A Banner Ad is simply a special sort of hypertext link. A bit of HTML code instructs a Web server to bring up a particular Web page when a user clicks on a certain piece of text. Banner ads are essentially the same thing, except that instead of text, the link is displayed as a box containing graphics (usually with textual elements) and sometimes animation.
Because of its graphic element, a banner ad is somewhat similar to a traditional ad you would see in a printed publication such as a newspaper or magazine, but it has the added ability to bring a potential customer directly to the advertiser’s Web site. This is something like touching a printed ad and being immediately teleported to the advertiser’s store! A banner ad also differs from a print ad in its dynamic capability. It stays in one place on a page, like a magazine ad, but it can present multiple images, include animation and change appearance in a number of other ways.
There are several ways a banner ad can be successful. Consequently, there are several ways advertisers’ measure banner ad success. Advertisers look at:
Clicks/Click-through: The number of visitors who click on the banner ad linking to the advertiser’s Web site. Publisher sites often sell banner ad space on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis.
Page views: Also called page impressions, this is the number of times a particular Web page has been requested from the server. Advertisers are interested in page views because they indicate the number of visitors who could have seen the banner ad. Although they don’t measure the effectiveness of a branding campaign, they do measure how many visitors were exposed to it. The most common way to sell banner ad space is cost per thousand impressions or CPM (In roman numerals, M equals a thousand).
Click-through rate (CTR): This describes the ratio of page views to clicks. It is expressed as the percentage of total visitors to a particular page who actually clicked on the banner ad. The typical click-through-rate is something under 1 percent, and click-through rates significantly higher than that are very rare.
Cost per sale: This is the measure of how much advertising money is spent on making one sale. Advertisers use different means to calculate this, depending on the ad and the product or service. Many advertisers keep track of visitor activity using Internet cookies. This technology allows the site to combine shopping history with information about how the visitor originally came to the site.