The lowly banner has been much-maligned in the trade press in recent years. But like so many things in the marketing equation, banners can have a place if used appropriately. I would concur for mass-market consumer sites. Banners are likely dead. The victims of too many re-finance ads, credit card offers, and mass branding efforts.
But in b-to-b the banner is alive and well. We recently ran a banner for a local CPA firm on the business section of a regional news site that pulled a 1.18% click-thru; about 4x the industry average. Another client’s programs are often exceeding 1% CTRs as well.
I think the secret is in your strategy for using and deploying banners. Too many marketers view them as advertising – much like print or broadcast. A more helpful perspective is to think of them as a direct marketing tool. In this model, the list, creative, and offer fuel success. With online you can target more tightly (like direct mail) and you’re motivating a response behavior (like direct mail) with impactful, relevant creative (like direct mail). And, unlike direct mail you can perform testing of these variables with almost real-time feedback.
If you have a solid message, the need to target, and a compelling call-to-action, consider an effective banner program for your next campaign.