CYBERCRITIQUE: Warning: Trick banners an error in banner design

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A long-time CyberCritique reader (first time letter-writer) wrote: "The banner from Uproar couldn't have been that bad, they got you to click on it and then review it! P.S. -- the `error message' ad banners are still out there because as traffic-generating creative, they produce the best results on some sites."

We love reader feedback, so we thought we'd expand upon a few points from last week's installment.

Regarding the Uproar "click on this banner to make it go away" ad: Yes, we clicked on it. Our point is . . . so what? To say that a click-through is the be-all-end-all metric for success is short-sighted.

In the banner-space both the Uproar and the "error" banners fail to deliver any sort of message.

Tricking the consumer is amateurish -- not a sign of a well-planned advertising strategy.

As far as "error message" banners go, Software for one consistently blankets the Internet with them and is among the top impression-getting companies, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. This in itself is not a necessarily a bad plan. If a marketer is looking to get its name out, plastering it on every Web site imaginable (instead of targeting its potential audience) can be a good way to do that. But by running these gimmicky banners, it is blowing that chance to get its identity, logo, etc. in front of 7% to 9% of Internet households every week.

The Bonzi click-through doesn't lead directly to product information either; it leads to a quasi-portal powered by NBCi, further distracting people who are looking for the company's pitch. Folks not making use of the banner aren't necessarily making up for it on the other end.

With click-through ratings as low as they tend to be, why waste marketing dollars on meaningless banners? Branding is branding, no matter what medium you're working in. Use every chance you get to to deliver your message.

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