5 Ways to beat Banner Blindness

    [This article was written by Jessica Smith.]

    What is banner blindness?

    Banner blindness, one of the most painful facts from the online marketing and advertising industry, is the tendency of online browsers to consciously or subconsciously ignore page elements that they perceive (correctly or incorrectly) to be advertisements (ads). The term “banner blindness” was coined by Benway and Lane, a research team, when they reported results of website usability tests that indicated this type of behaviour. During the tests, the information that was overlooked included external advertisement banners as well as quick links (used for internal navigation).

    Banner blindness, at times, makes online browsers ignore even those banner ads which contain information they are actively seeking.

    Many consumer surveys have shown that only 14% of consumers remember the last ad they saw and the company or product it promoted. Also, with only 2.8% of online browsers thinking that ads are relevant, the role of today’s advanced technology is questionable!

    Needless to say, banner blindness has a largely negative effect on the business goals of the advertising and marketing industry. About 44% of the money spent by companies on ads is wasted on ads that remain unviewed or overlooked by online browsers.

    How to beat banner blindness and successfully market your product?

    As a seller, you need to take note of the causes of banner blindness and improvise on your ways of advertising your product. This would surely increase your customer base and your cash flow. You could use both offline and online means for enhanced and effective advertising.

    Here are 5 ways to beat banner blindness:

    1. Street Marketing – This offline means of beating banner blindness is simply about advertising your product/brand in an unconventional way in public spaces. While the possibilities of unconventional advertising are endless, custom banners are a new rage of drawing the attention of the general public to your business. The trick is to position the custom banners strategically so that they convert casual passers-by into real paying customers. For example, a large hanging banner is ideal for a big open space in malls, while smaller hanging banners can be used in lobbies to promote your products. For events like trade shows or exhibitions, you could place a portable roll-up banner, in front of your stall.
    2. Place your ad in unconventional places on your website or mobile app – It is a human tendency to disregard the routine and the usual. Hence placing your ad in unconventional places would certainly attract the visitor’s attention and help combat banner blindness. Some examples of unconventional places are –
      • At the top of the page (in the case of a website) where the ad will get more visibility as most people start viewing a webpage at the top.
      • Memorable locations to improve user recall.
      • Within your blog, i.e. contextual links between the posts in your blog.
    3. Use relevant and delightful content in your website or mobile app- It is critical to identify what your visitors want, hence use relevant content including the keywords that are of keen interest to your targeted audience. Use non-standard formats and designs, unusual colours,3D design, animation and brand personality to enhance your ads. Applying motion effects could increase interaction. Including videos, social media buttons and a ‘Call Now’ button (in the case of mobiles) in your ads would take you many steps closer to minimizing banner blindness. Last but not the least, use cookies to create relevant personal ads, helping your site identify people who’ve previously visited your site.
    4. Use website-skin ads – These ads appear to belong to the host website because they cover its entire background. For your ad, make use of space on a website that is traditionally blank. Through this all-encompassing ad experience, visitors or users would link the host website’s brand value and trust factor with your product or service. Also, this high-impact advertising technique would allow you to leverage the reputation of the host site, resulting in the creation of a strong sense of co-branding.
    5. Advertise through affiliate programs – Affiliate programs let you partner with other companies who share the same audience or type of visitors. Advertising your products or service on an affiliated publisher’s site is an easy way to combat banner blindness. You can also earn an income as an affiliate marketer by promoting a company’s product that in your opinion has value.

    To sum up, create better ads by focusing on your visitors’ needs. Also, don’t restrict your advertising techniques to online methods. Get creative offline through custom banners and expand your business by making mere passers-by want to use your products or service. By adopting such effective ways of marketing and advertising, banner blindness, which is currently every advertiser’s nightmare, would soon be a thing of the past.

    It all adds up to more money for you!

    Author Bio:

    Jessica Smith is a marketing enthusiast and an influencer in Fashion & FnB verticals. She keeps special interest in the impact of visual branding on business growth. She has been writing for Stuart signstore, having a specialisation on T-shirt printing, for a long time now.

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