Emerging digital trends can be hard to keep up with. In an effort to provide relevant insights from the display advertising landscape, our new category tackles industry issues by providing expert opinions. This month, we talked to Robert Katai, Visual Marketer and Brand Evangelist at Bannersnack, a professional banner maker for marketers, designers and entrepreneurs. In this interview, he discusses the current state of digital advertising, as well as the biggest challenges for marketers today.
1. Tell us something more about yourself!
My name is Robert Katai and I am a Visual Marketer and Brand Evangelist at Bannersnack, a professional banner maker for marketers, designers and entrepreneurs. Also, I write on my personal blog about the marketing industry, social media and everything is related with visual marketing strategy and content.
I also love to travel and take photos with my smartphone (yep, I’m not a professional photographer) and upload them on my Instagram account.
But my biggest crush over any of my professional and personal projects is my wife.
2. What do you think of the current state of digital advertising?
It’s kind of interesting to look at the present state of digital advertising, because what we have today can change tomorrow. I try to look at this industry and think about it as an ongoing, reinventing project. Maybe tomorrow something bigger will come, or something big will crush, and I don’t want to have all my eggs in one basket.
But according to the latest research, we can see that on the U.S. market brands will spend more and more on banner ads than video ads. Display ad spending is considered to grow by 23% in 2016.
3. What are the biggest challenges for digital marketers today?
They need to stay with their head in the game and get their hands dirty.
Let me explain: to stay with your head in the game means that you need to understand not only what is the trend or what works today and tomorrow, but also to understand your clients’ needs, your clients’ clients needs (if you work in the B2B industry) and how your product/service can make a difference in this digital area.
And how you can understand what’s the game about if you don’t get your hand dirty. If you don’t experiment, test and fail. Yes, fail!
The today digital advertiser (and all the digital marketing experts) should own the fail. Not just read about it, not just listen to a podcast or go to a conference to hear some inspirational, motivation idea about “how to fail in digital advertising”. They need to own the failure!
4. What are the most prominent trends in banner advertising at the moment? What influence will they have on the industry in the future?
First, let’s make a simple description:
What is a banner ad today? It’s an actionable image that makes the user do something: click on it, complete it or just read it. I’m not talking about the banner ads that are only in the Google Display campaign or any other social network campaign. I’m talking about the images that have a clear purpose on the web (to make the user do something).
I think that everything we see today, even if we’re talking about Social Media ads (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest) or Google ads, native ads, we must admit it’s a banner ad. And if we go further in the Internet of Things, I believe that everything that will be around us and it will be on a screen will have in a way or another a banner ad. I know, it’s kind of creepy, but don’t be scary. They will not be the kind of banner ads you saw in this morning in your daily online reading. They will adapt to the times.
5. In your opinion, which key elements constitute a good banner ad?
If we look at the design part, a good banner ad should have the next elements: a good value proposition, a brand recognition, a simple and clear Call-To-Action, readable fonts and high-quality images.
But these are just the key elements to a good banner ad. And sometimes advertisers and designers are limited to those elements. At Bannersnack, we are working every day to create a tool and to educate our community to look in depth the banner ad, not only at the design part but also look behind the scene elements that they need to structure. We talk about how to define a good message before designing a banner ad, how to define the target or how to use some text tactics when you insert your message in a banner ad.
6. What can advertisers do to make ads work better?
I strongly believe that before designing a banner ad you should start with 2 major elements in your mind: the audience and ask yourself the question “Why am I doing it?”
Many advertisers are creating their banner ads for themselves, not for the audience. They want the logo bigger on it, they want the message to be very aggressive and they use what-ever image they found, just to upload it and wait for the miracle. But guess what, no miracles will happen. Why? Because nobody will look at it, nobody will click on it and nobody will engage with it – here are the facts why banner blindness is a common situation in many campaigns.
And other advertisers don’t know why they are doing banner ads. They don’t have a clear purpose in their mind. Because some banner ads can be just for brand awareness, other can be a promotional one or other banner ads can stand up for a bigger advertising campaign. So asking yourself “Why am I doing this?” is not a cliché question, but a very strong based one before starting to put the elements in the rectangle.
7. What is the most common mistake advertisers make when creating banner ads?
I just said it before – they don’t know why they are creating banner ads.
They don’t have a strongly based answer to this “Why” question. And how you get the right answer to this question? You should look at your data and also start to understand your audience.
8. Where are banner ads headed? Some predictions?
I’m not that kind of guy who makes predictions just because it’s cool. First I want to experiment, test, look at the results and see how this can work for the industry.
But I believe that banner ads now are having 2 important roads: the social banner ads (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and also Snapchat that is going more native) and the search display banner ads (Google). And these banner ads are getting smarter and smarter every day.
Think about this, in the future, you will buy a product directly from a banner ad. I believe that this will be possible if i look at what Pinterest has done with the “Buy button” function.
9. What’s your advice to marketers who want to succeed in display advertising?
I love how Rand Fishkin put it out the “T-shapped marketer” that we all need to think about it. And he is 100% right. We want to know so much in such wider areas that we sometimes forget to specialize in our own industry.
Now in display advertising is kind of the same, but marketers should figure it out on their behalf – why they want to succeed with display ads and why they are doing it.
So, to get to the conclusion I will say 3 things, even with the risk that I will repeat myself (for TLDR people):
Why do they want to do display advertising? – Think about the purpose of this online advertising strategy.
First comes the audience, then comes the brand – Before you design a banner ad, before you write down your message and see what will you want to advertise think about your audience. Will they want to see your banner ad? Will this banner ad be the bridge between their problem and your solution?
Invest in design. If you don’t have enough money to work with designers you can always work with professional online tools that help you design great banner ads that will convert.
We appreciate the insights from Robert Katai, Visual Marketer and Brand Evangelist at Bannersnack. Our sincerest thanks!