Five Proven Banner Advertising Techniques in Media Buying

After much thinking, I’ve decided to share some of the banner arbitrage techniques that allowed me to create some of the most successful performance based banner campaigns ever. For almost 60 weeks I had the same banners up on advertising networks, day after day making ridiculous amounts of money. During that period I bought probably over $24 million in banner campaigns in almost every single advertising network that exists with in many cases profit margin of anywhere between 40-50%. These campaigns consistently worked over and over again, while brand campaigns consistently cost me money when agencies didn’t pay their bills, paid late or underpaid. Here are how they worked, and how I believe they can continue to make anyone money for anyone involved in media buying.

1) Use as many creative versions possible.
Talking with many of the arbitragers out there, they tell me the same thing: they do really well at first and their profit margins drop extremely fast because their creative gets stale. Since they have found a working creative, they keep on using it over and over again, even after people steal it. This method of using the same exact creative causes faster and faster burn out and lowers your profit margin. Have many, many options, some of them with just slight changes. Move a graphic over, change the text color, use different photos.

2) Do heavy optimization based on numerous factors.
Each set of creative should be duplicated to optimize based on a variety of factors and be keyed to those factors. Of course you should optimize based on ROI, but you need also to target the banners to other things including geo-targeting, time of day, age groups and so on. The reasoning is that different people will be attracted to completely different creatives. If you are buying enough media, the ad networks will not charge you any more to do those targets than buying a general campaign that is RON, so this makes more sense and produces higher profits. Take a group of 100 creatives and set it to optimize for example only to people in NYC and you’ll find very fast which creatives have great response only to that region. Again, this technique produces higher profit because you are only serving to specific people, instead of just specific sites (which is the normal optimization procedure).

3) Do not be tempted to trade volume for profit.
Too many affiliates get greedy and want to make quick cash now, so they over-buy and lower their profit margins way too fast. Right now when I look over advertising networks, one thing I see is way too many campaigns that catch fire and a month later burn out. Networks that are experts at this game know that long term money is always a better friend.

4) Use “Video” Flash.
This is probably one of my most successful techniques and networks always asked me how I could afford to put video in my campaigns and pay the streaming charges. It was simple, I never actually used video but had very small clips compressed and actually placed into the flash file and repeated over and over again. For example, I would create a dating banner with a girl dancing in front of the camera, but it was only a few second clip repeated. You are looking for immediate reaction in a DR/Affiliate campaign, don’t forget. The user will see something and respond, so it doesn’t matter if it’s a real video, the perception that it’s a video is all that matters.

5) Change up the campaign/landing page you are sending the banner with unbranded creatives.
Some campaigns may not like this, but try to get permission from networks to not use their branded creatives and change where the banners are clicking to. The first reason behind this is that you will be able to find which campaign has a higher ROI and also as mentioned in #2 optimize even based on that. The other reason is to alleviate your risk. Many years ago I had a campaign with eAdvertising for a dating site that month after month they paid me on time, the dating client had no problem with the traffic and suddenly I was stiffed for almost $200k because the client said the leads weren’t converting. We all know the issues. Luckily for me I was running that same campaign to the same advertiser on 4 other networks.

Remember, the idea in all the campaigns is to have as many people click on the banners as possible, get as many people to the landing pages of your advertisers. There are so many articles on landing pages optimization, so much on different tools to use but the easiest way to still make money is to get tons of people using these techniques to click on a banner, go to a website, fill out an offer, sign up for a product

This guest post was written by Pace Lattin, who has been working in the Interactive Advertising Industry for almost 15 years, having been involved with founding Winstar Interactive (fka Cybereps) to creating the publication

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  1. good post Pace. I think banner advertising is important as blogs use banner advertising as an income stream most of the time. You have to make the most out of it
    My recent post Interview With Yaro Starak – The Australian Blogging Superstar

      1. Zac,

        Are you saying that the 125×125 is not as effective anymore? (Or just pointing out the change in standard?)
        My recent post Day 32

        1. Not at all. 125x125s are very effective. It's just amazing to see how blogging has made 125×125 so a dominant banner. Thinking back before blogs and side menu bars, we didn't see to many 125×125 banners on many web sites.

          1. Thanks 🙂

            I still havn't monetized my blog (I'm still trying to build up traffic levels). Do you suggest monetizing AFTER I have built up my traffic?

            Or just monetizing from day 1? (sorry a little off-topic now!)
            My recent post Day 32

        2. I am of the opinion that larger ads do not reflect better response in the performance marketing world. That if people are interested in a product they will click regardless. Look at google and facebook ads for example.

  2. Hey great article, great help and pretty well written. You should really check up on getting a custom gateway design for your widgets. It could really push you some extra info….i absolutely love your unique blog, i would be very honored if you would want me to post a bloomy review about this blog, Thank you very much and of course I would like that, feel free.


    CPA Advertising

  3. Some very important information here Anil, thanks for sharing. I agree that every up and coming blog should add an advertise here section ( something I often myself overlook ) it can create some good revenue for your site.

    Alex J

    CEO & Founder

  4. "During that period I bought probably over $24 million in banner campaigns in almost every single advertising network that exists with in many cases profit margin of anywhere between 40-50%. "

    – Not a bad business!!! to be in!

    "2) Do heavy optimization based on numerous factors."

    – Can you share what kind of software/ad server you are using to optimize your campaigns? Would be very interested to know how you are doing this.
    My recent post Day 32

    1. Most major ad server platforms have an optimization system. If the network doesn't give you a login, you need to work with your representative to optimize based on your needs. Everything from RightMedia to Zedo.

  5. Because of reading your blog, I unquestioned to correspond with my own. I had never been interested in keeping a blog until I saw how beneficial yours was, then I was inspired!

  6. Great post man.
    I especially like your video technique.
    I’ve seen advertisements use that style before and it’s a really creative one.
    If edited right, you can have a smooth transition between the repeating of clips to make it look like a fluent clip.

  7. Don't disagree with your article. In my view at least, a marketing campaign needs to think about: (a) targeting the banner placement – think about the audience on the website; (b) if you're buying banner impressions blind – i.e. you don't know what websites traffic is coming from then making sure you're not being conned by rogue traffic sellers – e.g. sending you fraudulent traffic. You can check fraud traffic in your raw log data or by using various products such as trafficcake; and (c) think about your landing page – give your traffic (hopefully good, targeted and genuine traffic) the best chance of converting with a well thought out and optimised landing page!

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