My ability to understand and appreciate banner ads has become skewed. All over the web live these somewhat creative ads telling me something about a brand. It could be a new product that's somehow light years better than the last one. It could be a promotion for me to win something like an iPod (ooooh!). But are people clicking? Well, analytics tells us yes! .5 percent of people that come to a site are clicking banners. At least that is what is considered successful. Apparently there are banners that do worse. Let's go back to the .5 percent. That's half of one percent. Half of one percent out of 100 percent. Let that sink in... That clicking noise is me slamming my head against my keyboard. Seriously the only time .5 percent should be considered good is when we are talking about chances a asteroid will hit Earth or odds of getting attacked by a shark. Not when talking about how many people click something I designed to sell a product.

So what do people click on? What gets better than .5? Then it hit me... Dumb shit. People click on the most ridiculous, random, sometimes raunchy material. It's rarely an ad for Kleenex telling me they created a new even "softer tissue". Although, I would be curious if there is anything softer than the Kleenex Ultra Soft, as I would sleep in a blanket of those.

I'm a consumer. So, what would I click on? Recently, a picture of a dog that looks like Chewbacca (left). And a Craigslist post about a guy looking for a girl he saw on the subway that morning. Maybe it's another damn OK GO music video. Whatever it is I'm clicking the hell out of it. In fact I stopped working on the banner ad that nobody clicks on to click on something that isn't even relevant to...well, anything.

I never really thought to write this thought down until my friend @artisticseed sent me an e-newsletter of her agency. The newsletter is clean and not content heavy and lists the standard fair of news updates including "Check out our new TV spot" and "Check out our blog" links. But at the bottom was this amazing gem (below).

This brilliant photo of an employee and two dogs with thought bubbles is awesome. The Caption asks users to post on Facebook what the animals are thinking. I think...to myself "who has time for this". Then I click and post something inappropriate and only funny to two people (one being my mom). Damn you random photo of a cute girl and two unproportionately sized dogs! You got me this time. And probably the next.

Come to find out later that the photo above lead to the highest click-through rates they ever had on their newsletter. Thought bubbles for the win!

This by no means banner ads aren't successful in terms of value. Out of that .5 only so many need to lead to purchase to be worth while. But I think we can all learn to speak to our audience in a better way at times.

Now the question is can I convince clients to do away with banner ads in lieu of dogs with thought bubbles? I'll get back to you. Until then I think there is some new product that has a feature that is amazing and needs some banner designs! Look for the ad on your favorite blog and click on it please. I need to get to my .5 percent. Thanks.

Drew

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