Banner Ads Fight To The Death (Fight 1).
By on Mar 16, 2011

This post has taken me 27 hours to long to publish. Crashing servers, published posts self destructing, the works! I have hate. banner ad case study

Everyone loves a good fight, especially when death is involved.

So now I introduce you to a royal rumble of semi-epic/modest proportions. I’ve always wanted to run this case study, but haven’t because of brilliant excuses. However, this week I came across a post from Ben (POF) that made me say “hey why not?” like a Pakistani cricketer presented with a manila envelope.

*Warning* concentration needed for this next paragraph (no skim reading allowed).

The basics of it is testing small single ads vs. bigger sized ads with multiple small ads within them then taking it one step further and adding animation so you can multiply the amount of different ads within one ad. In the end trying to figure out which gives you the biggest bang for your buck.

Without further ado, I present to you the brave contestants:

1) Users see one ad. I created 4 versions of this standard ad size. Bidding at 0.60 cents.

plenty of fish 110x80 ad

2) Users see one ad. I created 4 versions of this 728×90 banner. Bidding at $1.20.

plenty of fish standard ad

3) Users see two ads. I created 2 versions of this 728×90 banner. Bidding at $1.20.

plenty of fish 728x90 ad 2

4) Users see 4 ads. I created 1 version of this 728×90 banner. Bidding at $1.20.

plenty of fish animated ad

This case study is not 100% full proof. There are a few things that could tip the scales, but I’m not bovered.

The offer/landing page I will be using is this piece of artwork:

dating landing page

So now I leave it to you.

Yes, you.

No, I’m not talking about my other readers. I’m talking straight to you.

Which ad do you think will draw the lowest cost per click? (based on click-through ratio and bid amounts)

Vote now:

Correct answers will win. Yay!

If you have some stunning logic behind your pick please comment below. I will post results later this week.

rebecca black cereal bowlA.D.H.D Summary: I’m split testing whether single ads vs multiple ads within a single ad. You need to vote in the poll above or you will die instantly (unless you read the post the cure is hidden within).

Comments (41)

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  1. Dukeo says:

    I'm voting for number 4 because when browsing, animated banners tend to attract my attention, and I'm just blind to static ones.

    Waiting for the results!

  2. Martin says:

    Quadruple ad, imagesrotating at different speeds. (left image changes, 2 seconds later, right image changes, etc.)
    just a thought

    • mrgreenam says:

      Haha yes yes there are a tonne more test to be done, agreed. I just wanted to go with the blindingly obvious ones to start with.

  3. DarkLink says:

    Great, Let's fight begin! )
    Can you tell what dating site you promote with this landing page? If it's not a secret :)
    p.s. I've voted for number 3.

  4. Harshad says:

    First, I thought it would be no. 4 but I voted for no.2. No.2 because it's something unusual and unusual things on the screen tend to grab attention.

  5. I favour ad # 4
    – Sharon

  6. I'm gonna go on a crazy limb and vote for the single banner ad. I tested the static double ad the other day (with piss poor results) granted that's probably, due to me choosing the wrong images, targeting, or my masterfully written ad copy just didn't bring home the bacon.

    My only logic for the single banner winning is that the ad will be isolated and centered possibly drawing more attention to itself and not being lost in a sea of 2 other ads to the user.

    should be a good study.

  7. Jonathan Volk says:

    I'm guessing banner 2.

  8. John Ward says:

    I'm guess the last picture about cereal will have the highest CTR.

  9. Ad 1 should have lowest CPC. Having two virtually identical ads next to each other means they compete with each other for the same audience.

  10. Artur says:

    No. 2. White space usually gets my attention and this ad has the potential to crowd out other ads and pull the eye in because of the size and the white space the size affords.

  11. pofben says:

    Brilliant, BRILLIANT case study. I'm a huge fan of option #2 because it's the only format I didn't think to use ;)

  12. Mr. Green, wondering why didn’t you change the ad text on the 2nd image for banners 3 & 4. My thought on Ben’s tip was that each of the ads would have different copy and images that would appeal to different kinds of people. eg having one ad focusing on the pleasure principle while the other one makes use of the pain principle.

    • mrgreenam says:

      It is definitely something worth testing.

      But since I wanted to limit the amount of variations I stuck with one ad copy. So I went with the basics, and followed what Ben said "I don’t recommend swapping out text because it does take longer to read than it does to look at a picture. "

  13. Josh Todd says:

    I'm going to say #2. White space surrounding the ad FTW.

  14. Josh Todd says:

    P.S. I had to google "Pakistani Cricketer". Hadn't heard that story…

  15. Hannah McIntyre says:

    I picked number three, on the basis that I think the two photos used there are the better ones, so halving their time on screen with worse photos would only lower the CTR/CVR.

  16. Kang says:

    I wasn’t going to vote but I didn’t want to die so I chose #4, which as suspected, was the most popular choice.

    Looking forward to the results.

    You inspired me to do some tests myself too!

  17. mrgreenam says:

    Haha it's a good sign you don't want to die. Over 60% of my readers do (what a depressing bunch).

    Feel free to pillage this post for your own tests, it's what it's here for.

  18. I'm going to say #4. Will see

  19. Colten K. says:

    I believe lowest CPC is gonna go to #1. Nothing beats the standard!

    Looking forward to the results! Great blog also Lorenzo.. I dig it.

  20. Carl says:

    I'm going with #3. Anxious to see what the results will be!

  21. Cash37 says:

    2 or 3, I think the animation is too confusing for someone actively browsing and they'll just ignore it because regular photos on POF dont animate

  22. Farmer says:

    Two! Nothing beats white space!

  23. dilip says:

    Hey aren't they Randy Orton and John Cena of WWE. Voted for no. 4 BTW. Large one counts ;-)

  24. Krupesh says:

    I voted #2 due to white space reasoning, but after reading Ben's post, I feel #4 will lower the CPC as your ad appeals to possibly 4 kinds of people (as opposed to 1) and CTR will be much better.

    BTW – the pof blog link appears to be incorrect. Must have been blog.ads.pof.com ?

  25. Stian says:

    I voted #2, as I think the whitespace around the ad makes it easy to spot and easy to read :)

  26. […] this is not American Idol (nor am I Ryan Seacrest). For those of you who don’t know what this banner ads case study is about please read […]

  27. […] this is not American Idol (nor am I Ryan Seacrest). For those of you who don’t know what this banner ads case study is about please read […]

  28. ynasir says:

    I choose ad #2, more focus..

  29. ynasir says:

    I choose ad #2, more focus

  30. abuanthar says:

    I have a feeling that ad #2 is gonna be much better than all the rest. It would probably have at least 0.4% CTR if I know POF users. Can't wait to see the results though :)

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