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
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
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 datafeedr.com” 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!
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.