In a recent article published by UX and online behavior guru Jakob Nielsen, he and his team revisited the topic of “banner ad blindness”, which is the well known and frequently observed tendency of people to not only avoid ads but also anything that looks like them. The new study (April 2018) highlighted new findings and live user observations concluding that what was observed in the past is actually increasing dramatically now–people hate banner ads and avoid them like the plague.
Curiosity getting the better of me, I researched other sources on the same topic and discovered the following additional data points of diminishing return:
- The average CTR has now declined to .05%
- 90% of clicks are from bots and not humans
- The cost of ads has increased approximately 12% in the past 2 years
- You are more likely to summit Mount Everest then click a banner ad
And lastly, adding one additional layer of complexity for retailers, (at least on the surface) product searches are now initiated on Amazon (52%+) rather than Google or other search engines.
So what does a brand do? How does a retailer navigate these waters of dramatic change and complexity? At a high level, my advice is start by focusing on these top three points:
- Rethink, question and re-evaluate your ad spend. Don’t adhere to “industry averages” as to what your brand should be spending. Take a good look at your spend and ask the tough question; “do we really need to be spending this % of our budget on digital ads, and can we invest part of this budget on X?”
- Play nice with Amazon. They are and should be your lead-gen and eCommerce partner. Generate sales and customer brand relationships through your presence on Amazon. But don’t place all of your eggs in the Amazon basket.
- Reinvent and evaluate your own, independent brand web and eCommerce experience. Your platform, technology, UX, social, content—everything here will say everything about you. Make it the best and provide the exclusives and conversation with customers that can only be facilitated at your branded website. Also integrate your digital presence with your physical stores and experiences; don’t duplicate the experience but integrate it as customers are craving hands-on, brand experience and authenticity.