Author: Dinetix | Reading time:

Most of the time the customer journey starts with an ad impression. That’s why you’ve got to make every impression count.

You might have a great creative designer and a copywriter who’s a wordsmith. You’re going to hit this campaign out of the park, right?

Well, not always.

In fact, a great many marketing campaigns are derailed by these five critical mistakes.

Want to improve your marketing efforts? If you can avoid these all-too-common mistakes in banner strategy, you’ll be on your way to improved CTR and more conversions.

Ready to get started? These are five banner strategy mistakes to avoid at all costs:

1. Running 1 or 2 Ad Sizes

I see this a lot. Brands think that they can just run a few ad sizes and call it a day. They create a 1 or 2 desktop versions - 300x250, 160x600, 728x90 and 468x60 – and a mobile version – 320x50 – and that’s it.

But if you do this, you’re starting at a disadvantage. Without the many different sizes and types of ads, you miss out on key opportunities. Say a smaller niche website uses less-popular sizes on their site, like 300x600 or 336x280.

If you don’t use those sizes, your ads won’t get placed. And, in a lot of cases, your more-thorough competitor’s ads will.

And that’s especially true about mobile. The world has gone mobile! If you don’t have a great mobile-friendly mix of advertisement sizes, you’re missing a massive opportunity! Start with interstitial ad sizes. These cover the entire browser display in mobile, and they’re typically320x480, 480x320, 728x1024, or 1024x728.

Those are huge sizes. Image what you could communicate to customers with an ad that size! They’re perfect for presales pages, or add a contract form for lead generation.

Ultimately, it’s best to create a diverse mix of ad sizes and then test all of them. Keep what works best.

How to Fix This Problem:

  • Tip 1: Check what ad sizes your network supports and determine which sizes receive 90% of traffic. Also, ask if there are more niche ad sizes that get huge traffic.
  • Tip 2: Go responsive! Google makes it easy to create responsive ads. You write a few variations of text, add an image and logo, and Google’s tech takes care of the rest, automatically adjusting your ad to fit the display size.
  • Tip 3: Track KPIs for each and every ad size. Find which sizes and placements are performing best and then optimize accordingly.

2. Running a Single Banner Design

Here’s an eyebrow-raiser that I see often: Brands spending thousands per month with only one banner creative. That’s it. Just a single ad in multiple sizes.

That’s a BIG problem.

When you run a single ad, you give away all the control. The design either works or it doesn’t. A better strategy: Testing several different creatives and then spending on your best 2-3 ads. Without split testing multiple designs, you’re just throwing a dart at the dartboard. It could work, or not.

How to Fix This Problem:

  • Tip 1: Save time by testing 3-5 300×250 ads. Then, discard the low performers and prepare winners for the full range of ad sizes.
  • Tip 2: If one creative is a clear winner, use the same template to create a different version. Test out small tweaks like button copy, button copy, CTA or headline.
  • Tip 3: In a lot of cases, about 20 ad placements will generate 70% of traffic. Review your placements with your designer. Come up with a design that matches the placement, write copy that matches the demographic of the website, and add a strong CTA.

3. Giving Your Ad Network Full Reign to Optimize for High CTR or Conversions

Giving Your Ad Network Full Reign to Optimize for High CTR or Conversions Would you let an algorithm write your ads for you? Of course not! If you find that your ad network is optimizing ads for CTR, turn that function off! The problem is that most ad networks start optimizing after maybe 20-30 impressions. Some of your ads with much fewer than 1.000 impressions will be dropped.

That just doesn’t make sense. You need substantial data to know which ads are working. Sometimes, it takes thousands of impressions before you can determine which ad is best.

Bottom line, if you’re hunting for quality leads, you should have full control of which ads are running.

What about networks that optimize for conversions?

Well, that depends on your goal. If you’re trying to sell a product or service, this can actually help. But if your goal is lead generation, it’s possible your campaign starts to go for cheaper conversions, which might or might not turn into quality leads. For example, say you’re running ads for a credit card or loans that get placed in a gaming app for kids. Those aren’t the kinds of leads you want; you’ll be wasting your call center’s time with terrible leads. The solution in this case: Don’t let your network optimize for conversions.

How to Fix This Problem:

  • Tip 1: Collect lots of conversion data. Rotate ads evenly and get some compelling stats before you choose which ads are best. Data-driven decision making can supercharge your campaigns.


4. Optimizing for Lead Conversion, without Considering Customer Acquisition

Lead conversion doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, most networks have their own method of calculating lead conversion. This number could mean a lot of new acquisitions on Network 1, or just OK acquisition on Network 2.

Analyzing customer acquisition data will help you determine where to invest your marketing dollars.

But the game doesn’t end there.

You can go even more granular. Tracking technology is so advanced nowadays, you can actually determine which messages drive the highest Customer Lifetime Value. Just take your advertising data and cross-reference it with personal data. And voila! This can help you better optimize campaigns.

The data you want to track includes:

  • Source – Where you buy media (Google, Facebook, Bing, Yahoo, Direct Media, etc.)
  • Placement – Type of media (Search, banner, social, native, etc.)
  • Term – What keywords you’re optimizing for (Credit card application, best credit cards, etc.)
  • Content – The version of your ad (Creative-VO1, creative-V02, creative-VO3, etc.)
  • Campaign – Name of the promotion with dates (YYYYMMDD-YYYYMMDD-campaign-name)


With this valuable data, you can see exactly which channel gave you the best acquisition rates. Use that to plan and optimize your future campaigns.

How to Fix This Problem:

  • Tip 1: Determine what data you want to collect, and ensure that your entire team knows about it. And organize your database!
  • Tip 2: Add your own parameters! Every network had its own parameters like placement ID, publisher ID, campaign ID, etc. Pick which ones work best for you and push them to your database.

5. Abandoning Text Display Ads

Abandoning Text Display Ads Banner ads are certainly more “impressive” than text ads. (Catch the pun there!) But you can get great value from text ads. They typically run in the same space as banners, and the clicks are cheaper if the CTR is high.

Use that to your advantage. Test text ads against banners. You could see that conversion stays the same, but your CPC goes down.

How to Fix This Problem:

  • Tip 1: Use text ads to test messaging. You don’t need a designer, and you can do it in-house. Write 10-20 copy variations, and test for headline, description line, CTA… Just be sure to rotate them evenly!
  • Tip 2: In Google Ads, don’t just copy your search ads and plug them into a display campaign. You don’t have to follow the “keyword to ad relevance” as strictly. Test lots of different ad messages.

One More Secret Credit Card Lead Generation Tip

Hey, there is something else! There is another effective credit card lead generation tip. And it’s something we haven’t published anywhere else.

This one secret tip is very powerful. Why? Because you can implement it right now and see more credit card leads by tomorrow.

We haven’t shared this with the public. We're making it exclusive to credit card issuers who want to squeeze as many leads out of their PPC campaigns.

What is it? It’s a great advanced remarketing tactic and that will turn people who viewed your application page and left, into customers.

Even though we're not sharing this publicly and never will, Iwe’d still like to give you a chance to get these tips, and most importantly – to implement them as soon as possible.

Want to amplify your lead-generation game? Contact us!