Why Billboards Could Make Good Affiliate Banners – By Brian Secrist

by Colleen on February 19, 2014


Driving down the highway, we are likely exposed to many billboards. Some we never see, others briefly grab our attention, and some we may even remember long enough for the rest of the drive. ff25_cover_small

This is similar to most people’s web experience. The difference with outdoor advertising, possibly because it has been around longer, is that, in general, it does a better job of grabbing our attention and conveying a simple action-oriented message.

Billboard marketers understand that their audience is likely very distracted, because they are driving. Billboards have only a second or less to grab our attention and, if they are good, they might hold it for another 2 seconds before we speed by. The same is true for affiliate banners.

Too often, banners have too much clutter, lack a single clear message, or are missing a call to action. Some designers forget that even if their audience glimpses into their banner’s general direction, they only have a fraction of a second to convey their message.

Many banners have multiple messages, loud images that are quickly ignored, or, worst of all, the expectation that they will hold the viewer’s attention for multiple seconds to convey their company’s entire About Us page.

Many of the common mistakes in affiliate banners can be overcome with a few simple pointers. When creating a new banner set, first decide on 5 things:

1) Why are you making the set; what goal do you want to accomplish?
2) What is your value proposition?
3) What is your message?
4) Who is your audience?
5) What is your call to action?

When developing the template, remember a couple of things. Keep the banner in three or four visual layers. Think about what your eye sees first, second, third, etc. Those are visual layers.

Also, the eye travels from top left to right, to bottom left and then back to the bottom right (think “Z”). This of course would be the opposite in a country where the reading format is right to left.

Here is what I suggest you consider for each layer:

Layer 1 – Hero image or headline: Your target audience has less than a second to look and decide if they are going to investigate further. It’s very important to have one main overriding image or text that immediately invites further investigation.

Layer 2 – Clear message: The message should be just a few words. If you can, avoid using bullets, as they can often create an additional visual layer.

Layer 3 – Call to action: This should stick out. Be warm, yet confident. Buttons are effective for this, and are often overlooked. A small button or arrow that states “Shop Now” or “Learn More” can be the most important part of any banner.

By clearly defining your target audience, and by crafting a clear, simple, and powerful message, you can avoid many of the common mistakes in affiliate banners.

Brian Secrist is a Senior Affiliate Manager at JEBCommerce (Rakuten Agency of the year 2012).

This article appeared in issue 25 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in January 2014. http://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/ff25_full_final_web

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