The Simple List of Online Banner Ad Campaign Rules (that most marketers break)

1. Before You Start Any Campaign—Set Your Objectives

It sounds obvious, but banner ad campaign goals are often neglected and rarely well thought out.

Make sure your objectives are meaningful, measurable and clear to all involved. Despite common belief and the legacy of irreverent “pop-ups”, online banner ad campaigns can accomplish a number of different things—branding included.

Make sure you know what your campaigns need to achieve. And keep those objectives top of mind when designing the campaign creative.

2. Mind Your Metrics

Let go of the click-through rate. It is not the all encompassing measure of campaign success. Nor are the number of impressions a campaign serves—it’s about the results you’re seeing.

Return to your original campaign objectives. For example:

Objective: For this campaign I want to increase the average sale and decrease the cost per new client acquisition.

The most important metrics to observe in this scenario:
• Average sale
• Cost per new client acquisition

Don’t serve a single ad until you know for certain that you can track those metrics. And, when you’re evaluating the success of your media buy—if your click-through rate was lower than average, but your average sale increased by $5—the campaign hasn’t failed you. In fact, it accomplished one of your goals.

Re-evaluate things that may be affecting the click-through rate, like ad creative and calls to action before you abandon the outlet.

3. Give People a Nice Place to Land

Dropping a visitor off on your home page after they clicked through an ad promoting your “deal of the day” is about as appealing as jumping into a concrete bed. Don’t do it.

Make executing on your call to action easy.

If you’re dangling a red tape measure in front of a visitor, they click-through the ad to buy it and then they land smack dab in the midst of 10,000 plumbing supplies being sold from your home page—they’ll be leaving as quickly as they arrived.

And who will you blame? The media property for having an unresponsive audience? Your ad agency for bad creative?

4. Give It Enough Time and Budget

A half funded campaign budget slapped together on a whim and set free for a few weeks is about as effective as a half funded retirement plan—it isn’t. You’ll be back to work in no time.

The chances of someone seeing your ad for the first time and executing on your call to action right then and there are slim to none. In fact, the chances that they will convert to a client grow exponentially when they are exposed to your brand more than five times, at a minimum.

A two week campaign on a pint sized budget doesn’t typically result in wild success. Think about the presidential election process in the U.S. for example. How many times have you seen an ad for the two top contenders, in how many places and for how long?

If your goal is to make $5 dollars, you should be willing to spend $2.50—and if your goal is to make thousands…well, you can do the math.

5. Remember That You’re Marketing To Fellow Human Beings

Again, a wildly simple call here, but we’re all guilty of forgetting that we’re marketing to our own species. Before serving your ad, determine whether you’re ignoring the human element.

Can you book a $4,000 vacation at a moment’s notice and leave four days later? (I don’t really want to hear back from you if you have that luxury.)

Would you buy seven pairs of shoes today just so that you could get a pair half off?

And that ad that pops up and takes over your entire screen when you’re trying to check the weather for the day—tell me you leave it open. No wait, you’re a bigger fan of the “skip this ad” link? Imagine that. Why then, did you pay extra money to have your brand appear in that position?

Until next time… feel free to contact us at Oneupweb to talk about Online Media Planning and Placement strategies for your business. In this game, it’s the simple little things that add up to the biggest returns. And we’re all about the little things.