Banner Ads Don’t Have To Suck Claims New Research

Banner Ads Don’t Have To Suck Claims New Research

Banner ads may get a bad rap, with The New York Times describing them as “a monster that went on to swallow the web whole and has created two decades of havoc”. They’ve also been likened to being the bane of human existence.

But there are many quick to jump to the defence of the humble banner ad. They remain an integral part of campaigns, and even though they may not get clicked on as much as we would want, the creative needn’t suffer as a result.

Programmatic media buying company, Rocket Fuel, decided to take a look at a heap of banner ads to figure out what is and isn’t working for consumers today.

There are a number of clear findings creatives can take away from the research, The Definitive Guide of Creative Optimisation, however the bottom line is that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.

While explaining there are heap more other factors involved in banner ads, Rocket Fuel added it “likens these insights to learning the statistics behind Blackjack—knowing how to play won’t guarantee you walk home rich, but it will increase your chances of doing so”.

The research team analysed 38,151 banner ads from 1076 advertisers in the United States. These ads created more than 23 billion impressions.

While each vertical works slightly differently to the others, there are a few findings uncovered from a general perspective.

Background colour

Background colour has a big impact on conversion rates, according to the research. And the bright hue of red was found to have a 31% higher conversation rate than any other colour. However, orange wasn’t far behind (28%) with yellow coming third (24%).


If you show your logo, you could boost your performance. The study found: “On the whole, displaying a company logo in creative appears to boost performance. Ads featuring a company logo had 4% higher conversion rates than those without logos.”


Do you stop your ad moving or not? The research found those banner ads dancing before your eyes may have a lower click-through rate than those that stay still, however they have a higher conversion rate.

Human Faces

And apparently showing a human face in your creative can up your conversation rate by 4%, but you could up that even more depending on the type of person displayed.

The research stated: “Digging deeper, we find that the type of person shown can have a significant impact on performance as well. When breaking down ‘type of human’ (for example, man, woman, child, and combinations of these) we found that ads featuring men—the most common person type featured—averaged 102% higher conversion rates on average than those featuring women (+25%), while ads featuring both a man and a woman tended to underperform (-15%).”

Showing the product

If you’re talking about a product in the ad, it probably makes sense to show the product in the creative. Ads with specific products included showed a 6% higher conversation rate. This increased if the product was shown being used.

Rocket Fuel drilled down deep into 17 different verticals to further understand, and over the next few weeks B&T will have a look at each vertical to see how they differ and how to optimise the creative for whoever your clients are.


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