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Making Your Ads More Clickable

February 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Ted Dhanik

Companies like Pringles, Red Bull and Volkswagon craft visually stunning banner advertising that help to sell more than products. These ads sell ideas, with well-crafted copy and eye-catching visuals. A good ad tells a story and involves the user in its concepts, but a good ad also conveys a point and knows when to let the story go in favor of the benefits. Only testing will determine which technique works best for you, but you can use some simple design tricks to make your ads more clickable.

Use Common Sizes

Beginning with the large rectangle size (336×280), the most successful ad sizes are the medium rectangle and leaderboard. The wide skyscraper rounds out the list, but whichever size you choose, you want your ad content above the fold. Think of “the fold” the way SEOs see page one on Google. You’re bidding on the chance that the user won’t scroll very far in the content, so the closer you are to the top, the better for your ad. Using common sizes helps ensure that you don’t have conflicts with the website that you’re trying to broadcast from.

Use Buttons

Buttons are one of the most effective parts of your display advertising. Buttons serve two purposes: something to draw the user’s focus, and something to call the user to action. Your entire banner is clickable, but that button helps center your user on the ad. Visually, the user looks at the focal point of your ad (usually the person or primary colors that are in the banner), then the eye is drawn to the next point of focus. That next point is almost always the button, with a call to action inside. Use colors that will attract the user, like greens, yellows, or oranges. Avoid reds and other colors that might detract. Of course, these rules will not work for every situation (Netflix employs red surprisingly well in their ads), but they do help as guidelines for the beginner.

Frame Your Ad

Knowing the common sizes for your ad allows you to frame them with a small border. Try not to conceive of the border in the literal sense of a frame outlining the ad, this is more like white space. This is a visual trick to help make your ad stand out. The advantage is that you create your own space for the ad, relying less on the margins defined by the webmaster. Try to leave about one to five pixels of whitespace around your image for the best effect.

Readable Text

In search advertising, you have the advantage of knowing how many characters you can fit into an ad, and the format never changes. A banner ad can fit the same amount of text without a problem, but the presentation is much more important. Cluttered text will throw off the user’s focus, and doesn’t serve your ad all that well to begin with. Bold the most important text, use divisions in the banner, and try to utilize colors and effects to make your text stand out. Clear, readable copy is just as important as the writing itself.

Bio: Ted Dhanik is a thought leader in the direct marketing space. As the co-founder and president of engage:BDR, Ted Dhanik has been helping businesses expand their customer base through optimized placements. Tips on how to succeed in direct marketing can be found by visiting Ted Dhanik online.

Behavioral Vs. Contextual Targeting

February 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Ted Dhanik.

The battle between contextual and behavioral targeting is just now coming to the forefront of display advertising. For a long time, advertisers utilized in-context links and ads to sell their products. Because of the nature of search, mainly that people tend to ask questions of search engines, contextual advertising was a reliable means for advertisers to draw upon text from the pages they were present on.

Google’s Impact

Google search ads were excellent tools for context, then organic optimization came around. This became a new twist on the idea of context, namely that you could use existing articles to try and sell your products. Google’s platform, and the size of its customer base, was a turning point for banner advertising.

Mobile Ads

The addition of mobile changed the playing field yet again, emphasizing the ability to target users by location. Aside from the changes to design that were ushered in by mobile, marketers started to toy with behavior. The theory suggested that users on smartphones were already in a position to buy if they just had the right information.

This is where behavior has become such a hot topic. Smartphones enabled marketers to experiment with new methods of tracking user behavior. Google’s Analytics program futher bolstered these efforts with the inclusion of event tracking. Soon, marketers could measure everything from a user’s location to whether they hit “play” on a video and how long they kept watching. The more marketers learn about the behavior of their audience, the better equipped they are to catch the user at a point in time where he is likely to buy.

Behavior Tracking

Behavior helps marketers adjust their efforts based on what a user does and has done. Now, a user searching for new shoes is shown ads based on what he has actually looked at. If he has placed shoes into a shopping cart, but not bought them, he may be shown a coupon for the purchase. This “next level” ad technology has helped marketers better connect with their audience by retargeting them.

Behavior tracking also helps marketers identify contrasting trends, like people who continually shop for one model of car and end up buying another. Behavioral targeting allows marketers to review this behavior and show effective ads to the end user based on what he actually wants.

Behavioral targeting has given way to the newest trend, retargeting. Through identification of users who have already seen an ad, marketers can further adjust their value propositions to try and sell again. These ads “follow” a user around the Web and serve relevant content based on past experience.

There is not one clear-cut winner in this skirmish. Most marketers will inevitably test both of these strategies in an attempt to improve conversion, but understanding which is likely to be more successful for your campaign is key.

Ted Dhanik is the co-founder and CEO of engage:BDR, an advertising network for direct marketing. Ted Dhanik has been a thought leader in the sales and direct marketing industries for over fifteen years. For more information, view Ted Dhanik online.

Using Software to Improve Attendance

January 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

 If you haven’t already checked, you might be amazed how much your company loses from people not showing up on time or staying as late as they should. Often it’s not a malicious thing or something people even do intentionally. They started out showing up on time, but as the years passed, that habit slowly eroded.

Make 2014 the year you bring that habit back in your staff. Punctuality may not seem like the most important thing when it comes to the bottom line, but the truth is it can have a huge effect on how your company performs.

Fortunately, 2014 is a great year to begin this goal as there are more options than ever before. In fact, if you have people who work for you from remote locations, there is technology that can easily track them now too. Thanks to online time clock options and online time tracking software, you can check up on anyone who works for you.

Software is especially handy as it can make reports or otherwise isolate all the people who were, say, late on a given day. You can easily search out patterns and stop bad habits while they’re early in development.

While you probably have many goals for your company in 2014, don’t forget how important attendance is. Thanks to all the soft and hardware tools, you can easily remind your staff now too.


Article submitted by Allied Time. They sell all the time keeping options a company needs to stay up and running including web based time clock options.

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