was 1994—more than 20 years ago.

Nowadays, advertisers are lucky if they get a 0.1% click through rate.

That’s one click for every 1,000 impressions, if they’re lucky. In the United States, the average click through rate for display ads is 0.08%.

In fact, advertisers are lucky if the ad was even looked at. Impression data only shows if ads were served; it doesn’t prove they were actually seen. Heat maps from marketing studies show that most users don’t even bother to move their eyes toward display ads on websites.

Heatmaps Showing Banner Blindness

Heatmaps Showing Banner Blindness – via

Furthermore, studies show that only 54% of internet users trust banner ads. With only half of all people viewing them as a legitimate offer—there’s no way to filter those who trust from those who don’t—half your budget is automatically wasted.

At these rates, how can it possibly make sense to pay per impression? Impressions aren’t sales. Impressions aren’t leads. Impressions aren’t trust.

Impressions aren’t even an indication of interest.

Worse still: formats are shifting, but networks are not adapting. Flash has been essentially ostracized by the world’s major browsers – 98.6% of all Flash ads default to static images, and most recently, Google announced that its Chrome browser will pause all Flash ads by default.

A clear alternative to Flash is HTML5 ads, but too many networks can’t display HTML5 properly, so until they can, what are they doing? The Band-Aid fix is to revert away from more sophisticated solutions, back to animated GIF ads.

This means the rich media experience of savvier advertisers is moving backward, not forward.

When it comes down to a user’s online experience, banner ads are something to be ignored, sidestepped, shoved aside, even closed if given the option.

Why pay to place something on a website if this is how users treat it?

Embracing the User Experience

Even the best display ad campaigns can only guess when a user is interested in what the advertiser has to offer. Contextual advertising technology is getting more and more sophisticated, but the fact remains: by large, users do NOT prefer bright, animated advertisements pulling focus away from the true nature of their visit.

What if you could offer your products or services on contextually relevant websites, without being a distraction?

What if your product or service was the next logical step in the user experience?

This is exactly what Adable from creates.

Changing the Game

It’s time to let go of the notion that high impression counts are building your business in a meaningful way.

It’s time to accept that normal display ads simply won’t produce the ROI businesses need.

It’s time to change the advertising game.

Picture this:

Two salesmen on a downtown sidewalk full of pedestrians.

One salesman wears a bright, colorful suit and a rainbow wig. He is jumping in front of people as they walk, waving his arms and shouting that he’s got something worth checking out.

The other salesman is wearing clothes that look like the clothes being worn by many of the people walking by. He notices what they’re carrying, what they’re reading, and infers what they want. When they look up and appear ready to talk to him, he speaks calmly and makes a logical, reasonable-sounding offer, based on what they appear to be interested in.

One of these salesman is much more likely to get a positive response, right?

That salesman is much more likely to turn a stranger into a lead.

That’s the difference between our new Adable solution and normal display ads.


The Adable product is a new way to get engaged traffic to your website. Your advertising teams will still be in control of the message and the offer, and you only pay for engagement.

Adable - Online AdvertisingWeb users will see a text ad box styled to look like part of the website where it’s displayed. The colors of the text, the call to action button, the arrow on the button to click—these can all be customized to fit the publisher’s page specifications.

Contextually, they sync up with the overall user experience. The ads are shown on pages specifically where the text of the ad is appropriate to the page content.

Placement of the Adable product will be at the bottom of the page, and the ad module itself can be sized appropriately, from 728×90 to 300×600 and anything in between.

The idea is not to disguise an ad in order to deceive a site visitor into clicking. Accidental clicks to advertisers’ landing pages not only lack effectiveness, but they can leave a negative impression of a brand in the user’s mind for both the advertiser and the publisher. That’s not beneficial to anyone.

Rather, the idea is to provide a clear and relevant offering to an engaged reader who has completed the article and is primed for the next step.

All this styling and technological behavior keeps the level of engagement the same as the host website’s—no more, no less—because the trust is inherent.

Marketing ROI

The folly of regular display ads today is the notion that simply seeing the message is enough.

But as marketing tools, display ads are lousy. ROI has been shrinking steadily for over a decade with no signs of any sudden reversal. An industry survey from showed that as of April 2015, Internet display ads produce the lowest ROI of all marketing channels.

ROI for Online Marketing Channels

Low ROI for Display Ads – via

Display ads are viewed as intrusive and unwelcomed by customers, to the point where entire software companies have been created to help internet users prevent display ads from appearing. According to Adobe, more than 27% of US internet users use some form of adblocking software. That’s more than a quarter of the internet-using population.

There’s no point in trying to improve banner ads when the fundamental idea is so flawed.

Adable changes the idea.

Rather than pulling focus like display ads, this form of advertising matches the level of user engagement.

With Adable, advertisers are paying for interested traffic, not accidental traffic.

The ROI from Adable far exceeds the ROI from normal display ads because advertisers connect with customers who want what’s offered, when they’re ready, without shifting mental gears.

It streamlines the transition from attention to interest instead of forcing it.

Engagement = Satisfaction

Advertisers pay per click with Adable, not per impression. This eliminates the problem of measuring ROI by mere impression counts.

Instead of paying for an impression that you hope translates to actual branding and leads to sales, you only pay when a user clicks to your website. From there, it’s a matter of optimizing for conversions.

Clicks may cost more upfront than typical display ad costs per thousand impressions, but considering how low the click ratio is for display ads, the actual cost per click is much lower.

This new product helps expand audiences and builds brand awareness in the most positive way possible: by starting out with trust and relevance.

Adable overcomes banner blindness because it doesn’t address the issue of banner blindness. Instead, it addresses the more fundamental issue of an interrupted user experience. The problem isn’t that people aren’t seeing advertisers’ ads, the problem is that people don’t want to see advertisers’ ads.

Adable changes the experience, and therein lies its success.

Getting Started With Adable

It’s easy to transition from regular display ads to the Adable platform. If you’re already an customer, just select a campaign in your dashboard, and under AdGroups, choose “traffic type” on the right hand side and check the Adable checkbox. (Please note that keyword substitution parameters are not allowed on Adable.)

If you’re not yet a customer, don’t worry—signup is easy! Contact today to see how your advertising can get real customer engagement with Adable.

Costume Medley - Halloween 2015