Banner blindness in programmatic: 11 tips to combat it and avoid revenue loss

· 7 min read
Banner blindness in programmatic: 11 tips to combat it and avoid revenue loss

Have you ever unconsciously ignored someone on the street? It happens to all of us! Ignoring consciously and unconsciously also occurs in programmatic advertising, with a clear example being the phenomenon called banner blindness. But don't worry, it's a problem we can combat with targeted strategies.

Some users are so distracted on your mobile application or website that they mentally block out any banners that appear out of nowhere. And that, as you know, is not beneficial for you as you seek to monetize with programmatic advertising.

Today we want to show you some tips that will help you combat banner blindness and keep your earnings afloat. Are you with us? Let's go…

What are banners and why do people sometimes ignore them?

We can't talk about scoring without talking about soccer. In short, first we need to know what banners are and how they work in the digital advertising industry.

They are rectangular ad formats embedded in a website or mobile application at the top, bottom, or center. They differ from pop-ups because pop-ups have an "x" to close the ad, something that doesn't happen with banners.

Most banners are static and combine images and text—especially a call to action (CTA)—to encourage the user to click and go to the advertiser's app or website.

The Dilemma of Banner Blindness

Although banners are one of the most popular formats in the digital advertising industry, there are users who completely ignore them, and that, as you might suspect, impacts revenue levels.

Is this something new? Truth be told, no. This phenomenon of advertising blindness was identified in 1998 by Jan Panero Benway and David Lane in a web usability study, when the Internet was beginning to gain traction in society.

Banner blindness represents a common problem for publishers and advertisers, as their efforts seem to dissipate due to lack of user interaction. But why does this happen? Basically, because of what is called "selective attention" in psychology, a kind of defense mechanism that is activated to overcome the feeling of overwhelm and suffocation from information.

What are the causes of banner blindness?

While Rich Media (interactive ads) continue to gain ground in programmatic advertising, banners never die. They adapt to market dynamics and always remain a valid option for advertising.

But of course, they are no longer as innovative as they were more than two decades ago. In their early days, they were something novel that generated an abysmal click-through rate.

Now the rules of the game have changed; however, banners still have special relevance in the programmatic industry. For example, in Spain, spending on banners for mobile devices was €13.5 per user in 2023, according to Statista.

It's an optimal figure despite the causes that lead to banner blindness, which we'll list for you below:

Overload: Users will consciously skip over a mobile application that is overloaded with banners. It's annoying for them to see ads all the time, as it affects their experience within the app.

Misleading advertising: Those banners that say "click here and win $1,000" are terrible because the user knows that won't happen. In addition to being a terrible strategy, it's one of the main reasons why users distrust an app (they think it's unsafe and their data is at risk).

Information overload: There are users who are daily exposed to online information, and when they enter a website or app, they may not notice the banners that are fixed there. Their brains automatically block them out.

Irrelevance: Another key cause of banner blindness is lack of creativity. They are either aesthetically poor or overly extravagant. There is no ideal balance to engage the user.

Location: It's proven that banners located at the top of an app or website are more ignored than those at the bottom.

Ad blocking programs: Just as YouTube has a premium version that blocks ads, there are also programs that do the same across various digital channels. There are users who definitely want nothing to do with online advertising.

How to Overcome Banner Blindness? Tips That Cannot Be Missed in Your Strategy

The only thing impossible in programmatic advertising is that which is not attempted. Banner blindness is a challenge we can overcome if we apply corrective measures in time and understand how the market works.

The best thing to do is to put yourself in the user's shoes. If you weren't a publisher or advertiser, what kind of banners would you like to see? Would you be willing to click on one? What phrases or designs do you relate to the most? These are questions you should answer as soon as possible.

And although creativity is a determining factor, there are other tactics you should apply to make your banners more relevant. Check out these tips:

#1 Native Ads

A black sheep will always stand out in a flock of pure white sheep, but how about we disguise the black sheep in a white suit and make it go unnoticed? That's what you should do with banners! Make them look like native ads and be part of the content the user is consuming.

It's a bit strange to see a cryptocurrency banner in a Bible dating app, for example.

#2 Customized Banners

It's proven that personalized ads simulate a conversation. Users feel that there is someone who understands their tastes and preferences, which increases the likelihood of interacting with ads.

If you have a medical control app, you can fill your inventory with banners that say something like "Looking for professional medical advice to help you improve?" The idea is for the banner to be the bridge users are looking for to solve their problems.

#3 Lots of Creativity

When we talk about creativity, we're not talking about extravagance. There are minimalist designs and extremely short phrases that are creative and effective for engaging the audience.

Combine influential colors and study your audience to know what message to give them.

#4 Urgently Optimize

Banner saturation is a colossal mistake. More than the quantity of advertising, it's the quality that matters. Avoid making users feel overwhelmed and fatigued by the same advertising.

Therefore, try to optimize your inventory and give precedence to the most effective banners. You must have analytical capacity to know how often to show them. Rotation helps maintain user interest.

#5 Monitor Statistics

Check the analytics tools of the mediation platform you use and determine which ad format is yielding the best results. You may notice a particular banner that is performing well, which will guide you to understand the reasons for its success.

#6 Precise Segmentation

To ensure a high fill rate and have a better chance of avoiding banner blindness, you must segment your audience precisely, taking into account age, location, preferences, and types of devices.

Does this mean that 100% of the selected users will see the banners displayed in your app? Definitely not, but you do ensure that you increase the possibility of achieving greater interaction.

#7 Emphasize the CTA

Banners should have a short but precise and completely visible text. The advertiser must be very astute in using keywords that generate a desire to interact. A valuable tip is to make a deep evaluation of your niche and look at the needs of the sector.

You can use numbers to generate more impact (30% savings, 7 tips to grow, etc.) and avoid exceeding 70 characters; the fewer, the better. Use words like "give it to me," "I'm interested," "download here," "learn more," among others.

Oh, it's super important to use legible typography and avoid spelling errors.

#8 Optimize Loading Speed

If it's already tedious for the user to deal with advertising, imagine an ad that takes too long to load and appears in poor quality. It's catastrophic for you because you risk users giving up on using your app.

Therefore, keep your app's code updated and make optimizations in the mediation platform so that banners load quickly and the user doesn't lose patience.

#9 Don't Lose Sight of Your Competition

If you have doubts about your banner placement strategy, it's valid to take a look at your competition to see how they execute their advertising campaign. You can take inspiration from them to design original banners that are never the same.

Many times banners are created with generic images from the internet that end up bringing confusion to users, as they think they've seen that ad several times.

#10 Use Video and Scrolling Banners

Just because banners are rectangular doesn't mean they're boring. There's a format of video banners that play within the app and generate a greater visual impact on users.

Ideally, it should be a video or animation that doesn't weigh too many KB to avoid slowing down the application or website. Another option you have at hand is scrolling banners, which move with the user when they interact with the app or website.

#11 Apply A/B Testing

Use different variations of banners based on their colors, CTA, and locations within the interface to identify which ones generate the best results. A/B testing helps you get rid of doubts about the path you should follow.

Once you determine which banner is the most successful, the next step will be to continuously optimize to improve its performance and replicate that procedure in other banners.

Benefits of Banners in Programmatic Advertising

Before concluding the article, we want to highlight the value that banners have in mobile advertising. Here are some advantages that will make you consider giving them precedence and eliminating the blindness that clouds users:

• Brand exposure: with little effort, advertisers can give greater exposure to their project.

•Interaction: if well designed, they are ideal for motivating user action and offering additional content.

• Success indicators: it's also worth noting that they gather an immense amount of performance data, which can be used to track user behavior.

• Non-intrusive: being rectangular, they take up little space on the screen, which means users don't feel overwhelmed by advertising that takes up the entire space.

Overcome Banner Blindness with Wortise: Innovative Formats and Cutting-Edge Technology to Monetize More

Hello Publisher! We know the importance of implementing innovative formats to attract users, so we have worked hard to build a robust platform with the most dynamic and innovative formats on the market.

In addition to the formats, we are also accompanied by a robust first-party data base and hyper-segmentation technology to reach premium audiences.

This, together with the more than 100 Ad Networks we mediate with, will allow you to overcome banner blindness and boost your eCPM. Are you up for it?