RESEARCH from Bluesky Interactive suggests that website banners may be close to useless, with only 6 per cent of users clicking on them.
While it may be standard practice to have a series of offers and incentives on rotating banners on your homepage, Bluesky’s research suggests that they may be almost wholly ineffective as a marketing tool.
With data gathered in real-time from several dealer websites (single-franchise, multi-franchise and multi-location), the research found that on average only 6 per cent of homepage visitors would click on a banner.
Of these, nearly 50 per cent would click the first banner, with the number clicking tailing off as the user navigated through the site. Click-through rates were particularly bad on mobile, with only 25 per cent of all the clicks coming from a mobile device.
So, why don’t banners work? According to Lauren Cook, marketing & client relations manager at Bluesky Interactive: ‘We know from our experience of building dealer websites that banners rely heavily on coincidence. Dealers hope that the person visiting the website will be interested in that specific offer, despite all the other areas they might be there for.
‘In addition, banner blindness is a well-documented phenomenon – customers often won’t even notice the banners are there, no matter how big and bold they might be.’
After researching homepage banner performance, Bluesky extended its data gathering exercise to find out what areas homepage visitors were actually interested in.
The research showed that used cars dominated traffic, with more than 60 per cent of visitors choosing actions related to used car. After that, 10 per cent wanted to view new cars, more than 5 per cent were interested in the Find us and Contact Us pages, and 4 per cent clicked the offers section.
Cooke adds: ‘Dealers should remove the banners and instead focus content on making it as easy as possible for customers to find these sections. You can also consider brand-based visual content if you don’t want to lose the drama of big imagery – after all, your homepage does often make your first impression with a potential customers.
‘As for banners, we don’t think they’re necessarily dead – but if you want to use them, why not put them further into your website on relevant landing pages where the chance of them being suitable for the specific visitor will be far higher?’
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