“Text banners are boring… they’re not going to get anyone’s attention. We should have an animated banner that grabs people’s attention!”. Is that statement really true?

While I was doing some research I stumbled across an IBM banner that I really liked. You may have seen this before.

The screenshot below shows the IBM banner ad to the right of the page (click on screenshot forExample of IBM HTML bannera larger version). It looks like a special feature of the ZDNet Australia website. Would you believe it? There’s not one bit of animation in it! No sound, no video, no huge images.

It’s an HTML banner that’s clean, simple, and shows off how IBM generates results for its clients. The banner is full of invitations for the viewer to click through to the IBM site. It goes against all the Flashy, animated, in your face banner ads that we see nowadays.

This example shows that not all banners need to be flashy, entertaining, or have shock value. Banner ads need to be able to communicate to the right people at the right time. If being a simple HTML banner ad with barely any imagery and no animation is the way to go, then do it.

Don’t get me wrong though. Flashy, entertaining banners have their place, but perhaps not so much for IBM, especially on the ZDNet website. ZDNet readers are there for news, information, and ideas for solutions. Don’t waste the reader’s time on anything but that.

So if you’re considering a banner ad campaign as part of your online marketing, take time to talk to your agency. Assuming you have a marketing plan all ready, here are some things to ask yourself and your agency:

  • What are you trying to achieve with the banner campaign? Do you want to build brand awareness, customer database, brand reinforcement, or a sale?
  • What will be the best way to measure success? Results of a follow-up market survey, number of subscriptions, leads/enquiries, or number of sales?
  • Will I want to reach all my target markets, just one, or a select few?
  • What do I want to tell each of my target market(s)?
  • Which websites will provide you with the best exposure to reach your target market(s)? Your agency should have a good idea of what may be most appropriate.
  • What placement can I acquire on these sites and how will the timing coincide with our marketing plans? Your agent will find this information out for you. It would help if you had an idea of when you want to run your banner campaign.
  • What banner creative will best communicate our message to the target audience? Your agency will provide you with a couple of concepts based on your brief.

You know already that it’s all about going back to marketing basics. Don’t be afraid to explore simple HTML banners if you feel that it will work for your next campaign. Flashy isn’t always going to give you the results you’re after.

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