The Psychology of Online Advertising – Part Two

In my previous post “The Psychology of Online Advertising – Part One”, I told you that I have assumed for the last several years that banner advertising is dead. Like pop-up ads and other web advertising tools, banner ads originally worked due to their novelty.
As with virtually everything in life, everybody jumped on the bandwagon to capitalize on banner advertising and “ruined” it for everyone. Web surfers “unconsciously” disregard banners ads, along with areas of the web pages in which banner ads commonly appear, and anything of about the same size and shape as banner ads.

This is adaptive behavior that has been developed used by humans and other living creatures for millions of years to prevent “information overload”. Your brain draws your attention to what it considers the most important things in your visual field while disregarding most other things.

Well, it seemed to me that banner ads are not dead because unlike “popup ads” (which were wildly abused and are easily blocked using popup blockers), they still appear everywhere. So did some reading on banner advertising to see what is the real story.

Evidently, banner ads with action (flash or animated gif) do better than “static” ads because your attention is drawn to motion. Motion was possible danger (and I suppose possible food too) to our ancestors. Our ancient survival response kicks in derived from prehistoric situations like when a predator jumped out from behind a tree to attack our ancestors or an edible animal is nearby.

Likewise, our attention is drawn to objects that seem to be “out of place”. For example, we readily see an elephant walking between some semi- tractor trailers because we are not expecting it. Therefore, banner ads can be effective when properly placed on web pages where people commonly look (as determined by heat mapping techniques), away from where we are trained to look for banner ads.

Also read that banner ads that tell the viewer to “Click Here” (preferably flashing on and off) or that intrigue or entice the viewer in some manner (sex, money, status) are most effective. Must be that these satisfy some “primal need” we all have!

Finally, evidently banner ads are better for raising “brand awareness” and help the brand owner much more than the affiliates that post the banner ads on their web sites. Viewers tend to not click on banner ads (thus not helping the affiliate marketer make money) but remember the brand over a period of time.

This seemingly means that affiliate marketers should not use banner ads, but I think this is not entirely true. I have personally gotten many hits to my website using banner ads. I have not yet individually tracked sales achieved from visitors who clicked on my banner ads, but will set up my website to do so soon!

As you probably already know, most banner ads are purchased on a pay per impression basis (i.e. you pay a flat fee per thousand displays of your banner ad, known as “impressions”, on websites regardless of the number of “click throughs” to your website or that which you are promoting).

Recently, I came across the AdBright banner ad program in which you can sign up as an “Advertiser” to buy banner ads that are placed on their high quality sponsored websites on which they have up to 93 million impressions available per day depending on in which advertising categories you place your banner ad. Additionally, they have a program for “Website Owners” to make money placing banner, text, and other types of ads on their websites.

What is rather unique about the AdBright program is that advertisers can sign up for banner ads on the pay per click basis so you only pay for click throughs to your website or that which you are promoting.

I have tried both the pay per (thousand) impressions and the pay per click programs and cannot yet say for sure which is better. I have received many click throughs from both, but as I stated above, do not have the tracking in place to see which provides more cost-effective sales. I look forward to doing testing as soon as my website is set up to do so accurately!

In the interest of full disclosure, and what is readily obvious to experienced affiliate marketers, I am an affiliate marketer of AdBright and believe in their program enough to use it use it myself. I will be reporting the results of my banner advertising through them in the near future.

If you would like to sign up as an affiliate through me, click on any of the blue AdBright links or on the banner ad at the top of this post. I am only an affiliate marketer in this and several other programs so I hope that you will sign up through me.

Best regards,

Brian R. Rayve

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