Now that you know what banner sizes you want to cover, it is important to know what mistakes to avoid while creating the banners for your affiliate program.
Apart from the lack of 88×31 buttons and seasonal banners (preferably dynamically renewing depending on what holiday is approaching), there are mistakes that I see being repeated by merchants across different verticals — mistakes that pertain to the very look of the affiliate banners. And the look can often cause a negative affect on the conversion (which is definitely not something that you want to happen).
Below you may find a list of the 10 mistakes one must avoid while creating affiliate banners. Some of the examples I’m using combine a number of mistakes, which you will be able to spot quite easily.
1. Poor Graphics
Many merchants use poor, pixelized graphic on their banners, and not necessarily because they do not have good graphics in their possession. Most of them are just not paying enough attention to the way the final saved version looks. This often results in an affiliate program having banners that affiliates do not want to use.
2. Unreadable Font
Make sure that the inscription (or even a part of the inscription) on your banner is not too small to read. Blurry, unreadable font is neither doing your brand any good, nor helping your conversion.
3. Phone Number
Yes, some merchants actually put a toll free phone number on their affiliate banners! If the word for the untrackable route the end user can take is a “leak”, this is an example of one super-leak. All the end user has to do is call the merchant directly, and the affiliate can forget about their commission.
4. URL on Banner
and 2 all of the above-quote banners
Some affiliates may consider a full URL mentioned on the banner to be a “leak” (as their website visitors may type in the URL directly into their address bar instead of clicking the affiliate link, and therefore the affiliate cookie would never be set). I recommend avoiding the usage of full URLs on affiliate banners. If it’s a part of your logo, use everything but the .com or the .net part on the banner.
5. Excessive Animation
Don’t these make your eyes hurt? I’ll tell you more — affiliates generally prefer banners with no animation at all. There is no need to make it flash or blink, and hurt the end user’s eyes, if you want to emphasize something or attract attention. Play with different fonts and different colors. You can attract attention in a much more effective way if your banners do not blink.
6. Missing Call to Action
These are excellent banners (apart from some blurriness on the bottom of the last one), but they have no call to action on them whatsoever. Believe it or not, but some end users will not think of clicking them unless you explicitly ask them to. “Shop now”, “Click here”, “Claim/Redeem now” (for coupons) and other calls to action are a must on all marketing banners, and affiliate ones are no exception.
7. Poor Contrast
This banner has the call to action, but the contrast between the writing and background is extremely poor. It makes the font very difficult to read.
8. Grammar Mistakes
It’s not a terrible one (no spaces before and after the dash, which should have been replaced by a period), but still — by all means, use good grammar on all affiliate banners.
9. No Line Around the Edge
Yes, a simple line around the edge of the above banner (as well as around some of the banners listed in points 2, 3, and 4 above) would have been of great improvement to its overall look (especially when used on affiliate websites with white background).
10. No Brand
This is a banner used by a chocolate merchant. Beautiful picture. But what about the brand? Same can be said about the banner used in #7 above. Do not leave your brand name out.
I hope you will find the above list of help, and if I haven’t mentioned some of the mistakes worth noting, please post them in the “comments” area below.