Reasons Affiliate Banners Don't Get Clicked

7 Reasons Why No One Clicks Your Affiliate Banners

Reasons Affiliate Banners Don't Get Clicked

Placing affiliate banners on your blog is one of the most common blog monetization techniques.

Not the most or the least effective. In-between.

Since the case when (almost) no one clicked a certain banner is not very uncommon, let’s analyze together why such an unpleasant situation usually happens and see what you can do to avoid it.

Speaking about solutions, the easiest one is to remove all banners. Remove all so called distractions and you won’t need to read further. There’s a huge disadvantage though…

Putting all your eggs in one basket (for example focusing only on building your list) and copying a good method without having the right skills frequently lead to a big fat failure.

It’s your risk and your decision.

If you’re still here, let’s start today’s journey…

1. Banner Ad Blindness

It’s true that some people trained themselves not to see the banner ads.

The same as I trained myself not to see the opt-in boxes and all the “great” random incentives I never planned to read or watch.

Easy Fix: Move on. Focus on the problems you have better chances to fix.

And don’t even think about listening to the bloggers who claim that banner advertising is dead. If 90%+ of your visitors don’t take action on your marketing goodies (banners, opt-in boxes, etc), it doesn’t mean that banner advertising or list building are dead.

The only sure thing is that the people claiming that banner advertising (list building, etc.) is dead simply don’t understand marketing.

Have you ever gone fishing? Have you ever caught all the fish? Period.

2. The Mobile Traffic and the Sidebar Banners Are a Bad Match

Does your blog have a lot of mobile traffic? Well, then there’s no wonder that no one clicked the sidebar banners.

If you use a responsive theme, the layout of your blog is different for the mobile visitors. The sidebar isn’t a sidebar anymore. It goes to the bottom of the page…

The article comes first, then maybe the related posts and/or the sharing buttons, then the comments, and finally the sidebar.

Who do you think will scroll down to the sidebar, and why? Almost no one. I guarantee you.

Solution: If most of your traffic comes from mobiles, you should consider the total removal of your sidebars. The blog will load faster. As for the blog monetization, focus on the areas that are seen by your readers.

3. Bad Banners, Designed for Branding Purposes Only

Example of banner used for branding only

See the banner on the left side? There’s a brand name and then some text that doesn’t reveal any information – it may be related to almost any product or service.

If your readers have no clue what SBI! stands for, why should they click that banner? Is it because they click banners for no reason? :P

If some readers are kind of familiar with that brand name, why should they click the banner? Is it because they’ve seen it again and again and now decided that it’s time to find out more about it? Well, if they click the banner you should consider yourself very lucky. But this is gambling, not affiliate marketing.

Solution: Before choosing a banner, forget who you are and what your goal is, and put yourself in your reader’s shoes. The reader needs a reason to click. Not understanding what you advertise isn’t a good reason.

4. Stupid Banners. Plain Stupid

Example of meaningless text on a banner

I discovered this masterpiece on someone’s blog…

Free domain starts at $3.95/month

Is this text designed to make people laugh at both the company and the affiliate?

The designer and the Affiliate Manager didn’t notice the problem. The blogger didn’t notice it either.

So many people… I wonder if it’s not something wrong with me. Maybe I don’t understand very well the meaning of the word “free.”

Solution: What can I say? Open your eyes.

5. Ad Blockers

Did a blog or a business bother you? In the past, the elegant solution was to boycott that business by not buying anything and never returning back.

These days people are more pragmatic… Why not getting the stuff they’d like (the tips, the content) under the conditions they decide and without having the owner’s agreement?

So the ad blocking technology was developed. An ad blocker hides totally or partially the ads from your website. Without your agreement. Millions of users and supporters.

I wonder how far is the moment when a piece of software will also decide that some of your opinions suck and they should be hidden. Or replaced by other ones that will please the visitor. Unfortunately it seems that we aren’t that far.

How to Fight Against Ad Blockers

– host the banners on the server that hosts your site;
– don’t put your banners on folders titled “banners” or other names that may relate to advertising;
– cloak your affiliate links;
– don’t use in your site code classes or ids that may be related to advertising. Example: id=”ad_45″
– don’t use ad management plugins that use classes or ids that may be related to advertising. Examples: “Ads by” or “Datafeedr Random Ads V2”
– use anti ad blockers plugins.

6. Promoting Products That Don’t Match Readers’ Interests

If you promote products or services that don’t match readers’ interests, it’s obvious that they won’t click your banners.

The question is, how to know in advance the interests of the future readers?

The easiest solution is to look at your own blog post. There’s the answer. Ask yourself, “Who is my blog post addressed to?”

For example, I don’t know who you are, but long time before you decided to visit this page, I knew some things about you.

I didn’t know whether you have a cat or not. I didn’t know whether you use Twitter or not. But I was 99% sure that you’re a blogger. And you’re interested in monetizing your blog. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have had too many reasons to read this article.

Based on these two interests of yours, I planned what to promote on this page.

Does this monetization strategy always work? Of course it doesn’t, have you ever seen a perfect strategy? But it maximizes the chances to get the click.

7. Promoting Very Popular Products or Services

You may be surprised. Promoting very popular products or services via banners usually doesn’t work so well. Here’s why…

Case Study: I decided to promote GetResponse, one of the most popular email marketing services.

Based on their relationship with GetResponse, I divided the readers of my blog in five categories:

a) GetResponse users
b) GetResponse former users
c) People who heard of GetResponse but decided to use another service
d) People who never heard of GetResponse and use another service
e) People who don’t use any email marketing service.

Now let’s see what the chances for getting the click are:

a) GR users will never click the banner.
b) GR former users were disappointed or discovered a service they thought that fits better their needs. Hard to make them come back just by showing them a regular banner.
c) and d) Usually people don’t switch from one service to another just because you show them a banner.
e) If they think that they don’t need such a service, it’s hard to make them change their mind by showing a banner.

No big chances to get the click, don’t you agree?


Of course that the best solution is to write a review or a comparison between that popular service that you promote and a competitor. Like I did it here: AWeber vs GetResponse. But we’re talking about banners here, aren’t we?

The banners provided in the affiliate area usually aren’t that good. They won’t make people from categories b), c) and d) change their mind.

In GetResponse’s particular case I was lucky. If you’re not on mobile, you’ll see on the sidebar a floating banner that actually doesn’t promote GetResponse email marketing service but a free training program. That banner addresses all categories of readers.

(Update: I don’t use that sidebar banner anymore. But you can see what I still use to promote GetResponse right after this article.)

What to do if you’re not that lucky?

The possible solutions are:

– design your own banner
– use a regular banner, but add additional text around it.

Irrespective of the solution you choose, the additional text added around a regular banner or included in a new banner should have the goal of changing people’s mind. It’s not easy. Spend more time on it. Otherwise you’ll get another regular but useless banner that won’t change anyone’s mind.

To your blogging success!
Adrian Jock

P.S. Your turn… Questions? The comment area is yours. Do you have different reasons for not clicking banners? Share them with your fellow bloggers.

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14 thoughts on “7 Reasons Why No One Clicks Your Affiliate Banners

  1. Hi Adrian,

    Yes – you targetted well :-) I still have affiliate banners but I have had a good prune from what they used to be.

    May I clarify something with you please? Re cloaking affiliate links. When I can, I do this using the Pretty Link plugin but I’ve always had this sneaking worry that Google doesn’t like cloaked links. So hopefully this is an acceptable use of cloaking?

    Haha – loved the “stupid banner”. I’m ashamed of myself to admit that I had to read it twice to “get it”.

    Thanks for an interesting topic,

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    1. Thank you for your comment, Joy!

      Google doesn’t like cloaked links. So hopefully this is an acceptable use of cloaking?

      1) I haven’t seen any official statement from Google, have you? I doubt that it exists. Google has its own URL shortening program, so it’s very unlikely to run such a program and on the other hand to claim that such programs are bad and their usage should be punished.

      2) I get a decent amount of traffic from Google for important keywords. And I cloak some affiliate links.

      3) Google’s actions and penalties are related to user’s experience. Both Google and the bloggers/webmasters should care about the user. Now…

      There are two types of affiliate links:

      a) affiliate links that don’t reveal the original domain name of the seller (like ClickBank or ShareASale links)
      b) affiliate links that reveal the original domain name of the seller (in-house affiliate programs).

      Case a) – I always cloak this type of links. Even if I show the original affiliate link, the visitors still have no clue where they are redirected. Therefore my additional cloaking doesn’t change too much from user’s perspective.

      Case b) – I don’t cloak this type of links. I haven’t tested all ad blockers and all possible affiliate links of this type, but I tested some of them and my banners weren’t hidden. My assumption is that the ad blocker – the same like most of the readers – cannot detect the fact that it’s an affiliate link.


      P.S. I noticed that some of my affiliate links don’t comply with my sayings above. Nothing devilish here. I only forgot to cloak some links :)

      1. Hi Adrian,

        Thanks for your further explanation above. Yes, good point – I hadn’t thought of the distinction between the two type of links.

        Admittedly I haven’t seen an official statement from Google :-) Probably just the “fear and doom brigade”. I continued using my brand of cloaking because there was no intent to deceive, just to give a more readable link.

        Haha – I will admit to looking over my blog before commenting and blushing because not all links are cloaked with Pretty Link as I had said.

        Thanks for your time,

        Joy – Blogging After Dark

  2. Very good points about banners and banner blindness, Adrian. I especially don’t like flashing banners shouting at me…lol.

    Lots of useful information in your post about affiliate marketing generally.

    I find that reviews and information posts with a call to action button or text link works better for conversions.

    By the way, I signed up a few weeks ago to Get Response via your referral link after reading your GetResponse vs Aweber review comparison post. You are spot on in your observations about the similarities and differences between the two services and your post helped my decision to give GR a go. So far so good.


  3. Hi Adrian,,

    Blog monetizing isn’t so easy for all. You are right, people need to think about more interesting ads banners. The adblockers are killing it.

    I have talked to a few users and they prefer to have a website with the sidebar banners with proper design. Though the mobile users won’t like that but still, the idea of removing the sidebar is quite good.

    Thanks for sharing with us.
    Have a great day.

  4. Hi Adrian

    Though I am not into affiliate marketing, this is a valuable resource.

    I like your thoughts on why Affliate banners are not clicked . Thank you so much for sharing. Take Care

  5. Thank you for sharing these tips. It can help me get through my affiliate marketing business. Been running the sites for months but really nothing I get. Hope what I’ve understand on your post could help me.

  6. Hi Adrian,

    Wow! This is impressive. Ad blocker is seriously a harsh thing against bloggers. But there’s an alternative. With AdSense theme, you don’t need to bother about Ad blocker again.

    1. Hi Emenike,

      I have no idea what you understand by “AdSense theme.” Whether you refer to AdSense ads or to a theme that is AdSense ready, you should know that this type of ads are super easy to be detected and blocked by the ad blockers.

      The reason why it’s easy is that Google doesn’t allow you to modify the AdSense code in any way, therefore the code cannot be hidden and can be easily detected.

      For real solutions on how to fight the ad blockers, go back to the sub-headline 5 of my article.

      Oh, and never say again that a certain solution is definitive and the person who applies it won’t need to bother again about ad blockers. The ad blockers developers aren’t dead. They are updating their software continuously. So a solution that works today may not work tomorrow.

  7. Hey Adrian,

    You have mentioned some vital points, but from these all, only ad blocker is major issue for me, although I have shifted from using affiliate banners to affiliate links with attractive anchor text and it has been giving me good conversion.

    But certainly, these are valid points and your article will help many affiliate marketers.


  8. Hello Adrian,
    Nice pointers to keep in mind for affiliate marketing and also for anything we do for monetizing our blogs.
    I did start a new website where I am trying only affiliate marketing and I am sure all these tips will surely help me. Let me see how I can implement them and make it more resourceful.

  9. Hello,

    Well you are absolutely right about the mistakes in not getting a single affiliate sale. I’ve been in the same position of not getting any sales through any aff campaigns and I realize my mistakes now.


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