Is this girl Cute? -The New Low for Desparate Traffic and What works in Banner Ads

Guess the Advertiser?
Guess the Advertiser?

This ad has been making the rounds on Facebook for quite some days now. Take a guess on the advertiser.

Try another
Try another

It is not a porn chat site or an adult friendship site. It is India’s biggest matrimonial site, Shaadi.com. Shocked?

There is no doubt that such ads work. Not for the brand but for the campaign manager. It allows the incompetent campaign manager to show that i got you so many clicks for so little money. They get you the clicks but does it fulfill your real target? Does it get some one to register? These ads don’t work in short term or in long term. They only give an illusion of doing so. Most of the times brand managers do not track anything beyond Cost Per Click or total traffic. Those are very favorable but that was not the campaign’s real aim. Ever bothered to check the bounce rate or cost per registration for such traffic?

Already, Facebook as an advertising platform does not work for advertisers, as it is the costliest (compared to Google Adwords and few Indian ad networks). The reason why Facebook is chosen is because it’s the new in thing for the fat advertisers. By placing such banner ads they believe their brand is now into the new world of social media marketing. The truth is, such ads are not even close to social media marketing, only that they are on a social network. And by allowing such sleazy ads, with no information about the landing page, Facebook will only lose credibility as an advertising platform.

Startups, never do this. You don’t have a brand positioning yet and this is certainly not the way to build it.

If you think Shaadi.com is Playing Akele (pun intended), well here’s one from Bharat Matrimony.

Bharat Matrimony
Seen this girl before?

The basic problem with this ad is that BharatMatrimony does not allow free chat as mentioned. But a bigger problem is that this pic has made the rounds before on chain mails as an Infosys employee. I am sure many of you must have seen it (NSFW). So I doubt if it is licensed. Thankfully BM is a little better for users, with atleast disclosing the site in the ad copy.

Are there ads that work better than these? How do you really make banner ads that work?

Data suggests the following as best practices in banner ads:

1. Use contrast colored background and text. Red and white work best. Such ads get high attention independent of the product. Blue does not work as it gets camouflaged with most sites. (Not sure how high attention is defined or measured but makes sense.)
2. Use flash even if the whole ad is static.
3. More than 3 key frames in flash ads perform lower. The attention span is not so long.
4. Auto replay works better than no replay in flash.
5. Ads with more information about the advertiser have least bounce rate but the least CTR also.

Hope this is of some help and will keep you away from making such desperate attempts. They can afford to do so but not you.

Got more info on the kind of ads that work? Please share.

Note: The post is based on official ad performance data provided by a campaign manager.

[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He is the founder of FindYogi]

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