What Makes a Banner Ad Worth Clicking?

creating click worthy content for banner ads

These days, digital marketers are really missing the good ol’ days. The very first banner ad debuted on in 1994 and had an amazing click-through rate of 78 percent. What is the percent nowadays? According to data from Sizmek (previously DG MediaMind), the banner ad click-through rate in Australia and New Zealand sits at about .006 percent. That statistic alone is enough to keep marketers up at night.

Still, banner ads might be more useful than we can track. After all, just because a viewer did not click on your banner ad does not mean that he or she did not receive the message. Rather than clicking on the ad, the viewer might have waited until a later time or date to head to your website to check out a product or advertised deal. In reality, your banner ad might be doing you a lot of good, but it might not be easy to track.

So what makes a banner ad worth clicking? What elements are needed to grab the viewer’s attention, and what entices viewers the most? In this article, we will look at the most effective elements of a banner ad and how you can utilise them in your next banner ad.

Text-heavy a plus

text-heavy a plus

In most cases, copywriters suggest that less is more when it comes to ad copy. The point is to keep the information brief yet informative, basically cutting out the fluff or unnecessary language that bogs down a paragraph. Even with banner ads where there is very little room to say very much, you would probably assume that you could not fit more than 10 words into an ad.

Contrary to popular belief, banner ads with more text get better results. While you may want to use graphics and colours to fill up your ads, research shows that text-heavy ads get the best results.

Use what little space you have to create some type of proposition. For a property development company, you might ask a question, such as “Looking for a forever home?” or “Need a place to grow your business?” and then describe how your company can help your audience solve the problem that the question posits.

Looking for a forever home? Sydney Residential Developers employs Sydney’s top property developers who can walk any first-time home buyer through the buying process. Ask for John.

This ad has a clear target – first-time home buyers. The ad offers assistance to timid first-time buyers who might be unsure about how to go about searching and buying a house.

Reconsider the call-to-action (CTA)

call to actions

The CTA is perhaps the cornerstone of most marketing copy. It is what encourages customers to fill out forms or donate to a cause or purchase a product, but in a banner ad, there is not necessarily a place for a CTA.

Sometimes, just stating what your product or service does is enough to catch a viewer’s attention, and it comes off as less gimmicky. Think of it this way: buyers clicking on banner ads are not necessarily shopping for your product or service at the moment they see your banner ad. In fact, they might have been on a totally unrelated website, but reading about what your product can do might be just enough to encourage a visit to your website.

While there is nothing wrong with the CTA, just remember that it is not always necessary. If you are unsure, try a round of A/B testing and see what more people click on.

Photos are not a must

imagery in banner ads

In some industries, such as the property development industry, seeing the face of the developer is said to make a difference. If you look clean, professional and polished, more people will want to work with you. Therefore, it makes sense that your photo should be on your banner ad, right?

Wrong. There is no research that shows banner ads with photos have higher click-through rates than banner ads without photos.

Of course, depending on who and where you are targeting, adding your face might be beneficial. If your face is on a billboard in Sydney and your banner ad targets Sydney residents, then your photo might be useful for helping viewers connect the billboard to your online banner ad. If this is not the case with your business, a photo might not make much of a difference.

The word ‘free’

free free free

Who among us does not like a free ebook, demo or white papers? These types of freebies often lead to higher click-through rates just because people are happy to receive free stuff. A well-written ebook from a financial firm might encourage more rapid click-throughs because viewers know the information will be useful and fully researched.

Of course, some free promotions work better than others. Free consultations or assessments are usually neither helpful nor unhelpful. Free shipping is rarely ever enough. Since most companies offer free shipping at a certain price point, it is not much of an incentive for most buyers anymore.

Stay away from prices

stay away from prices

Some marketers like to display prices in banner ads to show consumers upfront how much they could be saving, but research shows that consumers do the exact opposite. They tend to discourage click-through rates because though consumers might see the full price, they do not always know what is included in the price. You might be offering a great deal with plenty of perks included, or your consumers might have to pay additionally for some perks. They just do not know and they are unwilling to find out.

Instead, use the heavy text method to get viewers over to your website where you have much more room to explain your product. Spend more time explaining the value of your product or service to get viewers to click on your banner ad. Once they do, they can freely explore your website where you can show them how much value your product or service offers for the price.


Banner ads may do much more for our companies than we can accurately track. Even without a click, we will never know how many consumers saw our banner ads and then came to our websites later. Who knows? Banner ads might be doing plenty of retargeting for you without ever letting you see their true value.

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