Banners Have 99 Problems And A Click Ain’t One

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 12.33.43 AMA couple of years ago, when he was still with WPP’s Mindshare, I heard Scott Sorokin explain how 99.9% of people who see a banner ad will ignore it.

This has become one of my favorite content marketing quotes and I use it in almost every presentation:

Banners have 99 problems and a click ain’t one! [Tweet This]

But clicks aren’t the only problem that banners face. Here are some of the deeper issues facing banner ads:

  • Viewability: banners that are never actually viewed by anyone
  • Click fraud: Websites that fake clicks on banners
  • Bots: Automated scripts that scour the web and click on advertiser banners
  • Viewer fatigue: We have learned to ignore banners

All these issues have caused almost all of us to completely ignore what’s going on to the side, or above, or below, or on top of, the content we are trying to view.

The First Banner Ad

This is the first banner ad from way back in 1994:

firstbanneradIt scored a 44% click through rate [tweet this] and sent that traffic to a series of AT&T ads narrated by Tom Selleck, that promised a future where you could read books, get directions, send faxes, pay tools, buy stuff, watch movies, and attended meetings – all online? Whoa!!!


Banners have suffered a bit since then.

The number of people who can access the web has grown from 30 Million in 1994 to more than 3 Billion. That’s 42% of every single person on the planet including babies according to Internet World Stats.

The amount of content on the internet has grown by leaps and bounds. In 15 minutes of every day, there are more Google searches than there were people on the web back in 1994. Every minute today, there are 7 times more emails sent than there were people on the web in 1994.

And so the number of banners ads we’ve served all these web visitors has grown as well. The banner ad display format is expected to grow 25% this year  to more than $12 Billion, despite the crazy insane lack of effectiveness.

Marketers are blindly shifting their ad budgets into digital ad formats that are seeing lower and lower response rates.

But as some ad man once told me “we count what we catch not what we spill.” Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

Content Marketing Helps Brand Reach Their Customers Through Content They Actually Want

Instead of interrupting our content experiences, content marketing promises to be the content our customers are looking for.

Content marketing seeks to earn an audience vs. buying it.

And when you create content that people actually want, content that actually helps them, then you build a relationship based on trust.

And trust is what drives conversion to real sales, real customers and real business value.

If great content is the hero, then banners are the villain.” (Tweet This!)

But if you need more stats, here I’ve compiled dozens of stats to support the notion that banners have 99 problems but a click ain’t one. (These infographic templates were made for free using the infographic maker Venngage.)

1. The average click through rate of display ads is 0.1%. (DoubleClickScreen Shot 2015-07-21 at 12.33.43 AM

2. About 50% of clicks on mobile ads are accidental. (GoldSpot MediaScreen Shot 2015-07-21 at 12.36.32 AM

3. 77% of Web display ads are never seen. (Sticky)Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 12.37.28 AM

4. Only 8% of internet users account for 85% of clicks on display ads. (comScoreScreen Shot 2015-07-21 at 12.38.16 AM

5. Ad Blocking has grown by more than 400% in the last 2 years. (Digiday)Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 12.38.56 AM

6. 33% of internet users find display ads completely intolerable (Adobe)Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 12.39.36 AM

7. Botnets controlled by hackers account for $400 million a year in fraudulent online ad clicks. (Solve Media)Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 12.40.21 AM

8. The average person is served more than 1,700 banner ads per month. (comScoreScreen Shot 2015-07-21 at 12.12.32 AM

9. You are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad. (Solve Media)Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 12.41.53 AM

10. You are more likely to birth twins than click a banner ad. (Solve Media)Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 12.43.04 AM

11. You are more likely to complete NAVY SEAL training than click a banner ad. (Solve Media)

12. You are more likely to get a full house while playing poker than click on a banner ad.(Solve Media

13. You are more likely to summit Mount Everest than click a banner ad. (Solve Media)

14. You are more likely to get into MIT than click a banner ad. (Solve Media)

15. Only 30% of consumers trust search engine ads. (MediaPost)

16. Just 22% of consumers trust emails from companies or brands. (MediaPost)

17. 13% of us trust ads on Web sites. (MediaPost)

18. Only 32% trust ads in any channel. (MediaPost)

19. 32% of survey participants said they trust information on company or brand Web sites. (MediaPost)

20. 24% said they trust ads in newspapers. (MediaPost)

21. 23% said they trust ads on TV. (MediaPost)

22. 22% said they trust ads in magazines. (MediaPost)

23. 20% said they trust in radio. (MediaPost)

24. 20% said they trust emails from brands or companies. (MediaPost)

25. 18% said they trust posts by brands or companies on social sites. (MediaPost)

26. Consumers trusted the messages in text message ads the least at 12%. (MediaPost)

27. Display ads account for a mere 0.9 percent of upstream traffic to department store sites. (L2)

28. Brand marketers will account for just 27 percent of online display ad spending by 2018, down from 31 percent in 2011. (Forrester)

29. Mobile devices account for just 3 percent of advertising spending. (Hubspot)

30. 74 percent of real-time bidding online display advertisers are willing to pay premiums for quality environments. (DoubleClick)

31. The U.S. accounts for 24.7 percent of global online display impressions. (DoubleClick)

32. 60% of LinkedIn users have clicked on an ad on the site. (Lab42)

33. Video ads account for 3% of time spent viewing video online. (ComScore)

34. Being seen matters more than being clicked. Clicks on banner ads have the lowest correlation with conversion. (ComScore)

35. The Internet accounts for 26 percent of U.S. consumer interaction with media, and 22 percent of advertising spending. (Mary Meeker)

36. Over 5.3 trillion display ads were served to U.S. users. (ComScore)

37. That’s 1 trillion more than 2010. (ComScore)

38. The 468 x 60 banner has a .04 percent click rate. (DoubleClick)

39. An estimated 31% of ad impressions can’t be viewed by users. (Comscore)

40. The display advertising Lumascape has 318 logos. (Luma Partners)

41. Mobile CPMs are 75 cents. (Mary Meeker)

42. 15% trust banner ads compared to 29% for TV ads. (eMarketer)

43. 34% don’t trust banner ads at all compared to 26% for magazine ads. (eMarketer)

44. 25-34-year olds see 2,094 banner ads per month. (ComScore)

45. 445 different advertisers delivered more than a billion banner ads in 2012. (ComScore)

46. 70% of individuals want to learn about products through content rather than through traditional advertising. (

47. People view native ads 53% more than banner ads. (Dedicated Media)

48. A native ad for GE reached 5.1 million people and resulted in 416,000 clickthroughs at an >8% CTR. (Beeby Clark+Meyler)

49. Viewers spend nearly the same amount of time reading editorial content and native ads. (ShareThrough)

OK, that’s not 99 problems. But I think 49 problems is enough! What do you think? Should banners be put to rest?

Thanks to Venngage for providing these free infographics.

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The post Banners Have 99 Problems And A Click Ain’t One appeared first on B2B Marketing Insider.


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