Banners have been a well known method of online advertising since forever. But as we all know, their effectiveness is not staggering, and getting a CTR as low as 0.4% is still considered a massive success (not even mentioning the conversion rate that follows after the click).

Why? What is it about banner advertising that makes us so eager to keep spending money on them, even though the majority of the people seeing our ads take no action whatsoever?

It turns out that a visitor doesn’t have to click on your banner ad to make the investment worthwhile for you.

This sounds mysterious, but it’s actually all about what’s called the mere exposure effect.

The psychological phenomenon is explained as a preference that people have for certain products merely because they are familiar with them.

How to create this familiarity online? Yes, you’ve guessed it, through banner ads.

If your targeting mechanisms are well crafted, you will constantly be reaching the same audience despite the fact that they might be browsing around the web freely. This fact will make the audience feel like they already know your product even though they might have never clicked your ad yet.

If you want to put this effect on steroids, you should probably invest in re-targeting, or at least test it out in your marketing.

In one of its forms, re-targeting helps you reach out to past visitors of your site. In other words, you get the chance to showcase your offer to people who have already been on your site, but didn’t take any action the first time around.

What if You Want to Improve Your Ads

So people generally don’t click on pay per click banner ads, this is clear. But there are still many things you can do to grow your CTRs just a little bit.

The first thing, and the most counter-intuitive at the same time, is to make your ads not look like ads.

Here’s an explanation. The main problem of  online advertisers is a thing called banner blindness. As it turns out, the brain of every modern human has been trained to not see anything that resembles an ad.

The worst thing is that this happens subconsciously, so the visitor literally doesn’t see your ad. Therefore, the best way out of this is to use banner ads that are way different. Some guidelines:

  • avoid Flash,
  • avoid stock pictures,
  • avoid big and glossy “click here” buttons,
  • and lastly, avoid bold promises.

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