With dealership banner ads, the click isn’t everything


Banner ads get a bad wrap. Everyone judges their performance based on clicks – and while it’s great that we can know how many people clicked to a landing page – it’s definitely not the only way to judge the success of these programs.

It’s funny, really, because we don’t judge other marketing campaigns this way. Think about billboards, TV commercials, or radio ads. There’s no way to track direct traffic from those initiatives, but we get all worked up when clicks on a banner ad don’t seem to be high enough. It seems to be a universal misunderstanding that just because you can track something, doesn’t mean you should rely on those metrics as the only definition of success.

Banner ads, like all other outbound marketing campaigns – including emails, print mailers, billboards – offer so much more to marketers than just a simple click. They’re great ways to put your brand in front of a potential customer, offering exposure to a large audience – but banner ads take it one step further. Like all digital marketing campaigns, they also give you the ability to reach a more targeted consumers, track buyer behavior, and understand your campaigns’ performance better. So why is it they are considered lower performing than things like TV or radio that can’t tell you any of that?

It shouldn’t be that way – and here’s the thing – while clicks are nice, they aren’t everything. They only show you a single road of attribution, not the entire breadth of how buyers find you after seeing your ad – and with banner ads, it’s far more about the exposure.

To think about it another way – think about an ad you’ve seen run on TV recently. I bet it was pretty easy to call something to mind, right? Even though that advertiser has no proof that you remember the ad – you do. It caught your attention. Maybe you even told someone about the ad you saw. That advertiser has no direct way of knowing if that ad influenced your purchase behavior, but it absolutely raised your awareness of their brand. That’s an effective ad. So why should banner ads be treated any differently? Just because a consumer doesn’t click on it, doesn’t mean they won’t remember it or possibly act because of it.

To further prove this point, in a study run by data-giant ComScore, companies that ran banner advertisements saw…

… a 46% lift in website visits.

… that buyers who were exposed to the ad were 38% more likely to perform a branded keyword search.


… that buyers who saw the ad were 27% more likely to make an online purchase and 17% more likely to make an in-store purchase.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the click. We all like results – and when we can see evidence that a campaign’s working, it’s hard not to just focus on that. But, it’s evident how much more these ads can do for your business. These campaigns can expand your brand, position you as a relevant resource, and get your dealership recognition long beyond the buyer’s initial interaction with the ad on a site. And, because you can target them to a specific geographical region or audience, you know that only interested buyers are seeing what you have to offer, unlike on a TV or radio ad where you may have some idea of who’s listening based on the station’s demographics, but can’t truly confirm whether or not they have any interest in what you have to offer. The reality is, these buyers see your ad online – they most likely don’t click on it, but when it comes time for them to perform a Google search or type in a website URL, your brand is more likely to come to mind and they take action from there.

At the end of the day – the click isn’t absolutely everything. It’s great when it happens, but it really shouldn’t be how you judge the success of your banner ad campaigns.

Kensey Edwards is the content manager for Cycle Trader, an online marketplace connecting powersports buyers to sellers. In her role, Edwards focuses on consumer research and trends in the ever-changing digital landscape — and translates those insights into content and education to help dealers compete in the broader powersports industry.

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