As an affiliate marketer, you often rely on the visibility of banner ads that you place on your website.
The effectiveness of banner advertisements used to be quite high before the smartphone era, when users predominantly accessed websites on desktop computers.
As the internet evolves and smarter mobile devices come into play, users are increasingly becoming blind or indifferent to online ads they see every day.
Think about it. Do you remember the last ad you’ve seen today?
Looking at the extensive surveys on this subject, most users simply do not “see” banner ads most of the time.
According to an Infolink study examining the industry challenge of banner blindness, only 14% of respondents remember the last display ad they saw. The study conducted among US users stated that half of the users never click on online ads while 35% click on less than 5 ads a month.
To put it into perspective, it is like you presenting a sales pitch to an entire football stadium of prospective clients and getting less than 5 actual customers from it.
This strange – and quite alarming one at that for affiliate marketers! – is called Banner Blindness.
What causes Banner Blindness?
While it is not possible to point out one direct cause of banner blindness, we can come to several conclusions looking at internet user behavior.
If you think back to the online advertising industry from 10-20 years ago, you can see that it has evolved greatly and become far more sophisticated.
Nevertheless, over many years, users have been overwhelmed by the annoyingly large influx of banner ads, and their minds have been conditioned to automatically ignore them, regardless of how personally related they are.
Internet users are much savvier in their behavior on the platform now. They are specific of the content they look for, and their eyes generally ignore banner ads.
How to Overcome Banner Blindness?
Since the very inception of the marketing industry – both traditional and digital – being a marketer was all about being creative and finding new ways and methods to get the attention of a prospective client.
While Banner Blindness can be quite a challenge, there are always ways to overcome it.
Following are six practical ways to get the attention of users who habitually ignore digital ads.
Use Native Advertising
One of the biggest and most obvious reasons that advertisements get ignored is that – they look like advertisements.
When studying the heat maps of popular web pages with banner ads, you can see that visitors automatically ignore the ad parts on webpages, typically located on the sidebar, the header or the very bottom of the page.
Native Advertising is non-intrusive to consumers. It means aggregating your ad in the article’s content itself without effortfully luring people to notice and click it.
In Native Ads, the content should not sound like a direct sales pitch.
Provide proper value to the reader in the content that you provide, and natively embed your advertisement within the article’s content.
The effectiveness of Native Advertising is reportedly over 400% more when compared to traditional banner ads.
Go for non-traditional layouts and placement
Online users are wary of traditional banner ads.
To get the attention of a user whose eyes automatically overlook traditional ads, you need to be creative and make them as different as possible from the ads they are used to.
Think of yourself and what you’d like to see different in the ads you look at every day. Use different sizes, colors, graphics, and fonts. Deliver relevant and educational content, even if its goal is to sell ultimately.
Use direct, clean and creative ads and test them in places that you do not normally see ads.
If you look at ten banner ads in a website, it is very likely that 8 of them look absolutely similar in design.
We are all used to the same ad layout with an image, a heading and a few details. A compelling ad design has the power to demand attention, and traditional layouts are incapable of doing that.
Think outside of the box. Design differently to attract the eyes of your visitors.
The advertising industry is rapidly moving away from shooting in the dark (i.e., traditional marketing) to properly targeted marketing.
Imagine a customer visiting your website and checking out to buy one of your products. For some reason, he or she decided to abort the mission and not make that purchase after all.
You lost yourself a sale there. Quite painful.
That’s when retargeting comes in.
In retargeting, you can directly target that same cart-abandoning user through display ads.
Using display ads re-engages consumers in the early stages of their buying process with the use of special tracking code to place cookies on the computer of a potential customer.
Include a Video
Video and other multi-media methods of advertisements have long been proven to give better results when it comes to engaging your audience, sharing information and promoting a product or service.
However, as interest piquing as videos may be, they might not work entirely on their own. That is why testing is appropriate to find out what works best for your audience, product, and objectives.
In a Facebook IQ report infographic, we see how sequencing different ad formats may affect the results of a campaign.
While it will take more initial effort, using short videos for your advertisements will be an effective investment to get your message across to your visitors.
Optimize for smart devices
Finally, make sure that all your advertisements are fully optimized for the mobile audience.
Banner Blindness is even more prevalent among the users of smart devices such as mobile phone or tablets.
Optimize for all the possible platforms that your potential customers are visiting from. Keep your text ads clutter free, and your video ads short and direct.
It is all about knowing your audience and approaching them in better ways so that they just cannot ignore you.