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If your website generates decent traffic, you can turn that traffic into a passive stream of income. One great way to do this is by offering affiliate offers, through affiliate banners.
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What Is An Affiliate Banner?
Affiliate banners are visual web advertising resources that are offered as clickbait teasers.
When you use affiliate banners, your expectation is that web visitors will click on them (the banners) and follow the link to a product.
If the product is relevant and compelling, visitors will buy it or at the very least, put it in the cart for future consideration.
Affiliate Banner Examples
There are so many examples of affiliate banners out there, and I’m sure most of them are great. But for this article, I’ll just mention three of the ones I have personally been exposed.
To get banners like these, you can use software like Groovefunnels, which is a handy tool when you want to create your own affiliate programs.
Example 2: Kartra
Example 3: ShutterStock
If you’ve heard of ShutterStock, then you probably know that they are a stock photo website, with contributors from around the world.
This series of animated banners, captures what they do, with the last slide being an apt call to action to “see the world through global eyes”.
Benefits Of Affiliate Marketing Banners
So, why should you use affiliate banners? What benefit do they have, over, say, text links?
Whether you manage an affiliate program or run a one-person agency, you will benefit from using affiliate banners in the following ways:
Increase Content Engagement
Humans are visual. So, automatically, they are more likely to pay attention to anything that’s presented visually to them. As such, banners, being visual, will attract more attention than text ads.
You can make your banners even more attention-grabbing by using animations. The only thing with animations is, do it tastefully. Don’t get carried away and go over the top, otherwise you’ll be grabbing the wrong kind of attention.
Affiliate Banners Have Wider Acceptance Across Different Media
Another benefit of banners is that they work very well across all your media. Social media channels for instance, where people consume copious amounts of visual content, are great for well-designed ad banners.
Break Monotony Of A Wordy Website
Affiliate banners can improve the user experience of a text-heavy website. This is especially so if you use rich media. Statistics show that you can get more engagement from rich media ads than static banners.
Where To Place Banner Ads As An Affiliate
Your banners are now ready, so where should you place them. traditionally, banners appear in the following areas:
- Above the fold
- On the sticky side bar
- If you are running email campaigns, you can also include affiliate banners in your newsletters
A great thing to do before choosing any of these options is to use a heatmap. We’ll discuss this more below.
Above The Fold
When a page loads, everything you see on that page before you scroll is called above the fold content.
The history behind above the fold content is quite interesting, and it goes way back to when people started serving up content digitally (on computers). You see, traditionally, people were used to reading newspapers and other paper-based media. What was on the newspaper page is what was consumed; there was no scrolling up or down, just turning to the next page.
Consumers took this mentality to the computer age, hence the birth of the term above the fold. Simply put, “If it isn’t on the page, then it isn’t there!”. It’s also possible that early computer users didn’t know they were supposed to scroll (ahem).
Today though, consumers are more computer savvy. So why don’t they just scroll through to the end, you wonder? The answer is simple: Impatience.
There is a lot of content to be consumed online and people want it all. Therefore, today’s impatient browsers assume that anything that is not visible upon page load is probably not that important anyway.
Yes, people can and do, spend more time on a page. But you have to first grab their attention with above the fold content. What’s more, you have to do it in just 10 seconds!
As such, if you want your banner ads to be visible, one of the best areas to put them is above the fold.
Placing affiliate banners in the sticky sidebar is also advisable as it conforms with the F-reading pattern (more on this below). Popular websites such as CNN and others often run their ads on the side bar. The great thing about running ads on the sidebar is that it breaks the monotony of your other content, especially if you publish a lot of blog posts.
Use A Heatmap
We mentioned banner blindness above. This is a phenomenon where web visitors intentionally or unintentionally ignore banners or anything that looks like an advertisement. Since most web browsers know where ads are likely to appear, they avoid those areas.
This is why heat maps are so important because they guide you to display ad content where visitors’ eyes are most likely to concentrate, and therefore place your ads in their natural eye path.
By the way, in case you think these heat map trend was a coincidence, it wasn’t. Here is a similar study also carried out by NNGroup.
One thing to note here is that heat maps serve as a guide. If users find content engaging, they will read more horizontally and even scroll up and down the page. This is what you want.
Which is why, above everything else, we advise that you create relevant content and segment your audience prior to targeting them with display ads so that you ensure ad relevance.
Effective Affiliate Banner Design 200 Words
So far, we have defined affiliate banners, their benefits and where on a website you should place them. Now, let’s look at the affiliate banner design, which is the one thing that will set your banners apart and make them convert.
When you create and post your affiliate banners, your hope is that they will convert and earn you some income. Right?
From our experience, there are certain elements that we have found contribute to the success of any banner. If you take your time to execute well on these three things, then your affiliate banners will most likely experience better click through rates. These elements include:
- A direct and simple message
- Clear, professional looking and captivating images
- A clear CTA
I like the execution below. You can see how consistent the message is in every banner. The call to action and reward for that call to action are also specific and clear:
Book your airport taxi” why? “To get hassle free travel at the best price”. Simple, right?
Here’s what you need to do for your banner CTA:
- Tie your call to action directly to your message.
- Use words that are consistent with your offering. The colors in your affiliate banner should also be similar to the colors in your landing page
- Your call to action must point to a very specific action. Your call to action should also give “why “for taking a specific action. For instance, click here to get your 50% discount… i.e., there is discount waiting for you if you click
- Don’t give false hope. If you say, free trial, then it’s free trial.
This is an example of a badly executed banner ad. Everything is wrong about it. And the call to action? I shudder to think what happens when you click on it.
Direct and Simple Message
Whatever you sell, make sure that your message is simple and direct.
Lifestyle shots are great and attractive but more often than not, they tend to dilute the message you intend to pass in your advertisement. Even if you use lifestyle shots, they shouldn’t leave the visitor searching for meaning.
Also, avoid being clever (or at least trying to be). Cryptic messages will almost always leave people confused 100% of the time. Believe me when I say that when it comes to converting customers, making people feel dumb is not a great strategy for winning over clicks.
Graphics have improved so much nowadays that it is almost impossible to find an ad with bad images. Yet, I feel that I still need to mention this because graphics will make or break your banner ad performance. If you want to look unprofessional and have people ignore your banners, bad graphics will get the job done. So go pro by avoiding bad graphics.
Look at this over pixelated banner ad. Any time you think of a bad graphic, think of this banner.
Affiliate Banner Ad Sizes
You can design your banners from scratch if you have the technical skills. This is however not a must. There are templates that you can use even if you are the most non-technical person on the planet. The great thing about templates is that
- Most of the design heavy lifting is done for you
- You can cut down on the time you need to deploy a campaign
- You can control over how the final creative looks
- Templates are a cheaper option to hiring a professional designer
- With a template, you can also preview the results to know how the finished banner will look.
- Create your banners in the recommended standard sizes.
Banner sizes are measured in pixels, and the most popular banner sizes for desktops and mobile:
Conclusion on Affiliate Banners
Thus far, you have created your affiliate banners and deployed them. So what next?
You may find this hard to believe, but according to a survey by casalemedia repetition is key to successful banner ad performance. Showing an ad 5 times resulted in 175 time more clicks. Yap. Point is, don’t give up. Don’t just show your affiliate banners once or twice and when they fail to convert, say it didn’t work.
A few more tips:
- Keep your ads minimal. A maximum of 4 banners will do. Anything more and you risk putting off your visitors.
- User experience should be top of mind
That’s it! If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, in addition to helping you with your banners, we will also give you useful tips on how to find affiliate programs.