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{Today’s post comes from Lucy Wright, and it’s all about optimizing online ads.

As you know, marketing can be quite a workload for any bootstrapped small business owner, so the option of simply buying advertising space through Google, Facebook, or popular blogs is tempting. But does it really work for gaining valuable traffic (and sales)?

Truth be told, the success of any advertising campaign really depends on your strategy going in. So before you buy that next ad, make sure to consider Lucy’s advice for improving your click-through rate and making the most of your campaign! –Stephanie}

There’s no doubt that banner ads on websites and blogs might not be the marketing powerhouse that they once were. Ad blocking software, mobile browsers, and other trends have diminished the interest in banner ads for many marketers. But don’t let that completely discourage you! They can still provide outstanding marketing benefits when optimized thoroughly.

These five strategies all offer ways to improve your ad click-through rates and get the most quality web traffic for your advertising dollars.

1. Use Text to Stand Out

Through analyzing the performance of many banners served by their service, Launchbit recently noticed that text-heavy image banners are likely to outperform those simply using images.

This approach also allows for plenty of ways to ensure that your message is received and to brand your advertisements properly. Using clean fonts, simple colors and well-written copy will lead to improved results.

2. Entice Viewers with Free Items

From eBooks and video guides to product samples and coupons, nearly any business can find a promotional item to give away. These items are an ideal way to entice viewers to click your banner ad.

When using this approach, it is important to keep a professional appearance to your banner instead of using flashy gimmicks. A company logo, a quick description and a free download button are often enough. If your design is over the top, viewers might doubt the trustworthiness of the advertisement.

3. Be Specific with Your Targeting

It is likely that you have already designed your advertisement to appeal to your target customer. However, where you place your ad can be more important than the ad itself.

Choosing a site that receives sufficient traffic and is related to a topic that is likely to convert well for your product or service can improve click-through rates significantly. It also helps to choose target sites based on where they allow you to place your advertisement. If your advertisement is visible when the page is initially loaded, you are likely to receive more clicks than if it is not.

4. Update Your Static Designs

Simple static images often lack the attention grabbing potential of more cutting-edge designs.

This does not mean that you need an obnoxious flashing banner or audio. Simple elements, such interactive buttons, a shine effect, or text that slides into the banner area, can grab the attention of the reader and improve your chances of a click-through. (A recent article on Marketing Land shows easy ways to jump on the latest interactivity trends.)

5. Integrate Your Design with the Target Site

The last recommendation for optimizing click-through rates is to optimize your advertisement design based upon the site you wish to have it displayed.

By choosing complementary colors and similar fonts, you can integrate your advertisement into the site. When utilizing text-based ads, try to keep your copy similar in tone and complexity as well. This improves the overall appearance of your advertisement while helping to ensure that your advertisement aligns well with the preference of site regulars and followers.

In Conclusion

Though on-site advertising has lost popularity in recent years, it is still an affordable and potentially powerful form of marketing your site, product, or services. With small tweaks, such as updating your design or changing your marketing approach, you can optimize your advertising efforts for improved click-through rates and greater return on investment. I hope these five tips have offered an easy way to optimize your campaigns!

Lucy Wright works with companies who specialize in office signage. She regularly consults in both business and marketing related fields. In her free time, she does freelance web design and writes about marketing.

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