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CHECKLIST: BANNER AD COMPONENTS.

Like most forms of Web marketing, banner ads have lost much of their novelty value. But good banner ads still produce healthy clickthrough rates and even sales--and more than ever, the ad measurement experts know what makes an ad "good."

Probably the best research on this topic is a white paper called "The Five Golden Rules of Online Branding," whose three authors analyzed more than 600 banner ads across 11 industries to find common components that make some ads rise above the noise level. High-impact ads, they conclude, usually score well in five key areas:

* Absence of clutter: Banner advertisers typically have to get their message across in a fraction of a second, so the strongest ads tend to be "clear and uncluttered," with less than 15 text and graphical elements.

* Conspicuous logos: One of the most important visual elements in a banner ad is a big brand or product name--in fact, the logo should occupy at least 14% of the banner's total pixel area. Entertainment and travel advertisers do an especially good job of showcasing their logos, the "Golden Rules" researchers point out.

* Size: Running tiny banner ads is probably not a good way to save money, the report suggests. "As banner size increases so too does the consumer's interest in learning more about the product or service advertised." Moreover, running extra-large ads is an especially good strategy for software vendors, the "Golden Rules" research suggests, since only 9% of banners for software products are larger than the standard 468x60 pixel format.

* Frequency: Some Web marketers argue that it's a waste of money to put a clickable banner ad in front of a prospect more than once, but the "Golden Rules" researchers conclude that multiple impressions usually enhance awareness and brand-building. "By increasing exposure levels from one to four or more, advertisers can virtually double the impact of advertising on brand awareness."

* Human faces: The biggest surprise: Adding a human face can make a big difference in response rates. Only 2% of software banner ads display faces, according to the "Golden Rules" data--but the image of a live person seems to "unconsciously" increase consumer interest in advertised products and services.

"The Five Golden Rules of Online Branding," by Michael Carlon, Marc Ryan, and Risa Weledniger. Web: www.dynamiclogic.com/site/DL_5gold_rules.pdf.
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Soft-Letter
Date:Jun 15, 2001
Words:385
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