How many people browsing the internet actually click on banner ads? Very few and for any number of reasons, but they tend to boil down to the potential consumer not being interested in that ad, or at least not being interested just yet. For example, you may see ads for vehicles all over the internet, but how many people are going to actually buy a new vehicle at that very moment. Not very many! The odds are pretty small that the people seeing your ads are actually looking to buy whatever it is you’re hawking.
Ok, you may be thinking. That’s all too true; after all, I don’t buy everything I see; no one does! But if that’s the case, then what’s the point of banner ads (no matter how nice they are)? If you’re looking at a click through percentage rate of .3 (at best), it may seem like banner ads are a complete waste of money and time. Consumers cannot possibly buy every ad they see; in 2011, companies spent a whopping $32 billion on ads alone! It would be impossible for any ad to have a 100% click through rate or even a 1% one. So what’s the point?
The point is PEAR or Potential Eyeball and Retention rate which is a rather strange way of saying that your banner ads are way to build brand retention and recognition; ie, people will remember your ads when they are looking for what you’re selling. For example, someone selling iPads will want their ads to be memorable so that when someone is looking for an iPad, they will come to you.
Here are five ways you can get PEAR for yourself.
Research Your Audience and Where You Want Your Ads to Show Up
Don’t just place your ad willy-nilly; instead, carefully research where your target audience is going and place your ads there. Don’t go simply for sites with high page views; instead, make sure your ads match the sites they are placed upon and that people will associate their favourite sites with you and vice versa. You should also figure out how much prominence your ad will have on a site; will it be the only one or will it be one of several? Where will it be placed? Will it be rotated out? Figure out all of this before you start ad placements so that you can make sure people see it and associate with something they care about for later retention.
Partner Up with Bloggers
Good bloggers have reach; they have readers, they connect with those readers, and many of them are in a good position to tell readers how wonderful you are-if you approach them. Blogs may not have the same page view numbers as a business site, but their audience is vastly more engaged. In order to enjoy this same reach, you’ll have to find some good bloggers with which to partner your business.
There are a few ways to do this. The most obvious one is to put your ad on their blog and pay the blogger for it, but this is far from the only method. Encourage the blogger to promote you on their social networking accounts as well; this will get your brand name out there and make more people aware of it.
A really good, if time consuming, method is to arrange for reviews. Many bloggers are more than happy to do reviews of products or services if asked and in particular if there’s something in it for them (a free sample if nothing else). So long as the blogger’s writing style meshes with your brand and they seem open, honest, and willing to commit to writing a good review, this is a good idea. Then make sure to provide the blogger with all of the information he or she needs, including graphics and links. If you want to sweeten the pot, add a giveaway contest as well. That way, bloggers will inadvertently end up sending people your way to try to win the giveaway. Bloggers will not only write the review, but may also promote the giveaway for you, giving you even more eyeballs, all targeted for your products for whenever they need it.
Keep Your Message Consistent!
It bears saying again! The goal of PEAR is to maintain a consistent message that is broadcast to the audience. A very low click rate isn’t important; what’s important is that people associate you with your message and a product that they will want sometime later. You may have to do a few different designs and test each one to see which one performs the best, but keep in mind that it will take some time to figure out which ads will work well for you.
Use The Visual Opportunities Afforded by Social Networking
What do Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter all have in common? They are all social networks with a high visual appeal that you can use to your advantage to build up PEAR.
Facebook: Use the cover graphic to display your marketing banner in a larger size. This is an easy way to tie your company to your ads to your products to your customers in a neat loop.
Pinterest: Build up a presence on the virtual scrap booking site and then use one board for your ads and banners. Pinterest is a great social networking site for businesses; it’s highly effective and it’s fun. Just make sure that you only have one or two boards of advertising and plenty of other boards with actual content, such as photos of products, people using them and things related to them. And of course, make sure you chat with people to make that social connection.
Twitter: You can make your Twitter page display your latest banner ads and use the little profile picture as a thumbnail of what you’re advertising at the moment.
Time and Money
You cannot simply slap up a few ads and expect to get much out of it unless your ad is so creative and so memorable that it becomes viral. You can’t count on that (obviously), but you can make sure you have the time and money to keep placing your ads in the eyes of your target audience. It’s not cheap and it’s not quick, but it is more effective! Your competition is spending the time and money, so you have to as well or else get left behind.
So, instead of expecting your banner ads to have a massive click through rate and then throwing them out the window when they don’t, concentrate on PEAR; Potential Eyeball and Retention rate. The idea is to make sure that when consumers want to buy something, they think of you first and seek you out. Make sure that your ads are appropriately placed with the right sites and that you are making use of your social networking space to bring a consistent message and branding to customers. And make sure you have a good budget so that you can afford to keep placing your ads in the eyes of web users. Yes it will take time and money, but it’s worth it in the end. Good luck!