I Spent Millions Using Microsoft Paint

A lot of banners you see online look very attractive. Most of them are all polished up and pretty, smooth animation and crisp clean images.  But, guess what? A lot of these ads suck for direct response!

If you’re a brand you want the branding that comes with a great image so you pay your agency a pretty penny and out pops a nice creative. These creative are good for the brand and makes them sleep well at night, but for the consumer, most of them are ignored. Banner blindness is a documented phenomenon, so I want to give out a couple tricks to get around it.

Before I started WhatRunsWhere, I was a fairly successful affiliate, and made most of my money buying media. Here’s something not everyone knows though, I made most of my banners in paint. These were banners that I bought millions in media for, and they worked. Know why? Ugly works! period.

Ugly banners break the norm, as a consumer we’re so used to seeing pretty banners and as a result, banner blindness. An ugly banner sticks out, grabs attention and as a result drives a much better direct response click through rate (CTR) and as a result you’ll drive more traffic and increase sales!

I would literally go into paint, use the text tool as well as some I images sourced, and bam a banner would pop out. It’s crazy, because we tested these pretty banners as well, the ugly outperformed. I’m not saying that all your banners need to be ugly but it’s definitely worth testing.

One more very important tip is KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid! If your ad tries to do too much it will lose its appeal and the consumer glosses over it. Figure out the key point of what you want to say and say it in a qualifying way (so that the right people come to your offer), but in a simple way.

Hopefully these two tips gave you some things to think about and test. I hope your banners are ugly and your campaigns profitable.