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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Are Your Online Ads Pointless?

    Posted by Michael Dooley

    Consider an Inbound Marketing Strategy over Online Ads

    According to ComScore, 46% of online display ads are never seen by website visitors. The statistic is staggering, with the amount of time spent on the Internet you would expect these ads to be successful. However surprising it may be, these display ads are actually doing the opposite of their intended purpose, by becoming invisible. Businesses and marketers need to think again before allocating part of their budget to this style of advertisement. Here are some reasons why your online ads aren’t working and why you might want to consider an inbound marketing strategy instead.

    Why Are They Missing Me?

    There are multiple factors that cause online display ads to go unseen by website visitors, the most simple being its location. Some display ads aren’t seen purely because they don’t fully appear immediately on a web page, requiring scrolling or resizing a browser window. The problem arises because web visitors usually click through to a new page without scrolling down. Also because these ads aren’t in clear view the moment the visitor opens the page, they are disregarded and won’t be paid attention to if that visitor actually does scroll. When you combine the location of these ads with the way people commonly navigate the Internet, it’s easy to see how display ads get lost in the shuffle. Additional reasons for ads not being viewed include fraudulent display advertising sites, in which manufacture fake ad response, and technology glitches, such as ads loading incorrectly or slowly.

    The New “Billboard”

    Online display ads are like the billboards you might pass on your drive home; you see them every single day of your life, but you still don’t really notice what they say. The strategy behind display ads was: People are spending more time on the Internet so that’s where we need to advertise. The problem is that, because people do spend that much time on the Internet, they’ve evolved, and an online banner ad just seems like another sign on the road. Display ads are nothing more than annoyance to Internet users today, seen just as shameless sales plugs. There also is a general lack of trust toward online ads, due to scammy advertisements to “win a million dollars” or “a free MacBook Pro” that end up leaving computers with viruses or stealing personal information. Even for the largest, most trusted brands, site visitors don’t feel comfortable clicking on a banner ad for a purchase.

    Go Mobile

    So if online display ads are obsolete, how do you make that online connection with your audience? According to a study by Dynamic Logic, people are nearly five-times more aware of advertisements on mobile devices than on a computer, and they favor brands advertising on mobile nearly three times more than on a computer. The small size of mobile displays lend to simple and non-threatening ads and inviting calls-to-action, encouraging interaction.  People don’t leave their house without their smartphones these days, so it’s the most important four inches of space you can advertise on, with the ability to outperform a billboard over 100% larger.

    Stop Being an Interruption 

    So, if your company saves its display ads for mobile, how do you leverage your brand presence online? Instead of your brand being advertising clutter in the way of the page visitors enjoy, push for your brand to BE that page the visitors enjoy. This is where the marketing strategy changes from outbound to inbound. The focus here is to get away from marketing that annoys people and create marketing that people love.

    By spending more time creating your brand’s own original content, you open up opportunities for your brand to become the desired reason for a web visit. Instead of using banner ads on social media sites, you can use the sites to share your brand’s content and attract customers without being disruptive. The same offers and deals that didn’t work as display ads can be redesigned and repurposed into simple calls-to-action and placed anywhere within your content to convert customers.

    Due to the Internet’s quick growth and changes in how we use it, the way brands advertise online must constantly adapt. As marketers, we have to recognize trends and adjust to them as quickly as possible. Best practices and optimal strategies are rewritten, and the means through which we advertise always evolve. However at this point it looks like online display ads are quite few spots back on the evolutionary chart.

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    photo credit: Lord Jim via photopin cc

    Topics: Inbound Marketing