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  1. #1
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    ... do you all see that most "newly released" affiliate banners, more and more, contain 90% logos / slogans / branding than enticing content? I don't have a problem with branding but when 90% of the "realestate" in the ad is lost, what can we really do? Shouldn't merchants look at making more effective (CTR) ads for us?

    Haiko

  2. #2
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    An "unclicky" banner can often be redeemed by a text link placed directly under it.

  3. #3
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    My Most Valuable Asset are the product images on merchant's server (or on akamai servers if merchant is outsourcing the bandwidth). I hardly use any banners or creatives to "sell", but I can see where "Selling Creatives" are a "must".

    - BluesX

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Joey's Avatar
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    Is branding nessasarily bad?

    People always say to make your site's look similiar to the merchant's. It makes the change from your site to the merchant's less drastic. IMO, the same principals should be applied to logo branding. If a customer has never heard of 123Inkjets, might they feel more comfortable with the site if they've already seen it's logo 5 or 6 times? It helps a customer become more familiar with the merchant.

    Of course I'd only use banners with just logos on pages specific to that merchant. (I wouldn't put a banner of nothing but a TigerDirect logo on the front page of Joeys-coupons-for-tons-of-merchants.com)

    Who says banners are just for clicking on? I'll save that for the text links.

    -Joey

    [ 08-05-2002: Message edited by: Joey ]

  5. #5
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    Ad agencies have complained for years that the client isn't happy unless their name is all over the ad.

    There is a limit to how appealing this is from the customers point of view. The idea is to associate a concept with the product, not just a name. All too often its all name and no concept these days, from what you're saying.

    I think, lots of people need to sit down and think about *why* people click on anything at all.


    I

  6. #6
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Haiko:
    ... do you all see that most "newly released" affiliate banners, more and more, contain 90% logos / slogans / branding than enticing content? I don't have a problem with branding but when 90% of the "realestate" in the ad is lost, what can we really do? Shouldn't merchants look at making more effective (CTR) ads for us?

    Haiko
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    From a merchant standpoint, I would really love to hear every idea you guys have to get better CTR's in banners. We have tried some different things, but none being very revolutionary.

    So what are you guys looking for? What have you found that works better. I think sometimes we merchants, I can't speak for everyone, get too close to our logo/brand/product/current way of doing graphics that we don't see more then what we are doing and miss some opportunities for innovation and success.

    So you like more products, just product shots or product directed banners?

    Do you find that copy in banners works better, or better in certain instances? We did find an increase in CTR when we added a call to action in our logo or other type of banners, such as "Shop Now". I also agree with buckworks.com that a text link can help a bad banner.

  7. #7
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    Branding within Banners on an affiliate site sometimes creates a mentality with the potential customer to bypass the Banner link and just Type in the "CompanyName.com"...

    This mind-set in some site visitors makes a Branded Banner into a "Lost Sale" to the affiliate that placed the Banner in good faith.

    Heavy product images and catch phrases are what attracts the eye to a Banner. It should invite a click-through for more information. The Banner should NOT allow a way around clicking on the Banner.

    Merchants need to offer a good selection of these non-branded, product-intensive Banners to affiliates! This will allow for more growth for the affiliate and the Merchant.

    Jim in Texas [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

  8. #8
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    JimBet7 hit it on the head. Placing your URL or Logoed URL plus your 800# in the banners and pointing it at your home page is the lamest thing a merchant can do. All banners should be designed to what the landing page has to offer. Category banners with enticing product snapshots and a action animation work best. Branding is the scourge of the affiliate industry since we are not here to brand or advertise for merchants. They can hit the road jack if that's why they have an affiliate program....cheap skate advertising. Let them paste Ads on buses and competitors buildings

  9. #9
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    It's funny because the majority of merchants (myself included) need to understand that their brand is tiny.

    What sells in most instances is strong underlying brands, like The North Face or Oakley.

    A BackcountryStore themed banner has a tiny click through, but if we feature product image and the supporting brand, click through spikes. So...we'll continue to build our brand slowly, and instead focus on cranking sales!

    Admittedly, a company like Cold Water Creek, that has been around a while and has branded products is a very different story. People understand the value behind that brand and that helps drive the clicks.

    But for 95% of the merchants....

  10. #10
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    I haven't seen anybody mention banner ads from other than the affiliate/merchant point of view, so being a buttinsky I'll go ahead and give my worthless surfer/consumer point of view - I doubt banners are worth worrying about too much.

    I'm perhaps older to the web than most out there (possibly including quite a few of you affs and merchants) so my viewpoint may not be typical. But thanks to the fact that they're on EVERY page (okay, almost every page) visited, and quite often they're incredibly obnoxious ("if this banner is flashing, you've won . . .") I long ago became "banner-blind" - I really don't see them anymore.

    I also can't remember the last time I clicked a banner, although I do quite often click on text links.

    If a product/service isn't worth writing about on a web page, why would I care about a bunch of banners that are slopped into every page they can be fit into?

  11. #11
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Jaybat, your opinion as a consumer is NOT worthless! Without consumers, none of us make zip! (Although certain people have weirdo shopping habits that I'd ignore, you don't seem to be one of them, at least not that I can remember. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] )

    And I agree that, that YOU HAVE WON flashing monstrosity of a banner has got to be annoying even to its maker. Some newbies must click it though, or I'd think it'd have gone away by now...

    From my own (retail) perspective, I don't mind the branding banners so much (as long as they don't have an 800 number, because that's advertising the 800# just TOO much). The reason is this: It's easier to click a banner once, than to type an address into the browser bar--and human nature is to take the easiest route when all else is equal. Clicking a banner or a text link is the easiest way to get from one site to another so people are very likely to do it!

    Joey--some people may say to make your site look similar but I myself have found that it helps to have a rather OBVIOUS difference between the two. I think viewers get confused or think something's fishy if the URL changes and yet it looks like they're on the same site.

    But I do agree that the branding banners can make people feel more comfortable and increase conversions. As I've said in other posts, banners themselves don't seem to get many clicks but the clickthrough rate on text links rises when I run them.

  12. #12
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jamie@ColdwaterCreek:


    From a merchant standpoint, I would really love to hear every idea you guys have to get better CTR's in banners. We have tried some different things, but none being very revolutionary.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Getting very high CTR is very easy. Converting that traffic is the difficulty. One of the sites we run is http://BannerTesting.com. We've seen CTR up to 25%. And that's serving 15,000 a day. Did we see a single sale? Nope. (0.00% CR) Based on what I've seen, I can design a banner that will get 1-5% CTR (depending on the product) But what will be the CR?

    Think of banners not as advertisting, but pre-qualifing tools. If you have a banner that is designed right, you'll have a .25% CTR, but a 10% CR. That's a success. But to have a 10% CTR and .0005% CR, that's a total failure.

    (CTR = Click Through Ratio)
    (CR = Conversion Ratio, the number of people who come to the site and actually buy something)

  13. #13
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    Merchants who can't sell need to show high CTR banners of their affiliates to send customers to affiliates sites to get them qualified.

    That's the only use of a high CTR banner I can think of.. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    - BluesX

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador qball0213's Avatar
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    While I agree with Jaybat to an extent, I do ignore all the noisy flashing banners, if a banner provides some info, and really tells you what it's about, I'll click on it. I think banners are a good branding information tool, and I click them all the time. I have been on the net, using it, not creating webpages, since the early nineties, I wish I had created some sites back then.

  15. #15
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by AffJus:
    [QB]
    Think of banners not as advertisting, but pre-qualifing tools. If you have a banner that is designed right, you'll have a .25% CTR, but a 10% CR. That's a success. But to have a 10% CTR and .0005% CR, that's a total failure.QB]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    How true! What really matters is what makes a customer make that purchase. I am sure those "win this by clicking here" banners get lots of click throughs, but how many actually go beyond curiosity and actually do something after the click? Probably not a whole lot.

    In our case, I think it is important to have our brand visible in any graphic, as many know who we are and know what to expect from us. (However, I will never consider putting phone numbers in an affiliate image, people have actually done that?)

    We try to incorporate the brand with something to get them ready to buy, a product shot usually and then the banner links to that product.

    What about animated gifs, we haven't done this too much, usually only with sales.

  16. #16
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    Contrarian view to Branded Banners...

    I feel that a great many web shoppers that browse through many websites are dulled by a brand name company Banner. If the have visited the company site before, it will be "Been there, Seen that" mentality. In this scenario, the Branding loses the CTR/Sale.

    Banners need to accomplish what Text links do. That is: entice the shopper to click through to see what is there for them! If they think it is something they've seen or been to before, (company.com), they won't waste the time to click.

    Merchants - Build Banners with products, prices, narrative and no Branding. Interest the shopper into clicking. If they wanted products that were at a "Branded" site, they would be at that site already.

    Get away from "In Your Face" Branding and get more customers from your Banner links...

    Jim in Texas [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador affiliatemakeover's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>It's easier to click a banner once, than to type an address into the browser bar--and human nature is to take the easiest route when all else is equal. Clicking a banner or a text link is the easiest way to get from one site to another so people are very likely to do it!
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    What's the #1 searched for term on WordTracker's long term list?

    Yahoo

    What's also in the top 5 of that list?

    Google

    The Point:

    When designing a banner, you need to seriously consider your audience. The truth is, the majority of our 'customers' are web clueless (certain markets excluded). Easier, is better, and more effective.

    They don't know the difference between an affiliate link and my smelly shoe. They only see a flashy banner, or maybe a banner with a key phrase for them. Remember, internet readers scan (source: krug), not read.

    This board is a prime example. You would not design a banner for this board that isn't straight up targeting the visitors of this board: well educated affiliate people...they would ignore it otherwise.

    I don't care what you have to do, just get the click, that's the name of the game. Now, what gets clicks? That's a whole other story.

    I will say this...Leave the branding to your web page and supporting marketing material(s). The only way to reach a brand goal for a banner ad is to design something like the pong game banner, which was unique. Or...buy up about 30 trillion impressions across the web :eek:

    True branding takes time, money and repetition...consistently.

  18. #18
    Member scottyant's Avatar
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    There is a lot of great info being exchanged and I have not disagreed with anything shared in this thread.

    However I will show my age and I hope everyone gets what I'm saying.

    Gimmicks insult people with available credit on their cards.

    I really do not like promoting the sale with a trick ad.
    Usually it will come back as a return.

    When a merchant can communicate an honest right to the point message it results in two things.
    A double take (or click) from the customer and then a trip to the cash register.

    Examples:
    "You can pay me now or pay me later!"
    "Only your hair dresser knows for sure!"
    "Where's the Beef!"

    Now how do we do it on the Internet?

  19. #19
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    Banners can and do work. The main thing I think makes up successful banner for an
    a performance marketer...

    Focus on Direct Marketing.

    Banners should showcase products, special offers, timed offers, instant deals, etc.

    I also agree that any sane affiliate would stay away from a banner touting a 1-800 number...I do think 1-800 numbers should be on the site because it builds customer trust.

    Micron Crucial Memory has the best setup for that IMHO- consumers can call an order but they don't get the 10% discount they would get if they kept it on the web. Micron has realized that it is cheaper to train customers to place the orders on the web and the vast majority of their orders are. Affiliates naturally benefit from this setup, but I digress.

    I see nothing wrong with using strong brands to propel clickthru rates since people know and trust strong brands...so perhaps a better mix would be to combine an offer with a strong brand image.

    Then you get into banner size and placement- I feel that the 468's stink and I have learned to delete them from my vision, nor do I think the little 88x10's have much value. Even if they are top of fold, but if a user scrolls it's gone... (Haiko why not try ditching the top fold banner and put a nice, relevant skyscraper in the right margin or partition off a block and use random rotated text links in a nested table...)

    Probably one of the coolest banners I have seen are from http://www.technoscout.com/ you might have seen them they are usually skyscrapers in the right margins on news pages like Yahoo...they are about 5-8 headings in text that say stuff like:

    Vision expert creates lamp to reduce eye strain and glare...Watch Video

    Usually several catchy text phrases and for some reason they seem to catch the eye, especially when I am reading a science news piece or something similar. I think they work because they blend in so well with content.

    Overture also has some neat rich media banners that as you rollover popup complete information.

    The banner I interacted with the longest was some sort of "Shoot the shadow" banner. (ala punch the monkey) only I really did have to shoot five moving shadows (took about 15 seconds) nor did it click out. It then gave me some sort of message...(Obviously I don't rememeber it)

    that's my .02

    -wayne

  20. #20
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    In all cases match the banner's message and call to action with the landing page as a reward to the person clicking it. CPM banners can brand and lead to a home page..but affiliate sales banners NEED to pre-sell and point to where the desired action ( a sale) can take place without wasting the surfers time. The main reason for banner blindness is the clicker finds no real or perceived value at the end of the click after trying them 100 times. Most find them a hyperlink to a big waste of time on a confusing site where they can't easily find what was offered.

    This one always got a high CTR and sold 1 product per every 15 click throughs..

    and a landing page at Casual suspenders ..click here

  21. #21
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    This discussion prompted us to do some content oriented banners. This is our first iteration of this type of banner and I would love to get your guys' input.







    These banners would land on the specific products page to better convert the sale.

    What do you think?

    [ 08-20-2002: Message edited by: Jamie@ColdwaterCreek ]

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