Making Banner Ads Work
“In-image ads” is one form of integrating ads with content. This means that a visitor is likely to look at an image while reading content he chose, and if the ad is blended with the image, it becomes a part of the reading experience. In the following ad, for example, the Camaro appears as the ad and can still be compared to the original image of the Ford Mustang if the visitor clicks on the ad. Do note that the Camaro is still not an obvious ad, and the visitor might want to click on it only to know more. But for the advertiser, it is a click achieved. Even if the visitor does not click on it, the advertiser still gets an impression. So it is a win-win situation anyway, without the Camaro ad being relegated to the sidebars of the web page where the visitor will not even look at it.
The example also tells you how banner ads may work even when everyone else is saying that they don’t. The main job of a banner ad is to hold the visitor’s attention, and doing so in tandem with other information. Banner ads should also be a small part of your total advertising budget, and not take up too much time and effort, because its function is to entice, not to inform.
In the example, all the functions you expect from a banner ad are fulfilled. It grabs the visitor’s attention the moment he looks at the image as the logical thing to do when he is reading the text. That means that it is still appearing with other information while catching the eye. It is not fancy, it is just a line of text with an image, and creating it takes very little time and effort, not to mention money. The main job is done by the image, and the ad is placed strategically to entice the visitor to the landing page where he can get more information. It does this without being too in-you-face or so annoying that the visitor leaves the page, and therefore the ad, altogether.
Likewise, integrated banners in videos and games can also give better visibility and a higher chance of getting clicked if they are used sensibly. It is not easy, because planning your banner ad campaign in the same manner with a video as an image is not going to work. A lot of visitors will simply click shut a small banner at the bottom of a video or a game because they want the whole experience. On the other hand, thinking out of the box when placing a banner in a video or a game might work to get you higher CTRs. In the following screenshot, there are a number of videos in the banner, where a visitor has to click on any one to go to a landing page where more information is available:
This can be easily integrated with the video a visitor wishes to watch and can click on any one of the tabs when he is done. It is completely unobtrusive, and again does not interfere with what the visitor aims to do in the first place.
Banner ads may be completely obsolete when it comes to ROI but then that depends entirely on how you plan to use your banners. Make them a static display on a sidebar or as a header and no one will even bother looking at it, let alone clicking. But use them wisely, and you will know why people say that banner advertising is a remarkably resilient form of advertising on the internet.