Best Practices: The Four Rules of Successful Performance with Standard Banners

In a recent Best Practices colum we looked at some Hispanic specific factors, today we look at four rules of successful performance with Standard Banners, which can be applied to any market.

Obviously, great results call for exciting and visible creative, eye-catching images, witty copy and a powerful call to action. Getting these things right is the aim of the creative agency. Yet, these are campaign-specific qualities, which are hard to generalize. Nevertheless, there are some other rules of thumb that are likely to enhance the performance of almost any Standard Banner. MediaMind Research has sifted through hundreds of thousands of banners to see what works and what doesn’t.

Chart 5: Standard Banner Performance by Envionment


1. Focused content – superior results

Browsing specific content is a powerful indicator of user’s areas of interest. For example, visitors of automotive websites are more likely to be looking for a new vehicle, or visitors of a tech site are more likely to be early adopters of new gadgets.

In direct response, serving an ad to users exactly when they show interest in a product may be a powerful way to boost Chart 5 analyzes Conversion Rate, x-axis, and CTR, y-axis, by site groups and environments. Groups at the upper right quarter of the

chart are both higher than average Conversion Rate and higher than average CTR. These higher performing sites contain focused content such as automotive, technology and travel. On the other hand, more general environments such as social networks and lifestyle tend to have lower Conversion Rate and CTR.

Chart 6: Standard Banner Ad Size and Performance


2. Larger ads – higher traffic

In Rich Media, visibility stems from various creative features such as the use of flash and video. For Standard Banners, visibility is largely determined by the size of the banner. Bigger online real estate yields higher visibility and increases the likelihood that users click or convert after seeing an ad. Chart 6 shows that larger Standard Banners tend to achieve both a higher Conversion Rate and a higher CTR.

Chart 7a & 7b: Creative Optimization

3. Automatic Creative Optimization – improved sales generation

Creative Optimization enables advertisers to leverage the wisdom of the crowds to find better creatives that engage users. By constantly comparing the results from each version of the ad, Creative Optimization will serve the most effective ads.

It is a learning algorithm that receives constant feedback from actions that users take while interacting with the ad. The algorithm changes the creative depending on the users’ feedback and can display the versions of creatives that are more likely to receive clicks, conversions, interactions or Dwell.

Creative Optimization assists advertisers who don’t have to guess which creative is better or which image, copy, or font to consider. Advertisers can upload all of their creative ideas and let the algorithm serve the versions that users respond to the most.

Creative Optimization can even differentiate between minute differences among similar versions. Imagine two calls to action:

“Click here for a one dollar discount” and “Click here for 10% discount.” Even if the two are financially equivalent, one may be able to generate more clicks. Without Creative Optimization, by the time you choose the right version that works the best, it may be too late to make any significant impact on the campaign’s overall performance. However, with Creative Optimization, the algorithm can select the most effective version in real time. Advertisers can then reduce the risk of running unsuccessful creatives, and take a bolder and more innovative approach to online advertising.

Results indicate that Creative Optimization actually works. An analysis of campaigns that used Creative Optimization in the past year indicates that they achieved 73% increase in CTR as compared to other Standard Banners and a 40% increase in Conversion Rate.

4. Retargeting the underexposed – getting your message across

Effective frequency is the average number of times that the prospect is exposed to the message to maximize the likelihood that he or she takes action. In practice, effective frequency means that users have to be exposed to the marketing message several times before going down the marketing funnel to the intent to purchase and ultimately to a purchase. At the first and second exposure, users are typically still in the awareness phase and only after more exposures do they slide down the funnel to favorability, intent to purchase and finally purchase.

At first glance, repetition may seem wasteful – why waste another impression on a user who did not respond the first time? However, it is the underexposure and overexposure that are actually wasteful. Underexposed users remain at the top of the funnel and may not take action following the marketing message, preventing the campaign from realizing its full potential.

Overexposed users have seen enough exposures to act on the message and any additional impression may not have incremental effect, or worse, it may actually annoy users.

Chart 8: Airline CTR by Frequency – Standard Banners


As Chart 8 indicates, users are more likely to click on an ad that they have already seen. In addition, CTR almost does not decline until the fifth exposure. The challenge is that studies by MediaMind Research show over and over again that the majority of online users are underexposed. An analysis of hundreds of airline campaigns served by MediaMind show that an average 61% of users received only one exposure over the campaign’s lifetime, while an overwhelming majority of 82% of users received three impressions or less.

Source: MediaMind Research