I’ve been writing copy for a lot of web banners lately, and it’s a frustrating task.
The average click through rates are about as good as your odds of getting struck by lightning, 79% of mobile web users find banner ads annoying and intrusive, and it’s difficult to balance effective with engaging messaging when you have room for about 3 words of copy.
Far too many dollars are flowing into display ads, which are incredibly weak branding vehicles. You can add all the bells and whistles you want to banner ads, but they’ll never truly create the kind of emotional experience that gets consumers excited about your brand. Gilad de Vries.
I’ve been collecting “web ads I actually clicked through” in a folder, to see if there’s something to the art form that I’m missing, (you can see my bias skews to clever copy), but I think what I’m really missing is a conviction that this is a useful way to connect with people.
Digital natives — people under 30 who have grown up with smart phones and the web — are a new breed. They change screens 27 times per hour. They know what their attention is worth and they won’t just give it away. They expect ads to be useful, entertaining or pull their own weight in some other way.
We’ve worked really hard with clients to design online takeovers that actually add value to the user experience on the page, by providing inspiring images that breathe or give people a preview of an awesome new video, but I’m curious to know what gets the most (and the most meaningful) interaction – a banner ad or a facebook post containing the same information?
So here’s my disruptive thought for the day.
Clients, stop buying banner ads. They’re a waste of your money. Embrace the rise of visual social media. Put your money into art directing facebook posts or designing “share cards”, instead.
Here’s the rationale to make my case.
1. People are spending 32 hours a month online with 22 % of that on facebook and other social channels.
2. When people go to websites, they are usually looking for specific info. Eyeball tracking shows that they are working very hard to ignore your marketing, to tune it out, so they can accomplish what they want to accomplish.
3. If you have facebook likes, you already have an invitation to connect with people. Why stand on a busy street corner yelling at strangers to get their attention (random focussed visitors to website), when you when you could speak engagingly to people who had invited you into their living rooms (your facebook fans) and who just might spread the word?
So, instead of putting out banner ads that people will try to ignore, why not reallocate the media buy budget for banner ads, web takeovers and rollovers towards enhancing your social content? Invest in better visual assets. Sponsor an “instagram army.” Design clever/delightful/beautiful/shareable facebook posts or “share cards.” It’s called CONTENT MARKETING. It’s what builds and boosts brands.
The success of a handful of brands on Pinterest has shown that shareable images will earn a lot more attention (well-targeted, like-minded, word-of-mouth, peer-to-peer attention) than sales messages.
Forty-four percent of respondents to a 2012 study said they are more likely to engage with brands that post pictures than any other media.
Where are you gonna click?