Banner blindness refers to the idea that users have learned to ignore ads on a web page. Take a minute to let that sink in. Your carefully-crafted ad was displayed as planned — the ad exchange billed you for the impression — and the user’s gaze just skipped over it.
This problem is fundamental. It cannot be solved. Full stop.
Banner blindness is a learned behaviour, it’s an aspect of selective attention that humans have employed because ads are costly to the user. They distract. They annoy. They convey little value, and interrupt user-experience.
This behaviour is perhaps most under-appreciated plague in all of advertising It eats away at conversions rates, and — worse still — is a leading indicator of brand erosion. Users don’t like brands that interrupt, distract and pollute.
To combat this behaviour, misguided advertisers employ tactics designed steal back attention. They experiment with ad placement, animate banners, invest in video, and deploy pop-ups. Yet, far from alleviating the issue, these tactics exacerbate the symptoms.
Your Message Cannot be an Ad
If the goal of an ad is to trigger a behavior (e.g. buying a product), then that message needs to first provide value to the consumer because people don’t only filter out ads, they filter out anything that looks like an ad. This is an clear signal to advertisers that the problem isn’t with the message, but rather with the vehicle within which the message has been presented.
How to get your Message Seen
To avoid falling into the “banner blindness” trap, the following tactics can ensure your message doesn’t look like an ad:
The message must be relevant to that page’s content, you cannot try to promote clothing in a article about digital marketing.
The message should logically add to the discussion, engaging with your message must feel like a logical next step for the consumer. An article titled “ Top 5 reason to go vegan”, should read like a supporting argument for one of those reasons.
This resource provides digital advertisers with an overview of how Presscast can simultaneously circumvent problems in programmatic advertising and accelerate the ROI of content marketing. Programmatic advertising and content live on opposite ends of the marketing spectrum; content typically yields high conversion rates at the expense of a slow warm-up time, while programmatic ads scale well but convert poorly. This article examines how Presscast bridges the gap between these two extremes.
Conversion rates are at the heart of programmatic advertising campaigns. In retail for example, 2% conversion is considered a strong performance. Across the overwhelming bulk of industries, conversion rates are so poor that some thought leaders even advise ignoring conversion rates altogether. These conversions are accepted because of the understanding campaigns can be scaled with a cash injection — it’s a case of “accuracy through volume”, like a machine-gun.
For the majority of Marketers, however, optimizing conversion rates is a key part of their strategy, but the usual tactics of monitoring ad placement, bringing advertising campaigns in-house and data-driven targeting only provide marginal gains because they don’t address end-user behaviors. Consumers have been blocking ads for decades, but recently they’ve also learnt to ignore “native” ads as well.
Problems with content have to do with process and resources, especially time. In terms of conversion, content marketing has been proven to improve engagement, contribute to a strong brand, generate qualified leads and promote repeat business. The issue is not with results per se, but with the long time to ROI (often measured in months or years).
Content marketing is a creative process, so it requires lots of manual work. From ideation to publishing, the lifecycle of a piece of content can take several days, or even weeks for video. To accelerate this process, CMO’s usually do one of two things:
Hire an internal content specialist
Outsource their content writing
Both of these solutions are problematic.
Hiring an internal content specialist
This is just the beginning of a slippery slope that results in a managerial headache. Soon after onboarding a writer, it becomes clear that writing the article is not the only part of the process. Editing, coordinating and content strategy are all jobs that need to be accounted for and likely means additional hires. From here new problems arise as a full fledged team entails more administrative and managerial duties. From a growth-strategy standpoint, the costs associated with a content team grow in direct proportion to the company — a red flag for Venture Capital.
Outsourcing your content writing
Here implies outsourcing process. With an outsourced process, maintaining a consistent level of quality will be difficult, particularly when agencies are involved. Under these circumstances, the creative team will often change without notice, making it difficult to train the team to your standards. Worse, it’s difficult to evaluate the level of subject-expertise in a creative team you’ve never met. To boot, the other cogs of the content creation process still need to be addressed: do you outsource editing, coordinating and strategy as well? If so, how do these actors coordinate their efforts?
These solutions are meant to help streamline the content creation process but in reality add layers of extra workload. Scaling a content doesn’t need to be difficult, but it does involve rethinking strategy.
Digital advertising tactics fall into two broad categories: programmatic ads scale well but convert poorly, and content marketing converts well but takes ages to produce good results — a classic Tortoise and the Hare scenario.
As such, there’s a painful gap that separates the two. What marketers really want is a content strategy that scales well, and this is what Presscast provides.
Recall that the main bottlenecks in a content strategy are:
1) the actual process of creating quality content (and doing this consistently)
2) the lag between the start of content operations and ROI
Presscast allows you to leverage the content already in existence and embed your message directly into the publishers’ work. This in turn implies a powerful change in digital marketing strategy. Instead of trying to discover the content that engages your audience, and then taking a gamble on a piece of content that may or may not work, you can embed a touch-point in content that’s already working. Or, as we like to say: capture content, don’t create it.