• 07.10.13

Think Differently About Banner Ads In Your App: No One Clicks ‘Em

Dropping banner ads into your app seems like an easy way to make money. Except it’s probably unlikely that users will click them.

Think Differently About Banner Ads In Your App: No One Clicks ‘Em

Sticking a banner ad or a display ad into your website or your app is now boilerplate procedure for raising money from the general public. It’s easy, and quick–so easy that many an Android developer makes their app available for free on the grounds that they’ll make a small return on the embedded ad system. But here’s the thing: A recent survey examining the statistics of ad interactions suggests that the average consumer is more likely to live in a household with an annual income of over $2 million than they are likely to click on a banner ad.


HubSpot’s recent survey revealed that the average click-through rate of display ads is just 0.1%. In raw numbers, the company estimates that you’re “more likely to complete Navy SEAL training than click on a banner ad” or “more likely to survive a plane crash” than do so. This week’s highly survivable plane crash tragedy in San Francisco may shine a different light on that comparison, but think about the issue from a personal viewpoint: How many plane crashes have you survived?

Website added some more comparisons to drive home how unlikely clicking an ad can be: You’re more likely to be accepted into both Harvard and Stanford than click a banner ad. It’s also more likely that two brown-eyed parents will have a baby with blue eyes than it is likely you will click on an ad.

The practical interpretation of this is that if you’re thinking of slapping an ad into your website or app to raise cash, then don’t just take the simple route. Stats show that the larger rectangle ad formats (over 336 by 280 pixels) have a higher click rate of 0.33% versus the normal 0.1%. Rich media in ads has also been shown to improve engagement, which is the thinking behind Apple’s iAds.

But since as a developer you’re more in control of where third-party ads sit rather than exactly what content they serve up, the lessons may be to choose sizing and positioning wisely. Don’t inundate the user with banner ads either–ad fatigue means users may dislike seeing multiple ads instead of one or two meaningful ones.

Think differently about your other monetizing plans too: A “pay to remove ads” option isn’t necessarily going to entice a customer to do so if they’re already adept at ignoring adverts in the first place. And take advice from Instagram’s Kevin Systrom who decided that during monetization plans for his app “The last thing we want is to plop in banner ads.”

[Image: Flickr user Kamal Hamid]

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