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3 minutes read

Banner ads can be worthy Real Estate if we start using them as bite sized value bombs rather than megaphones that scream ‘buy this now’. 

When we think about content marketing, we know that its power stems from empathy to the audience and its engagement comes from usefulness.

We also don’t immediately associate content marketing living in banner ads. Why is that? Is it because we feel they’re too retail? Is it that the world perceives them the same as a cover page magazine design where we only have a few seconds to put forward our primary message?

  • What do specialists think about the importance of design in content marketing?

Interestingly, according to a new study from Microsoft Corp., people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the effects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain (as reported on

Hence the continual rise of content marketing, as an attempt to build more meaningful conversations, trust and attention. They include top tip blog posts, how-to videos, free ebooks and various forms of live broadcasting (such as webinars, periscope and facebook live).

What if we could build trust and attention at the speed of consuming a banner ad? 

Content marketing (if legitimately useful) is a smart and honest foundation in creating brand awareness, however it’s consumption usually requires the audience to surpass 2-3 hurdle triggers.

Using banner ads for content marketing is indeed a challenge but not impossible. If executed well, it can produce exceptional rewards.

[Tweet “Using banner ads for content marketing can produce exceptional rewards by @thegiantthinker”]

Here are four ideas:

1. Provide succinct instructions for something to try

This would work well as a practical exercise or technique.

Jamie Oliver is an example who does this really well. He often photographically shows an entire recipe with short captions that build from the initial ingredients right through to the finished dish in under 12-15 seconds.

2. Propose a question followed by a factual answer

This could take many contextual forms. It’s impact would rely heavily in posing a question that your target audience is already thinking about. A statistic or data driven answer to that question would then educate the viewer and ideally, intrigue them enough to know more.

One example would be for a time management app on frame one: “Where are 68% of adults spending their leisure time?” And the following frames can demonstrate the result.

A shocking truth would be effective in this instance.

3. Dilute it down to a frame per point

Take three key points or tips of a chapter in your ebook, article or webinar and dilute it down to a frame per point

Let’s say you were promoting a photography app, and had a ‘top 50 ways to capture professional photos using your mobile phone’ ebook.

You could choose three of those tips and highlight them over a few frames.

4. Use the banner ad as an extension of content with which it lives

Placing your banner ad in an environment of relevance is just as important (if not more) than the banner ad itself. Knowing this, we should take advantage of intentional placement.

Let’s say you’re marketing new footwear tracking technology that syncs with your devices. You could target the top fitness bloggers that compliment your brand and advertise on their posts that speak about fitness and nutrition, but lack content about measuring and tracking progress.

You are essentially filling a gap in their content that your product or service offers.


If the goal is to help people through our product or service, then we must reverse engineer the relationship required for them to be convinced enough for payment exchange.

Click-through rates and impressions are still indeed valid measures of tracking. It just so happens that historically

“average CTRs for online ads (particularly banner ads) are between 0.2% and 0.5%, meaning for every 1,000 times that the ad is shown, only 2-5 people are actually clicking on that ad. People have practically trained themselves to either ignore advertisements or avoid engagement or interaction with them, almost to the point of conditioning.” (according to

“Display ads last on average 1.6 seconds, consumers spend almost 345 times longer engaging with branded content.” (as stated on

We just need to use them as part of the long-term marketing strategy that specifically aims to build trust and credibility.

The aim shouldn’t be to collect impressions as a number to substantiate some form of success. But rather utilize impressions to create an impression.

In an attempt to direct potential customers in an area of familiarity with your brand. Over time, that will evolve to authenticity and eventually, if consistently useful, they will convert

Ram Castillo
Ram is an award winning Design Director, Blogger, top ranking Podcaster, Speaker and Author of the internationally acclaimed book ‘How to get a job as a designer, guaranteed’.

1 Comment

  1. Content marketing has become more difficult, especially because you have to deal with the fact that consumers’ attention spans are so short. However, if done correctly, you can leave a lasting impression that will last longer than that. Thank you for sharing.

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