Making a CPM banner/campaign, the right way

by Bradley Wint on January 3rd 2011 at 12:13AM

Advertising on the web has always been one of the most difficult things to master, because the regular browser eventually tunes out advertisements, with some even using Ad blockers, mostly because ads have become rather annoying. The overall objective is to get a user to clickthrough to their website.

CPM (Cost Per Thousand) advertising has recently become quite a popular form of selling ad space, along with Cost Per Click (CPC) and monthly runs. However, CPC campaigns only work best in text form, which is why Adsense does so well in comparison to others. Visual ads are usually sold in CPM format, but many advertisers fail to realize the long run intention of these ads. Rather than trying to get customers to click through immediately, a CPM ad should be one that implants an image or message into the mind in an indirect manner.

Recently I saw a quote in a BMW campaign where they used visuals to imprint a BMW logo into people’s minds indirectly. It says “Tell me something and I will forget but show me something and I can remember”. The point of all this is that people easier remember visual content rather than hearing about it. Even though it does not apply directly, the point of visuals still relates appropriately. Here are some tips when it comes to designing a CPM advertisement.

Make it Eye Catching

The first thing you want to do is grab the reader’s attention. Create an ad that is different from the norm. If you are advertising a car, don’t do the norm and stick it in a garage, but maybe take a photo of its most appealing visual quality that best represents the car. Maybe you can include the car driving upside down, to highlight its superb downforce. Be creative and make sure the viewers look at the ad and go “wow”. At the same time, making an ad into a flashy, blinking billboard isn’t classy. Sure it will catch the user’s attention, but it will also possess irritating qualities, which is a big turn off.

Below you can see an ad that demonstrates the “attractiveness” of BMWs.

Make it Catchy or Informative

Once you lock in the customer, you must include a message that is either short and subtle to leave the user wondering what’s next or include some basic information that they can easily remember.

First of all, here is a message that delivers a message in a blunt manner, in a short and sweet phrase.

You don’t even need to click through to the website to get the message that hunting endangered wild life is immoral. With the use of the child in the tiger suit, it appeals to the viewer’s emotions and delivers an instant message. Mission achieved. A very interested viewer who may be interested in helping the cause would then click through, but for others who don’t want to view the site, they still get that emotional feeling of empathy.

The next ad is from Southwest Airlines. They try to convince users to sign up via text or the web to sign up for deal saving alerts.

It’s message is simple. Instead of searching the web, all you have to is sign up for their email alerts and receive deals via your inbox. To do this though, you’d need to clickthrough to their website to sign up. Rather than filling the ad with tons of text, it uses just a few lines to deliver a simple message. Users don’t necessarily like to spend time reading lots of stuff on ads, so you would need to make the key points and short and simple as possible.

Don’t be cheap

Planning to be cheap with a CPM campaign, then don’t bother at all running the ads. Users are not going to remember an ad the first or second time round, unless it is superbly creative and interesting. Even though you may thinking seeing an ad over and over is annoying, the constant exposure actually embeds the message or image into a viewer’s mind without them knowing. Let’s say you run an extensive campaign for men’s cologne, a user may not think of buying your product off the bat. However, in 6 months time when his cologne runs out and he wants to try something different, his mind may recall your advertisement. He may then think “Hmm, maybe I should give that cologne I saw online a shot…” Mission completed. Your frequent display of ads inadvertently created an impact in someone’s mind.

I’m a big fan of tech sites, and off the top of my head, I can remember a couple ads like Rackspace or Mail Chimp’s little square ads. That’s because of their huge presence across the net. Sure it’s expensive, but the fact that I remembered them means their intentions were achieved.

It should be noted that CPM campaigns shouldn’t be done in a mass junk but rather in a distributed format, so users don’t tune your ad out from excess exposure.

Spread your campaign

Rather than investing all your money in advertising on one site, spend it in distributed sums on a wider proportion of websites with a similar target market base. Rather than trying to market on one site, maybe consider using 10 sites to show your ads, since not everyone browses just one site.

Hope these little tips improve your campaign’s success rate.

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