Although advertisers have more options than ever to get the word out on their product or service, there is still something uniquely effective about banner advertising. We at Christianity Today continue to see outstanding results for our advertisers.
In fact, whereas standard industry banner average click through rates tend to be about .10–.12% , advertisers across Christianity Today’s websites in the last six months (through the end of August) have averaged a .44% click-through rate! Banner advertising is alive and well!
So, what makes a good banner ad campaign?
I found this article to be very helpful in explaining some key banner ad principles:
I believe you will enjoy the whole article, but in summary, the writer’s three main points are:
- Avoid distractions. Keep it simple. If there’s too much going on in your layout, it will turn off the viewer and he will walk away from further engaging with your ad.
- Use photos only when appropriate. They can work well in your design, but not always. The author says, “It is often assumed that, because you have such a brief window to secure attention, ads without photos will be overlooked, but a well-designed ad with a brightly colored background or simple artwork can also do the trick. In fact, bright colors and vibrant artwork are often moreeye-catching than a photo.”
- Keep your tests simple. If you are going to try conveying your message in a few different ways to see which ad design performs best, limit the amount of changes between layouts. This will help you be able to zero in on the results that come from making just one (or maybe two) differences in the artwork
Walter is a veteran sales manager with a knack for finding win-win solutions.
Posted in Advertising Tips
Over at The Moz Blog, Randy Fishkin and his amazing whiskers have posted an excellent video (below) looking at three key ways that many websites are sacrificing customer loyalty in their attempts to convert visitors.
1. Build long term loyalty and demonstrate your value. Tell me if this sounds familiar: I’m visiting a site for the first time and am immediately pummeled with conversion messages. Free Trials! Try Us Now! Even if I take the free offer, I’m not actually invested or convinced of the value of the product. I have no connection to the brand and no reason to trust them so I’m more likely to abandon the trail and have a terrible customer experience. High churn rates, low retention.
So what should you do? Measure the customer journey, and not just the conversion path. Use an analytics tool to look at what people do after they convert. Are they happy? Do they buy again? Maybe you need to rethink trying to convert on the first visit! Moz found that, on average, visitors who returned 10 times or more before purchasing were much more loyal. Instead of putting all your energy into converting first time visitors, instead try to build a brand first.
2. Don’t devalue by bundling or misleading. I’m looking for one specific download, but when I try to purchase it I find that I actually have to spend a $99 subscription fee to get it? I’m done and I don’t like your brand anymore.
Are you forcing potential customers to buy products they don’t need to get the one thing they want? Is your packaging too confusing? Studies have shown that people believe the received value of bundles is lower; it cheapens the individual items. Make sure your purchase path allows the customer to actually get the products they’re looking for with a minimum of pain. As Randy says, “you don’t want to cheapen, mislead or bundle without evidence that it matches customer needs.” Validate that the customers actually want what you’re selling them.
3. Educate before you convert. I’m trying to get basic information, but all I can see is conversion offers. I don’t even know what I’m looking for, but I’m already overwhelmed! I may take your free trial offer, but I’m going to drop you immediately because I didn’t understand what I was getting myself in to.
Don’t put conversion ahead of education! Remember, before a customer can use a product, he or she needs education. If you put the conversion before the education you may make a sale, but you’ll likely lose the customer in the long term. Educate before you convert and provide assistance throughout the process, including after conversion. Also, make sure you try to filter out customers who aren’t at the right stage.
Check out Randy’s video below for more tips:
As the team’s “stats guy,” Luke Schoenrock our go-to staff member for analytics and reporting—as well as witty remarks.
Posted in Advertising Tips
This is the second in an on-going series that looks at the fundamentals of good design.
“White space is to be regarded as an active element, not a passive background.”
—Jan Tschichold, designer/typographer
Ask any designer what principles are integral and you’re likely to hear “white space” at or near the top of the list.
White space is a term that refers to the areas of a composition that are left unmarked or empty. This includes not only the margins and gutters, but all the space in-between and around columns, lines of type, and graphics. Its principles hold for any form of art and design, be it on the printed page, on the web, or on the walls of a cave.
White space is so much more than just blank space, it’s the key element that influences the visual interplay and balance of the graphic elements on a page. It plays a major role in determining whether a composition appears clean, focused, and easy-to-read, or busy, distracting, and incomplete. Good use of white space can do all of the following:
- Increase legibility/readability
- Enhance and facilitate the user-experience
- Add focus, emphasis, and interest
- Create a feeling of sophistication, luxury, and elegance
One more thing: white space doesn’t have to be white. Since it is the area between elements, it can be any color or even part of the image itself. That’s why it’s sometimes referred to as “negative” space. Some of the finest examples of the use of this negative space can be found in classic Japanese printmaking.
Here are some more examples of white space used well. Be sure to note how the empty areas help move and pace your eye through the composition, as well as add a clean and uncluttered tone to the overall feeling of the designs.
Michael Chuchvara, our team’s graphic designer, is our creative genius, designing eye-catching flyers, inserts, and e-blasts.
Posted in Advertising Tips
There are various ways to track the success of your content. In 2012 Econsultancy.com surveyed over 1,000 marketers and discovered the most-used metric to measure the success of content is unique visitors, followed by page views.
But if you want to go deeper, and understand your customer better, there are several other metrics that need some attention. Below is an infographic showing 40 of the top metrics to consider when evaluating content. The metrics are broken down in 4 areas: basic, engagement, positioning metrics, and K.P.I.s (key performance indicators).
Basic metrics are the most widely used and you can probably find many of these on your reports currently. One basic metric to consider is quantity of content. Have you looked at how much content your creators produce? Have you compared this to the quality of the content? Quality of content will help you understand the productivity and value of your content creators.
Engagement metrics are gaining popularity. Marketers formerly focused on unique visitors to a site or page views. Which would you rather have: an article with 10,000 visitors and 100 social shares or and article with 8,000 visitors but 5,000 social shares?
Positioning metrics relate to how people can locate your content. Where is it positioned in the market place and search engines? Is your content getting high positions for important search terms in Google? Consider reviewing your Twitter activity and discover which tweets generate the most new followers with a follower growth metric.
Key Performance Indicators are favorites in marketing dashboards, representing key metrics that a brand wants to track. These are often related to actions and more closely tied to revenue. One metric to consider is longevity. Have you ever looked at the lifespan of your content? How much is “evergreen?” How long does content typically last? Are there evergreen seasonal items? Does your content generate a surge of leads when published but run dry, or does it create a steady stream for months? All these questions can be answered by understanding your content’s longevity.
Serving as a Marketing Analyst, Josh Wood whips our team into shape with his eye for strategy and trends. He also has over 20,000 Twitter followers.
Posted in Advertising Tips
Once again, the holidays are just around the corner. Do you have a plan of attack in place for your holiday promotions?
Marketing technology provider Constant Contact and research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey did a consumer study a year ago that showed 88% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 30 read their emails on smartphones, with 52% stating this was their primary device for doing so. This number has only increased over the past year, and will continue to grow rapidly as smartphones are evolving to become a necessary part of our daily lives.
Here are a few things to consider while creating holiday email campaigns:
- Is your promotion mobile friendly?
- Is it responsive and scalable?
- Are your images viewable on a smartphone?
- Is it concise, so you don’t lose your reader?
- Are there clickable buttons large enough for ease of use?
- Does a click in the email take the reader to a mobile-friendly site?
- What frequency will you use to reach your customer/audience?
- Have you considered weekly promotions throughout November and December?
- Have you thought about how to engage the reader?
- Selecting the right image is key to generating clicks and customer engagement.
- How will you quantify the results of your campaigns to determine their success and ROI?
- Remember to keep a broader channel view of results, considering all aspects, not just opens and clicks. Increased traffic from email campaigns can lead to more sales and long-term customers and should be considered as part of the success.
Take this tip from Amy Dusto at Internet Retailer: “Optimizing email for the busiest sales period of the year means adapting to mobile and social shoppers in an effort to stay connected to the many ways today’s customers read, view, and shop.”
Kathy DePue rules the Wild West of CT’s digital advertising, where she keeps a watchful eye on innovation and best practices (and patiently answers an epic number of emails). Raised in Haiti under missionary parents, Kathy has an adventurous heart and loves to travel.
Posted in Advertising Tips
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