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Why Mobile Banner Ads Are No Bueno

Mobile advertising is a topic that, honestly, should be quite figured out already. But for some reason, the reality is different. Every day, we are forced to interact with small banner ads that are not only hard to read, but they are also proven to bring next to no results for the advertisers using them.

So what is the deal with mobile banner ads and, more importantly, what can affiliates do to make them work?

The Problem With Mobile Banner Ads

In short, the average mobile screen is just too small to be able to serve banners effectively. And this is not about pixels, dimensions and standard banner sizes because modern smartphones have a lot of such real estate. The real problem is the actual screen size in inches.

For a banner to work, it needs to occupy a large enough area on the screen, and if that area is roughly one square inch then it simply can’t produce any good results.

People Don’t Click on Mobile Banners

We should probably rephrase this. People don’t click on mobile banners intentionally. There are indeed a lot of accidental clicks but not much conscious ones.

It’s actually estimated that you are 116 times more likely to survive a rattlesnake bite than to click on a mobile banner intentionally. And also that the revenue lost by mobile advertisers due to accidental clicks in 2012 is enough to buy 1,825 Lamborghinis.

Quick Hack to Mobile Ads

There isn’t much we can do graphic-wise. No matter what approach we take, there’s always going to be only a limited amount of screen space to work with. For that reason, solely focusing on the graphics of our banners is a waste of time.

A much better approach is to use the banner to present some simple text content.

Think about it, one square inch of space is too little to present a graphic with some copy, but it’s just enough to present a short headline on its own. By choosing the right font, you should still be able to generate some clicks. But only if you manage to take care of the following challenge…

Ads Congruent With Your Offer and the Medium Itself

Relevance is key here. Your ad needs to be as congruent with the thing you’re promoting as possible, and with the mobile medium itself.

For instance, promoting an expensive offer that isn’t an impulse buy is much less likely to work well. The same thing goes for elaborate offers requiring the person to go through a lot of steps before finalizing the deal. Offers that don’t support mobile payments are another danger point.

In short, to improve your chances, focus on offers that are: impulsive in nature, affordable, easy to go through, and doable on mobile.

What’s your experience with mobile banner ads? Is there any particular thing you’ve had success with?