How to Overcome Banner Blindness

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Internet ad revenues hit a historic high last year, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau, with 5.3 trillion display ads served to U.S. consumers. Despite this, click-through rates (CTR) for banner ads have been declining consistently. Every year, advertisers spend billions on ads that consumers never see. No matter who your audience is, chances are they are so used to being inundated with ads online, they barely notice them at all. It’s called “banner blindness”—and yes, it can happen to your customers.

The banner advertising space is more competitive than ever, and that means advertisers must make every effort to make their ads stand out. But that means more than just designing engaging ads or having a great pitch—it’s also about placement strategy and context. After all, you have to stand out from something, don’t you?

Value-Based Real Estate
Because banner ad CTRs have been declining, effective targeting become that much more crucial. Again, it’s not just about designing great ads—strategic placement is powerful.

Choosing the right ad network is extremely important in getting real value out of your advertising campaigns. Ad networks can vary widely in:

  • The types and sizes of audiences they serve, including niche markets.
  • Whitelisting the sites that will perform the best for your campaign, based on demographics, interest, and even geo-targeting.
  • Location and site placement options for banner ads, especially in guaranteeing your ads appear above the fold.
  • The formats of display banner ads offered, such as in-banner video and interactive ads.
  • Auction-based bidding that gets you the best bang-for-your-buck on your ad placements.
  • Capabilities in their retargeting or remarketing programs.

Ad networks can also differ in the quality of client service they offer—and this can’t be stressed enough, because so many digital agencies and networks are “setting it and forgetting it” on their clients’ campaigns. By choosing the right ad network to manage display, advertisers can continuously drive better performance on banner ads where clients are more likely to notice them, click them, get to the landing page, and convert. Or simply benefit more from the brand exposure and building that a display campaign is also meant to provide.

Agencies_Comparison Credit: Disruptive Advertising

Stand Out With Design
Design will always have a big impact on the ability of your ads to be seen and engaged. Standards for display ads are rising, and advertisers must keep up to stay competitive. Even if you’re still designing static banners, it’s more important now than ever before to use high quality graphics and make sure your call-to-action stands out.

Also, don’t be afraid to take risks—just like unconventional placement can help get your ads noticed, so can unconventional design. Try an emotion-based creative concept. Present a character or spokesperson your company has never see before. If producing in-banner video content, surprise your audience by starting somewhere unexpected. Tell a story that highlights what makes your brand so great. Even consider designing banner ads that don’t look like ads at all!

Go Further With Video
According to an e-Marketer study, 73 percent of marketing professionals plan to increase their spending on video-based ads. In fact, more and more decision makers are rerouting dollars from more traditional advertising channels into digital video.

video advertising statistics

So amid these predictions, how can advertisers stand out, instead of blend in?

As more advertisers produce high quality video content for the pre-roll period on massive video sites like YouTube and Hulu, many of them still aren’t taking advantage of the opportunity that lies in traditional website ad spaces. Producing high quality in-banner video and interactive banner ads is a great way for advertisers to separate their creatives from the ineffective static ads that their audience has become so blind to.

Is beating banner blindness a huge advertising challenge? Sure is it. But while many experts today will tell you that banner advertising is dead, it’s that misconception that opens up many opportunities for advertisers. Don’t let the prevalence of banner blindness scare you away from an extremely cost-effective advertising channel with lots of customization options. Advertisers in 2015 can succeed in this competitive space—just remember, blindness is in the eye of the beholder.

Since 2001, has offered competitive online advertiser and publisher solutions to companies around the globe. Our mission is to help advertisers achieve their best ROI with high-quality, cost-effective ad units, as well as provide our publishers with monetization tools that yield the highest revenues. Contact us to learn more or get started with your advertising campaigns.