Marketing | 04 MIN READ

6 things that kill your ad conversion

Optimising your ad campaign is one of the most important, and often overlooked aspects of any banner ad campaign. After all, it’s always great to see one of your ideas turn into a fully fledged set of adverts, and have them published on the internet. But then…the analysis rolls in and…nothing! Where’s the conversion? Why is your intricate, carefully designed banner not getting the clicks it deserves? Where did it all go so wrong? Well, there’s no simple, single answer to that question. So have six instead. Maybe you…

1. Used Comic Sans

Or any font of that kind. You know the ones. The ones that you see on school posters about sports day, or the old institutions trying to come across as ‘fun’ and ‘cool’. There’s just no reason for it. If you saw an ad with one of these fonts, you wouldn’t click it, would you? So why use them? They destroy any semblance of trust in mere nanoseconds.

Use something that fits your ad, first and foremost. Something that’s simple, easy to read, and nice on the eye. There are loads of resources about font psychology out there (seriously) if you really want to get into it.

2. Told the user they have a message waiting

You remember the banners. The ones that looked similar to the old info boxes in Windows, but they would be telling you that you have one unread message, and vibrating. Essentially, these were just trying to trick the user into clicking, and it worked, for a while at least. The problem was people learned not to click them, and the ones who did click soon realised they were misled.

Basically, if you don’t want to kill your conversion, don’t try to mislead your audience. Be clear, honest, and above all, do not use vibrating banner ads, which most ad networks have banned anyway, understandably.

3. Used a feature length film in a video banner

We get it. You spent a lot of time and money making an arthouse-style abstract, black and white masterpiece. Weighing in at a whopping 3 minutes, it should be the most beautiful banner ever seen. Maybe it is. But what does it say about your product? What does it do to grab the user’s attention in the first 2 seconds? What’s the offer?

If the answer to any of these is unclear, you’re going to be killing your conversion. These ads may work for TV spots, or even pre-rolls on YouTube (although unlikely, as you still need to make sure they don’t skip your ad), but for banners, you need to get straight to the point. By all means, flex your creative muscles, but keep your objective at the front and centre, and gear your video towards that, and remember that the first 2 seconds are the most vital. Nail this, and nail your call to action, and you should see your conversion rise.

4. Overcrowded your ad

What happens when too many people try and squeeze through the same door at the same time? No one gets through, people get stuck, fall over, and everyone loses. Think about this concept when designing your banner ads.

If you cover your banner with different fonts, images, copy, calls to action and various other elements, you’re just going to confuse the user, and ultimately put them off. If you present too many ideas, your conversion will drop off a cliff. You need to have one clear concept, one precise call to action and a consistent visual language. Do this, and you should see your conversion increase.

5. Used stock photos

Just don’t. No one wants to see all the twenty-somethings high fiving and shouting ‘YAY FOR BUSINESS!’ It’s so clear when stock photos are used, and while some of them are absolutely fine in terms of quality, you’re essentially trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

If you want engagement, and want your audience to appreciate the hard work you’ve put into designing your campaign, then make sure every part of it is created by you, or at least on your behalf by a professional. The quality will shine through, and again, people will be more likely to engage and convert as they actually take notice of your ad, rather than glancing at it with a tinge of disappointment.

6. Mixed your messages

Imagine walking down the street, and you see a billboard advertising a pair of trainers you’ve wanted for ages, and at a discounted rate. Now imagine following this sign’s instructions to the shop, only for them not to be selling those shoes when you get there. Maybe they sell burgers instead.

I know what you’re thinking. “Burgers…nice.” But once you’re past that, you realise that’s not what you’re there for, so you leave. This is exactly the same with display advertising. Once a user clicks on your ad, they will expect to land somewhere with the same offer, as well as the same sort of tone and design language. This is vital as if there’s no thread between the two, the trust is gone and your user has bounced away.


Now you know what to avoid, which is great, but now it’s probably time to look into how to improve your conversion. Check out our other blogs, or head over to resources to download our free ebook!

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