Improving conversion rates for in-house ads

10May11

These days, it seems like virtually all the large websites — including some of the most prominent online retailers — are allocating some of their on-screen real estate to advertising. And I’m not just talking about promoting their own products and services. Instead, these areas usually carry a rather random assortment of third-party ads, too.

However, once you start mixing ads for your own products with ads from unrelated third parties, conversion rates are likely to decline. Visitors will quickly come to associate those ad blocks with irrelevant spam, and will be more likely to ignore them during future visits.

Is there any way to encourage customers to pay more attention to the in-house ads that appear in mixed ad blocks? One fairly simple approach comes to mind. Just design the in-house ads so it’s immediately obvious that they represent your own products and services. Include a prominent logo, brand name, and color scheme that ties them into the rest of the site. And make sure that the in-house ads represent a large enough percentage of the total ad inventory, so that people don’t automatically tune out that entire area of the page.

Of course, it’s a lot easier to get visitors to pay attention to your message when you eliminate third-party ads and other distractions entirely. But if your business model dictates that these elements must be present, the approach I’ve outlined above should increase the percentage of visitors that pay attention to your in-house ads and take action, thus driving conversion rates higher.



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