Please Move Over … You’re Blocking the Content

Have you ever clicked on a banner ad? According to Solve Media, you’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad—but yet they are still a major part of many marketers’ advertising budgets. Recently, we were hounded by a radio rep who wanted to know when we were going to take advantage of the “value added” bonus he was offering to our client. The value-add was in the form of a free digital banner on their site

Have you ever clicked on a banner ad?

According to Solve Media, you’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad—but yet they are still a major part of many marketers’ advertising budgets.

Recently, we were hounded by a radio rep who wanted to know when we were going to take advantage of the “value added” bonus he was offering to our client. The value-add was in the form of a free digital banner on their site.

I’ll admit that we were procrastinating since we (and the client) didn’t think that the time and energy it would take to design the banner ad would be worth it, since neither of us believed that their high net-worth target would be perusing this particular website. But here are the facts: Since January, our banner has delivered 288,278 unique impressions. 535 individuals clicked on the banner (0.19 percent).

Did it result in any visits to the clients’ retail store? More visits to their website? More sales? It doesn’t seem so because the offer on the landing page (mention this station and get X percent off your purchase) has never been leveraged. But stimulating interest in the clients’ brand among 535 people is a good thing … right?

My real issue with banner ads is how obnoxious many of them have become.

Often, you type in a URL to visit a website, but before you can see the page, you have to look at (or hopefully can bypass after 3 seconds) some form of advertising. It’s akin to waving your arms in front of me and shouting, “Hey! Toilet paper is on sale on aisle 4,” while I’m trying to look at the cheese choices in the dairy aisle.

Even worse is when the arm waver isn’t advertising anything relevant to my grocery store visit. Instead, they’re waving and shouting, “Hey! There’s a single guy in your area looking for a date!” Gosh, I hope he’s not stalking me while I select my cheese …

Of course, I realize that many websites accept advertising from a variety of advertisers, and generating revenue may be their No. 1 goal, but my reaction is often that I am reluctant to visit that website again if the advertising is so obnoxious that it distracts from my consumption of content.

Placing banner ads in a relevant environment makes total sense to me. Dog food ads on a website about pets … ads for tires on a website for car lovers … got it. But to optimize your clickthrough rates, I believe the choice of ad placement needs thoughtful consideration of the mindset of the Web visitor and the information they were seeking when they landed on that site in the first place.

Because the next guy that waves in front of my attempt to consume content on any site and shouts “Hey! Your opinion counts!” is going to get answers that will totally screw up their survey results. Just sayin’ …