Banner advertising fell into disfavor in the past few years due to overuse and poor performance. Text links replaced them as the preferred ad-linking method in most cases, and this still holds true today.
However, banners aren't totally dead...
In fact, they're alive and well on quite a few high-traffic niche sites, sometimes at bargain basement prices.
Sites to target for banner advertising:
- Online editions of local newspapers or your local news station's website.
- Websites of talk radio or other niche related radio programs.
- Niche blogs or targeted, independent news sites
- Any targeted website that makes use of banners while strictly limiting the amount of banners in place
Are Banners Making A Comeback?
In a sense: Yes, banners are making a comeback, but in a much more targeted fashion.
What killed the effectiveness of banners in the past:
1. Overuse: Webmasters went "banner crazy" during the early days of Internet advertising. Visitors began ignoring banners due to overexposure and poor targeting on the part of advertisers.
2. Over-Reliance: Over-reliance on banners as the primary source of monetization for content-driven sites. The dot-com graveyard is littered with sites that attempted to drive revenue solely through banner advertising. The idea of free content was a noble one, but it didn't hold up economically.
Today, the most effective banner advertising takes a cue from Google Adwords. In other words, it's all about contextual advertising.
Banners targeted to the content and to the audience of a given website perform, from an ROI standpoint, on par with text-link advertising.
But, again, you've got to target the placement.
Banner advertising works best when you follow the rules of niche marketing.
Niche products ->Niche Advertising ->Niche Web Sites.
Here's a hot tip: some of the best sites for banner placement are radio program websites. In particular, the official websites for talk radio programs, especially on the AM frequencies.
Well, if you'll tune in to a program on any given day, you'll hear the reason. There are literally dozens of small businesses advertising on these programs.
You'll notice, too, that the nature of the products they advertise are the kind you'd expect to find in mail-order catalogs or other direct-marketing mediums:
✔ Nutritional supplements
✔ Investment courses
✔ Specialty products
You'll find the same types of products advertised on the program's website as you do on-air.
But that's not the best part...
The best part is that talk radio programs cull a select, pre-targeted audience.
Let's say you have an e-book related to automotive repair. Where should you advertise?
Well, Car Talk (http://www.cartalk.com) would be a great place to start. This show has been on the air for years, and boasts a loyal audience - not in the thousands - but in the millions.
News portals and sites focused on alternative media are proving to be great investments for both banner and text-link advertising.
Though these sites aren't always laser-targeted from a content standpoint, the demographics of their readership makes them very attractive.
Let's look at what News Max (http://www.newsmax.com) has to say about their demographics:
n Highly Educated: 63% have a college degree
n Highly Affluent: 70% have a household income over $50,000
n Loyal Readers: 81% visit the site daily
n Online Spenders: 70% have purchased something online in the last year.
Sounds like any marketer's dream come true, right? But what makes this type of audience so responsive?
Think about the visitor's frame of mind for a moment.
They're open, curious and in "information gathering" mode. The news content itself may have them actively thinking about their own problems - and wondering where they might find a solution.
Oh, and notice, too, that they're already 'awash' in attention-grabbing headlines?
Use Your Own:
Right now there are thousands of sites which rely on auto-generated content (and auto generated advertising).
Some of these sites are 'blogs' - featuring a mix of both auto-generated content and manually entered content. But there are also sites created with 'page generator' programs, and these rely on content syndication to pull in fresh articles and fresh advertising.
If you aren't familiar with page generator software, here a few example products to check out:
Sites built with these types of programs tend to get search engines traffic if done right.
Most marketers build them for the sole purpose of monetizing the traffic that comes in. The primary method of earning revenue on these sites is Google Adsense. Adsense advertisements are sprinkled across every single page of targeted content.
If you own one of these types of sites, here's an idea:
Why not place banner advertisements on select pages? Take advantage of the opportunity to direct those visitors to one of your affiliate programs, where the payout is likely equal to or greater than the amount you earn per click with Adsense.
Now you might be thinking: why would I want to do this? I'm guaranteed to earn something when a visitor clicks away from my site on an Adsense link, but I'm not guaranteed anything if they click on an affiliate banner!
This is true, but it also is going to depend on the niche you are targeting and what types of affiliate programs you're involved in.
Let's say you have a highly trafficked page that is performing well for you in terms of generating Adsense revenue. This is a sign that the mix of content and advertising is very highly targeted - in other words, it's optimized contextual advertising.
If you have a related affiliate program that meets these criteria:
- High pay-out
- Commission earned as 'pay per lead' (e.g. Visitor fills out a form or takes some other simple action)
Then I'd say it's worth the risk of adding that banner to the page to see what type of response you get. You've got a much greater chance of nailing that commission since the visitor isn't having to decide whether to buy anything.
As for programs that do require a purchase for you to earn a commission, I'd recommend placing banners for those products on your under-performing pages.
In other words, check your stats and find out which pages get fair traffic but only so-so conversion on Adsense clicks. Slap your banners there and see what you get. You won't be risking as much revenue this way, and you also up your chances of squeezing more revenue out of that page.