The art of the offer: Getting People To Click Your Ads

The Art Of The Offer: Getting People To Click Your Banner Ads

This is the first of a series of posts designed to go into the pillars of a sound online marketing strategy.  Although I’m writing this article in the context of AreaEcho Banner Ads, it is just as applicable to virtually any marketing tactic.

First off, I will just put this out there: Banner ads, unless they are good, tend to just fade in the background and be ignored.

This isn’t just me talking.  In 2013, Nielsen published a report called  its “Trust in Advertising” where they ranked online banner ads as the least trusted form of advertising among consumers.  Not just online advertising, either.  They even factored in traditional media like magazines and newspapers.

So here’s the trick: Make them good.  But how exactly do you do that?

Let’s start with the offer

The offer/value proposition gives you a chance to communicate the product or service you provide. It should do this in a way that when combined with the call-to-action (see below) it compels the viewer to take an action.  It should generally take up the most space in the banner and draw the attention of the viewer first.

So what is a good offer? Two of my favorites is from TurboTax. They are simply “Get your taxes done NOW.” and “The IRS deadline is coming. File fast, for FREE.” Both of these offer a value proposition. If they had simply stated their business model (like so many small companies do) they would have wound up with “Online tax filing software” and it would generate virtually no clicks.

Next, let’s look at your call to action

Your call to action on a banner ad should always be a button.  While the size, shape color and text on that button may vary, the button is extremely important.  Studies have shown that people may not even realize they are looking at an ad without a button. The buttons on the banners I referenced above for TurboTax simply read “Start for FREE.”

Let’s dissect this: “Start” promotes action, and “FREE” adds a benefit. If you can do both in your CTA you’ll likely see better results.  If your offer is good enough, “Click Here” may work, but “Get Started Today” might work better. Think about this a little bit. Maybe even run 2 different versions and see which one performs better.  This is important to get right.

Everything Else

Now that you have your offer and call-to-action in place, it’s time to fit in the rest.  Colors, logos and images should be added to compliment the offer and CTA. We all realize the importance of branding, but if you are trying to compel action, the logo shouldn’t be the largest thing on your ad.

Other Design tips:

  • Use a border. People are usually drawn to what’s inside a frame, so make sure the frame on your banner is clearly defined. For white ads, a 1 pixel gray border is standard. For other colors, use a border with contrast.
  • Use color carefully. I’m not going to get into the science of color selection here, but it might help if you went a did a quick google search for “color psychology” and keep the results in mind when choosing yours.
  • Don’t be afraid to test. Like I said before, run different sets of offers and calls to action.  Among those, try different color combinations. I’m fond of the saying “you never know until you know.” The only way to know is to test.
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Jim Mosier

Jim is the founder of MosierData and the architect behind AreaEcho. He is a champion for small business and has been developing websites since "The Web" became a thing. He currently holds certifications in Everything Google (Analytics, Adwords Search, Display, Video, Mobile and Shopping) as well as Inbound Marketing. Outside of work, he's really into the Tampa Bay Lightning, riding his Harley and taking cruises when he can find time to unplug.