Increasing Banner CTR: 6 Basic Rules to Follow
Learn about Banner CTR, one of the most important metrics in display advertising, and some basic ways to improve it.
In this post, we discuss banner CTR or click-through rate. We define it, list key factors that impact it, explain why this metric is so significant in analyzing the success or failure of banner campaigns, and, finally, suggest the most common ways to bring it higher. Those methods fall into two broad categories: general marketing techniques and design and content of banners themselves. We hope you’ll find this information useful.
Digital banner advertising spending in the United States in 2024 is projected to hit the $20.67 billion mark. Compare this number to $11.15 billion that US companies spent in 2019. These statistics say a lot about the popularity of banner advertising among businesses.
There’s a caveat, though. While some twenty years ago this promotion method could easily generate clicks that led to conversions, these days advertisers struggle to attract consumers’ attention to display ads. Almost every website offers tons of banners to visitors, trying to entice them to click that call-to-action button and ultimately make a purchase.
In fact, the Internet is so full of display ads that consumers have developed what came to be known as banner blindness. They simply ignore ads, thus turning many banner campaigns into a miserable failure. This enforces marketers to be more creative and smart in how they approach banner advertising.
In this post, we describe some of these techniques that you can leverage to increase CTR for your banner ads, too. We’ve divided them into two groups. One covers some general marketing strategies. The other deals with the technicalities: a banner ad design, content, and so on.
Before we take on the practical side, though, let’s have a bit of theory in case you have never heard about CTR or want more details about this indicator.
Banner CTR: When Seeing Doesn’t Always Mean Believing
Almost everything in business is measured in one way or another. How many pairs of boots did our shop sell last year? How many phone calls from potential customers have we received this week? How many people signed up for the cooking master class in the third quarter? All these questions have answers in numbers.
Banner advertising is no exception. There are several indicators that speak about the success or failure of banner campaigns. One of the metrics that you would hear discussed over and over is the Click-Through Rate or CTR for short.
Don’t know what it means? It’s actually very simple. Just take the number of times visitors to websites or social media users have seen your display ad (we call this characteristic impressions), divide it by the number of times these people cared to explore your offer further by clicking on the ad (the number of clicks), and multiply the result by 100. Here’s the CTR formula (CTR is represented as a percentage):
Naturally, the higher this number is, the more successful your banner campaign is. However, defining a good CTR for banner ads is far from straightforward. There are too many niceties that can decrease or increase the coveted digits before and after the decimal point. Let’s take a look at the most common of these.
Why Is It so Hard to Determine a Good Banner CTR?
- Banner CTR depends on your marketing goal. One of the most important aspects that influences CTR for your display ads has to do with the part of the sales funnel you’re targeting. If you simply want potential customers to know about your company and products, don’t expect too many clicks on your banners. On the other hand, if you want them to take action and actually purchase whatever you sell, banner CTR can be higher.
- Banner CTR depends on the business sector. For companies that sell food products and those in construction, for instance, CTRs can vary hugely. Find out what the average CTR for banner ads is in your sector and strive to achieve and exceed it.
- Banner CTR depends on the media where you place your ads. There are lots of media where you can publish your banners, including social apps. These differ in their audiences who have specific interests and preferences. As such, banner CTRs for them can also be very different.
- Banner CTR depends on the region. A great-looking, enticing banner can generate a high CTR somewhere in Europe but, for some reason, fail to bring you enough clicks in the USA. This can be due to some cultural peculiarities, for example. Before you run an advertising campaign in a certain country, do some research on it. This way, you can avoid some awkward mistakes that can pull your banner CTR down to the bottom.
These are just some of the things that make pinning down a good CTR for your banner ads difficult. As we said, striving to keep in line with the average number for your business sector is probably your best bet.
Why Should You Care About Improving Banner CTR?
First and foremost, banner CTR helps you understand if your current banner campaign has hit the “success button.” Knowing this, you can plan your further advertising spending more precisely, provided that we know the average banner CTR for our niche.
Banner CTR also allows us to evaluate the quality of the banner, understand if viewers have found it enticing enough, and decide if we need to perform A/B testing. In addition, this metric lets us determine the best placements for our ads. For some sites, banner CTR can be higher. For others, it can be lower. Somewhere else, no visitor has clicked on the banner at all.
We should mention another important consideration related to banner CTR. There’s a direct correlation between it and the cost-per-click indicator. The higher is CTR, the less money you have to pay for each click. Therefore, if you want to spend less on advertising campaigns and improve your sales figures at the same time, you should take banner CTR very seriously.
Some Ways to Achieve a Higher Banner CTR
Now that you know what banner CTR is and why it’s such an important metric, let’s talk about some common ways to improve it. We’re not going to describe each and every existing method, though. This would call for an entire book rather than a short post. Still, why not try the ones below as a starting point in your quest for a higher CTR and then apply something more advanced?
General Marketing Techniques
Avoid Casting a Net That’s Too Wide
Every business owner’s goal is to have as many customers or clients as possible. However, as far as ad display is concerned, trying to “catch every fish in the water” is not the best policy.
Say you sell tourist gear such as trekking boots, tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, and so on. Most likely, you would want your banner campaigns to engage young people, students, those with an average income, and everyone with an active lifestyle. You would hardly collect many clicks from the demographics who are clearly not into green tourism.
Therefore, consider studying your target audience before launching an advertising campaign. The more relevant to your products or services this audience is, the more clicks you can expect, and, thus, a higher CTR. Exclude the categories of consumers who will hardly bring you value and improve your banner CTR.
Think Hard About Goodies You Offer to Banner Viewers
This is all about people’s psychology. Consumers tend to be attracted by gifts. Therefore, decide if you can give them some of your stuff at cost zero. If you can, do.
Expanding on the tourist gear example, you can promise every customer who has purchased two pairs of trekking boots on your store a gratis pair of hiking mittens. This works much better than small, insignificant discounts and should bring you more clicks and visitors to your landing page.
Select Sites for Your Display Ads with Care
This is closely related to the first point in this section. If you are primarily focused on students and young people, there’s probably not much sense in running your display ads on a food recipe website. At the same time, placing your banners on websites for booking seats on trains or buses or forums for travelers is likely to generate more clicks for obvious reasons.
Therefore, search for appropriate settings on your preferred advertising network and pick those resources that can potentially bring you a higher banner CTR.
Stick to the Banner Ad Design and Content Best Practices
First things first. Your banner must look professional and convey your message clearly. To achieve this goal, you should follow basic design and content creation guidelines. Some of these include:
- Picking the optimal banner size(s)
- Putting your brand above all
- Keeping your text short
- Creating a hierarchy for your information
- Making your banner stand out from the rest of the page
- Choosing the best color scheme
The list goes on.
The best approach to creating engaging banners that follow the key design principles is to seek assistance from expert banner developers like our own team. With over 15 years of industry experience and thousands of beautiful banners of all types built for happy clients, we are true leaders in this field. To learn more about the types of banners we make, visit this page on our blog.
Consider More Engaging Types of Banners
A good cure for banner blindness as well as an effective way to improve the average banner CTR is to add motion and interactivity to your display ads. Static banners have their merits, too. For example, they are unobtrusive and cheap. Still, animated banners look more interesting and can tell your brand’s story in a much more meaningful way within the same limited space.
In the past, banner ad developers used Flash as their weapon of choice to build animated banners. Now, this format has been almost completely replaced by HTML5. The latest version of the web’s main markup language has everything for making ads with the WOW effect to entice the most demanding consumers. To learn more about the benefits of HTML5 banners for businesses, read another post on our blog.
Remember About Consumers on the Move
It takes all kinds of hardware to make the digital world. Gone are the times when PCs or Macs were the only windows to the enchanting Internet space. These days, consumers rely more heavily on their handheld devices for surfing the web and making online purchases. Merchants and advertisers have to respond to this growing demand.
If you care about improving your banner CTR, you should give enough attention to how your display ads will look on the small screens of your prospects’ smartphones and tablets.
However, there are millions of models of these produced by hundreds of companies across the globe. How can you make sure that your banners will look perfect on all of them? Well, there are two ways:
- Create HTML5 banners that adjust their dimensions and content to the screen of the device where they are rendered.
- Build a banner set that caters to all common screen sizes.
Which of these two paths to take depends on your budget and time. Testing is extremely important in this case. Your banner CTR will equal zero if your display ad looks like a reflection in a distorting mirror on the screen of an iPhone or Samsung.
Banner CTR is a tricky metric. There are lots of aspects that make finding a good average CTR for banner ads a devil of a job, such as the business sector or regional specifics.
You can’t expect CTR to be sky-high right from the start. It takes patience, skill, and time to bring this important indicator higher. You should follow the basic marketing rules, such as selecting appropriate consumer groups and media for your display ads. In addition, banners themselves should look great, be engaging, and present your offer clearly.
Instead of spending your precious time on the visual side of banner advertising campaigns, why not trust this task to professionals from the PSD2HTML banner development team?
We build stunning HTML5 banners of all types (static, animated, and interactive) optimized for the major advertising networks (AdRoll, Sizmek, AIB, and many more). We also meticulously test banners on over 12 physical devices and in all the popular browsers. This means your display ads will look ideal everywhere.
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