You will see banners on just about every single website and blog nowadays. The purpose of banners is to either directly get people to click on them to buy something immediately or to be directed to a page where they will opt-in or then be sold something. Either way, the purpose they have is to increase sales and conversions, but does the position of your banner/s actually matter when it comes to improving conversions? Yes it does!
Why I decided to write about this:
There are a lot of people who are not using them to their advantage and also those who don’t use them properly. I wanted to share my results to help illustrate how positioning of banners plays a vital role in conversions and how it also hurts it.
In fact this case study really came about by accident because the specific banner I want to draw your attention to actually disappeared for about a month due to what I believe was a WordPress update that removed the code which made it appear. And in that month that it was gone, I will share what happened and frankly, it’s quite shocking…
General understanding of banner positioning:
There are many different ways you can arrange a banner or banners on your website:
- You can have it be a pop up window which directs people anywhere. I’ve never done this on this website before, but I have a number of successful friends in the business who say it works very well.
- You can have banners arranged on either side of your website (left or right).
- You can have banners put on the bottom of all your content pages and posts (that’s the one we’ll focus on most).
- You can really put them anywhere depending on the type of website you have. With proper coding knowledge, almost anything is possible.
There are people who don’t know this that leave this entire topic alone and just build out content and then there are those who do know this that in some cases spam their website full of these things in hopes that people will visit what they want them to so they can make money.
I made a case study regarding a side ad I placed that received a lot of clicks but in the end lost me sales and in that case study, I pointed to the mistake of placing all those banners on one page because it confuses readers and can hurt conversions. Basically I told people NOT to do this! Also side banners generally get way less clicks than banners in other areas of a website.
In my experience, the fewer banners you have and the more they all point to one direction, the better. Nothing is worse for a reader who comes to your website to see different banners leading to different pages. It confuses them outright and to make it one banner or even just a link going somewhere makes it very likely they’ll do it and even more simpler.
Think about a website like this, someone comes, reads about a program they were looking into, find out it sucks, but then naturally want to know what doesn’t, and see tons of banners all saying different things about making money.
You would think lots of choices make it better, but for general cases, no. Having so many banners saying “This will make you money” actually makes people less confident in clicking on it because they are going to wonder if another banner they could have clicked on would have led them to a better place. That’s why if there’s 1 choice, there’s less chances people will doubt themselves.
And that leads us to the banner in question…
The same people I talked about earlier who have pop up ads on their site who are having success with it also have banners at the end of each article they write. I decided to try the same idea on this site, made a simple ad and had a friend put up the code for it. Here’s how it normally would look:
To get a better view, just keep scrolling (or reading) to the bottom of this post and you’ll see it. It’s on every page I write. As you can see, it is a very basic image that anyone can make in just about any program. I saved that image and link it to my Wealthy Affiliate page.
The object besides getting more conversions is to help people out. They read the article I wrote, they read whether something is good or bad, but want to know where they should go next. Well that banner answers that.
It’s been over a year since I put it up and in that time, it’s gotten over 15,000 unique clicks! That’s 15,000 more people being led to my main review page which could lead to more conversions.
So obviously the banner worked right?
Yes it did, but here’s a very interesting thing that happened. As you read earlier, that banner vanished over a month ago and I didn’t even know it happened because I just lost my focus to some personal things that were going on.
I also kept seeing a steady stream of people joining Wealthy Affiliate so I though things were in order. Also consider that mid-end December, the holidays hit, so that makes clicks and visits decline too.
So we’re going to look at 3 stats:
- The overall visits to the site from the time this happened (12-10-15 until 1-8-16). The banner was placed on the 7th of January:
As New Years came around, post January, traffic increased. But during December it was much lower. It’s something that most people in this niche expect to happen at the end of every year.
2. Next we’re going to look at the actual banner clicks. Remember, nearly all of December, the banner was gone so you’re going to see a lot of 0 activity versus when I put the banner back up (1-7-16):
We know why this happened, but now let’s look at 2 final things. First the number of clicks I had going to my Wealthy Affiliate promotion and then how many people joined. The object of this last analysis is to see if the banner being gone led to LESS people signing up or MORE.
If it’s LESS, the conclusion is that the banner was an important piece of my site which has to be up. If the it’s the SAME or MORE, the conclusion is that the banner has NO impact on conversions and can be gotten rid of.
Since today is 1/9/87, I only have 2 days to measure these numbers vs the month+ range where the site didn’t have the banner so in order to make a more accurate reading, we’ll go back to 11/01/15 and measure that date range until 12/08/15 (the day before the banner dropped out). That way we’ll be comparing similar periods of time with and without the banner (1 month plus).
I know as I describe every detail, it can get really, really confusing, so I’ll just say it like this: We’re just seeing if my site makes more sales with or without a banner. That is really it!
Alright so let’s look at the period where the banner was up. It funneled extra traffic to my main promotion and in the end, the main promotion had gotten 1,749. Now remember, this is NOT the number of clicks the actual banner got, this is the number of clicks my Wealthy Affiliate received. That means that many people clicked on links leading to the promotion’s main website.
Out of the 1,749, 419 people signed up. So we have a sign up conversion rate of about 24%.
Now let’s take the period without the banner. We have in total 1,309 clicks with 284 sign ups. That means our conversion for that period is 21%.
A 3% difference is not that major, especially if you factor in I added a few more days for the first measurement. We are almost even with a VERY SLIGHT edge going to the banner version.
So the banner didn’t make a huge difference after all.
Based on these numbers, no, not that much, but the problem with doing all these calculations is that we can never factor in every single thing. We didn’t measure the impact of the Thanksgiving holidays. We didn’t measure the impact of Christmas and New Year’s and we also didn’t measure events that may have taken place that weren’t holidays.
These things ALL affect how users browse the web at ANY point and it can affect how they think and make decisions too. So when I measure these things, I have to keep it as simple as possible without omitting enough details that it can break the whole calculation.
However, one thing I am VERY confident on is that the same conclusion I made with my previous case study on conversions also applies here fully: Content matters, not the banners. Banners can even make conversions worse!
As long as you have enough call to action links going to any one or more promotions on your site and they are written up in a natural way which doesn’t “force” your visitor to click on it, you will get a steady and NATURAL flow of visits to wherever you want your visitors to go.
It all points to the point I’ve been making for years that is still proving true to me with just about every case study I do: Content is without a doubt the most important factor ever.
Another factor I missed which can make up for those 3%:
During the period when my banner was down, I noticed a large increase in comments on certain popular posts, mostly ones that were product reviews. But a majority of those comments kept asking me the same things: If I knew of better programs.
It actually annoyed me because multiple times I told people to visit my WA review to get that question answered. So either they didn’t read the whole article, get to those call to action links I put up, I didn’t put up enough call to action links, or…that’s right: They didn’t see the banner because it was down!
This is what I believe happened and even if it’s not the only reason, I’ll still add more call to action links to address those questions because I know more will be asking the same thing/s. Had my banner been up during that period, odds are I’d probably have less people asking me these things and could have even gotten more referrals/sales.
I’ll make those adjustments and post a follow up once we get more data. Hopefully the same questions will cease!