|500,000 Clicks Worth Of
Twin Lakes Area Experience
Over the last four years (2010, '11, '12, '13 ) all 2Cooleys ads on all 2Cooleys sites had
a little over 121,200 clicks, about 30,000 a year. We have run banner ads since 1995.
Between then and through 2009 we had another 380,000 plus banner clicks. I'm
sharing here what I learned from a half-million ad clicks on area tourism banners over 18
years. Each of those clicks carries technical and user data used for increasing
click rates. As can be expected, some banners get many more clicks than others.
So What Makes an Ozark Recreation Banner Produce Lots of
Bookings? It is not fast and easy for sure. It takes a little work, and it takes
a team effort between us and the customers. It is rare that a banner produces a good
return on the first try. Despite all my years of experience I can say that banners are as
much luck as skill. However, it does not take a great deal of effort to watch results and
adjust accordingly, but you must do just that - test. Though it sounds complex and
time-consuming, our top-producing banner campaigns each take about 3 to 5 hours of time
over a year.
It Takes Multiple Banners. You can't run
just one banner design all year and expect year-around results if you want top results.
If you use just a summer theme banner, you can expect fewer results than if
you run both a summer and fall banner. If you have two or three banners with
different season themes rotating in your spot, you'll double or triple your results. It
will vary with each customer. If the majority of your summer bookings come in late winter
and spring, that's when you run your summer banners. If your fall bookings come in June,
July, and August, that is when you run fall banners. If you need short-term action, then
run for the current season. It all depends on your goals.
The list below summarizes, but obviously does not detail, what you need to know. It is
meant as a guideline only, and applies only to Twin Lakes Tourism:
|1. A banner's purpose is getting visitors to
your Web site. Your web site, not the banner, is what sells.
|2. Banners have a fraction of a second to
attract attention, then 2 or 3 more seconds to earn a click.
|3. People don't like ads. The more banners
look like advertisements, the fewer clicks they get.
|4. People read banner text, but click only if
text is short, informative, and hype-free.
|5. Banners must be season relevant. Few click
summer banners in the fall. Rotate multiple banners in your spots. It is not expense to do
|6. Banners must match site content. The
closer the match, the more clicks you get.
|7. Due to cognitive shifting, a banner's page
position is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!
|8. Logos do not generate clicks. Use logos
only if branding is your primary objective.
|9. 1 or 2 month banner runs are too short
unless the spot gets 15,000 views or more a month.
|10. To increase clicks you need more metrics
than just clicks and views.
|11. Banners should be on static display, or
static rotation, but never on auto rotation.
|12. Having a text link under the banner image
is important for several reasons.
|13. For metrics gathering, images and links
in the same banner need different tracking codes.
|14. Tourism banners work best when they show a price
or price range.
|15. Testing and fine-tuning banner design over a
period of time is the most productive effort you can make. Testing and adjusting pays off
many times over. You can't just "stick one up there and see what happens". If at
first your banner does not produce, don't give up. If it was that easy, everyone would be
doing it. The race is won by the Tortoise, not the Hare!
Time & Complexity
Sound like a lot of work? Sound complex? I have helped many customers run effective,
sophisticated banner campaigns. In most cases it takes about 10 hours a year of the
customer's time. There is very little to learn. What you do need to learn takes about an
hour, and that time is spread out over three or four 15 minute sessions.
All of the above can be accomplished for less than $500 per spot per year. You can get a
good banner program for $350 to $750 a year. You can get a producing banner for much less.
You can get a sophisticated multi-banner program for about a $900 a year.
How Much Money Will A Banner Make Me?
People click a banner because they anticipate landing in a site offering something they
want. If they land on your site and don't see what they thought they would see, or if they
see it, but don't want to pay the price, they will not convert into a booking. This is why
your banner must match what your site offers.
However, even with the best match between banner and site,
and even if you have the best prices, best facilities, and the best of what ever else is
needed, you will get 2 to 3 bookings for every one hundred people who click your banner. I
have seen higher conversion rates. I've seen them as high as 12 bookings for every 100
clicks. But that is not the way to bet. Instead plan on 2 to 3 bookings for every 100
clicks. If you do better, great! Figure out what your average booking rate is, and from
there you can calculate what your banner will produce in minimum gross sales based on your
How Many Clicks Will I Get?
Click counts vary considerably. If the ad is fully optimized, plan on about 1,000 clicks a
year. I see ads getting 1,000 or more clicks in six months. I see some ads get less
than 100 clicks per month. Most ads on 2Cooleys sites will get between 800 and 1,200
clicks per year.
The Best Money-Making Banner Strategies
1. Start out on a simple level, learn the basics. Then go for more advanced
2. Test and fine tune banners. Forget hitting a home run on the first swing. It will not
happen. The difference between the pros and the amateurs is found in the testing process.
3. Once you buy a banner spot, run at least three different banners in that spot.
4. Based on what you learn during your tests (test results show up in your ad metrics
control panel for free) develop additional banners, and serve those banners using advanced
What Are Advanced Serving Options?
By applying specific programming to each banner you can have it display, or not
display, or display different banners, based on city, state, time of day, day of week,
search engine terms, popularity of the banner based on all of the former, and just about
any other factor you can think of. For example, if someone enters a site displaying your
banner for fishing, but the person used lodging as a keyword, your lodging banner displays
instead of your fishing banner. Further, if that person was from Memphis, you could have a
lodging special for people from Memphis display. But let's say that Memphis special should
display on Monday and Tuesday only because it is for the weekend, then the display for
that Memphis Lodging Specials will display only on Monday and Tuesday. It goes from there.
What Is An Ad Metrics Control Panel?
If you have ever purchased a banner ad and the seller gave you one of those little
password protected sites where you can see how many views and clicks your banner has had,
that is a very basic panel. A true ad metrics control panel offers far more than just
views and clicks.