Many people have no idea how to actually get their banner ads to convert. They go to professional designers, and have them make these beautiful, stunning, professional looking ads. There’s one problem: These ads don’t work. The problem is that so many people, see so many ads per day (estimates are in the 1,000’s) that no one wants to see another advertisement. That’s why ads that have white backgrounds, and regular, ugly black text often perform so well in split-tests. They don’t make the visitor feel like they’re being “advertised to”, like with so many of the other advertisements they see on a daily basis.

So, how do we make ads that get clicks? This post will tell you how…

Tip #1: Start With The Ad Copy.

The most important thing on a banner ad, is its ad copy. The words on the ad that get people to determine whether or not they actually want to click on it. So, instead of focusing on design elements, focus first, on what the ad actually says, and go from there. This will save you countless hours of split-testing. So, instead of just changing the font size and color, the pictures and banner sizes, first split-test the actual text itself.

So, for example, if your banner ad says “Click Here To Lose Weight Fast”, and it gets a CTR of 0.0003%, then don’t try to redo it in a prettier font, add a picture of a beautiful woman, or anything like that, because chances are, if that has a low CTR, all that other stuff won’t matter. So again, focus on changing the ad copy first, and then, once you have successful ad copy, THEN it’s time to mess with the font, images, placement, banner sizes, etc.

Tip #2: Stun Them With Shocking Images

One thing you can do to get peoples’ attention, is to use shock imagery in your banner ad copy. Shock images are anything that stuns, or surprises them immediately, or even completely grosses them out. Selling nicotine patches? Use a giant disgusting tumor in your ad copy, see if it works. Selling weight loss supplements? Use a morbidly obese person wearing a skimpy outfit… that will get there attention.

It’s important for me to note at this point that you should be measuring your Cost Per Acquisition, not just your CTR, because Cost Per Acquisition, (or CPA), is what really matters, and getting a high CTR, will just make it more likely that you’ll get a low CPA. With shock imagery, sometimes your CTR will increase, but without actually decreasing your CPA, so make sure that you’re focusing on your CPA Goal, because that’s far more important than your CTR in the end.

non-smoker advertising

Tip #3: Don’t Forget a Strong Call To Action

Just like with any form of copy, your banner ad copy should include a very strong Call To Action (CTA). This CTA is important because you need to tell the people who see your ad impression EXACTLY what to do, or they’re far less likely to do it. You know how in sales they say, “Ask for the sale”?. Well, with display advertising, or any form of online advertising, you need to “Ask for the click”.

The CTA should ideally be blue, and underlined, because this is what people are used to seeing when they see a link, and it implies that it’s something they should click on. It doesn’t have to be fancy, your banner ad could read: “89% of smokers end up dying from lung cancer… Click Here To Find Out Why…”. That isn’t an actual statistic, just an example. You can also test different colors for your call to action, but make it clear that it’s supposed to be a link. So remember, ask them for the click.

long banner

Tip #4: People Can Draw In Attention

When crafting your banner ads, remember that people often do a great job drawing attention. They generally draw attention much better than inanimate objects (though not always, so keep that in mind). It’s not just hot chicks that draw attention either, all shapes and sizes of people can draw in attention, just make that that it makes sense with your ad.

Also, keep in mind that a zoom-up of someone’s face can draw even more attention, so split-test that in your ad copy as well. Also, keep in mind, that the more skin you can show, the better. Publishers will only allow a certain amount of skin usually, as opposed to full-on nudity, but as a general rule of thumb, the more skin you can show, the higher your CTR will go (boy, that’s catchy).

Well, there you have it, 4 tips to send your CTR soaring through the roof. Put them to good use, and remember, split test, split test, split test. You don’t really know what’s going to work until it passes the acid test, so go out there and see if it works.