Relevancy Makes Banner Ads Better

Why is “banner ad” a 4 letter word in the marketing world? Well, quite frankly, they historically suck. Intrusive, poorly targeted eye sores. No one wishes for more banner ads anymore than they wish for more commercials on TV.

Yet, while most would be hard pressed to admit it, sometimes a banner ad click can lead to a discovery of some wonderful new product, service, or place too. If banner ads are relevant to our interests and needs, and take us to a website or landing page that is useful to us, don’t we hate them less? I certainly think so.

We had the opportunity to launch a campaign this spring for the Charleston Area CVB to drive more interest in Charleston as a vacation destination. We decided to appeal to 5 interests, through digital advertising, that Charleston really delivers on.

  1. History
  2. Food
  3. Family Friendly
  4. Outdoors & Beaches
  5. Arts & Culture

Once we chose our interests, we created complex campaigns in AdWords (seriously, hours of work complex… tweet me @lantzgr if you want the gory details) that would help us reach users with those interests themselves. Then we made banner ads that spoke to those interests.

Example Foodie Interest Banners:

foodie1_300x250 foodie2_300x250 foodie3_300x250

Next, we made a custom landing page for each interest. The landing pages had 3 tiers of key performance indicators (KPIs). We thought of them as good/better/best levels of interaction.

  1. Watch a video on Charleston that matches your interest (good)
  2. Learn more about an activity you can do in Charleston for this interest (better)
  3. Request our Visitor’s Guide (best)

Example Foodie Landing Page:


Campaign Results:

  • The numbers:
    +17,000,000 impressions
    +38,000 clicks
    6,836 video plays
    4,593 activity clicks
    1,420 visitors guide requests
    Cost per click: $1.01
    Blended cost per conversion: $2.62
  • We learned what core interests bring visitors to the CVB website and convert at the highest rate and how drive markets compare to fly markets in engagement with various types of content
  • Determined which demographic converts best for paid media campaigns (by gender, age, etc)

Bottom line: With well-targeted, relevant banner ads and landing pages, a display campaign can provide a significant volume of highly converting visitors to your website. Display is an excellent supplement to paid search campaigns and introduces new customers to your product/service/destination in a visual way that is unique from search.