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Banner Ads And Conversion Ratios

Posted on February 27, 2001

by Kim Wingate

Your Web site's ability to convert visitors into sales has tremendous influence on the success of your banner ad campaigns. Don't fall into the mindset of many online advertising agencies - that the campaign's job is finished when the prospect is dropped off at the site.

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If you are tracking your advertising effectiveness all the way through to the order, doesn't it stand to reason that your site is a major piece of that process? Many people who disparage banner advertising are pointing prospects to sites that can't convert prospects into sales. They buy a bunch of banner impressions and direct the click-throughs to a site whose conversion ratios are only a fraction of one percent. And then they blame the advertising! Amazing.

In the offline world, this would be the equivalent of someone running a bunch of newspaper or television advertising directing prospects to a retail store. Once the prospect gets to the store, the parking lot is tiny and they can't find a place to park. Once they do find a parking spot, the store's front door isn't working properly and the prospect has to struggle with it just to get in. Once in the store, the prospect can't find what they are looking for and no one will help them. Luckily, they eventually find something they want to buy, but the checkout lines are twenty people long and the cash registers are extremely slow - when they work at all!

Is this situation the fault of the advertising? No. The advertising did its job. It brought targeted prospects to the store. Web advertising cannot be effective if the Web site can't sell. Maybe that's why so many advertisers incorrectly focus on click-throughs as a performance metric. Maybe they know their site can't sell. And, instead of fixing the problem, they'd rather use a different measure.

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No matter how good your advertising campaign is, if your site can't convert prospects into customers, the campaign will fail. Make sure the conversion ratios on your Web site are as high as possible before sinking your money into more advertising. If your site is only converting 1% of visitors into customers, put some effort into getting those ratios to at least 2% or 3% before embarking on a Web advertising effort.

The higher your Web site conversion rate, the better. Your cost-per-order will be much lower if your site conversion rate is high. Your effectiveness ratio will be much higher if your site conversion rate is high. Everything about your campaign will be better if your site can convert a high percentage of targeted prospects into customers.

Kim Wingate of AvidSurfer, is the publisher of "Big Time Banner Advertising" and "Turning Visits Into Action." Both of these informative Web business manuals, as well as a FREE conversion ratio case study, can be found online at:


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