Last week, a client asked me to pause their static image ads so that their animated flash ads could receive more impressions. They expected the animated ads to have a higher click-through rate than the static ads. I checked the data and informed them that the static ads were actually achieving a click-through rate four times higher than the animated ads. Could this be true? I theorized that because it was a remarketing campaign, the static ads were more effective since previous visitors would recognize the brand logo instantly, whereas the animated ads have a series of images that do not contain the brand logo at all. We all thought this was a good theory and moved on to more important things. Just kidding, I decided to pull some data and see if static ads really do have more cling.
I analyzed four advertisers, including Webtrends. Two of them are major brand name manufacturers, with product lines targeting both businesses and consumers. The other two advertisers sell enterprise-level software and services. I reviewed 12 months of data across hundreds of campaigns using site retargeting, search retargeting, keyword targeting, placement targeting, topic targeting and various demographic and geographic targeting. The four advertisers in this sample all used separate digital agencies to create their ads, and in each case the ads had eye catching imagery and utilized all of the basic best practices of ad design. The file types included .gif, .swf, .jpg and .png.
I started by checking the retargeted campaigns and, in every case, the animated ads had a lower click-through rate. So I moved on to analyze all of the display campaigns, assuming the animated ads would perform better with more traditional targeting methods. I was shocked to find that in almost every single campaign – which had significant data – across all four advertisers and every targeting method, the static ads prevailed over animated ads. Here are the overall results:
Of course click-through rate is not the only factor when analyzing the success of an ad. I also looked at conversion rate, and the findings were very similar. Static ads had a higher conversion rate in nearly every instance where there was enough data to draw a conclusion.
What are your findings? Do you think these advertisers are the exception? Could their business verticals be affecting the results? Should static and animated ads be placed in separate campaigns? Are animated ads only effective in premium placements? We’d love to hear your thoughts!