It happened again.
It happens almost every time when we develop websites for banks and credit unions.
Maybe you can relate.
A financial institution we are currently working with to develop their website requested a scrolling homepage banner in a prototype meeting.
“No, that’s not a good idea,” I said. “In the words of Ted Arroway from the movie Contact, ‘Seems like an awful waste of space.’”
“Why?” they asked. “Everyone else’s website uses a scrolling homepage banner.”
“This is a symptom of R&D, also known as rip off and duplicate. If everyone jumped off a building, would you?”
I paused briefly, waiting for the client to respond as they sat confused trying to interpret my analogy and blunt objection to their request.
“It’s ok,” I said. “We know how you feel. At one point, we were jumping off buildings too as we used to use scrolling homepage banners before. Even on our own websites. But then through our ongoing research and exhaustive study of digital marketing best practices, we got smart, and stopped jumping off of buildings.”
There was another pause.
I continued, “And we want to help you do the same.”
As the meeting progressed, I played the role of a guide, patiently helping our client back away from this metaphorical ledge as I explained to them why scrolling homepage banners are an awful waste of space.
1. No One Is Clicking On Your Homepage Banners
To begin, it is important to understand the difference between broadcast marketing tactics and a digital marketing strategy.
This is because we find scrolling homepage banners are just another example of a broadcast marketing method that has infiltrated the digital marketing realm.
Let’s compare the scrolling homepage banners with an outdoor billboard.
The outdoor billboard is used to generate brand awareness, while the objective of a scrolling homepage banner is to generate clicks. Both the billboard and scrolling homepage banner, as currently used by many credit unions, sends one message to many people.
And because we can measure clicks, it is possible to measure the effectiveness of scrolling homepage banners.
Before developing a website, we use the Digital Marketing Blueprint to assess a bank or credit union’s digital marketing channels. This includes user testing, heatmaps and live screen recordings showing user engagement and clicks on their current website.
In the case of this client, we had already completed our assessment on their current website. During our website prototype meeting, we showed the client heatmaps of their homepage, which helped to visualize where website visitors clicked.
The client was surprised to find website visitors were not clicking or engaging with their scrolling homepage banner. This was further validated by watching screen recordings and listening to website visitor feedback as they interacted with the website to perform a set of tasks.
Finally, we shared with them the findings of a web usability study performed by Notre Dame University. It was found that just 1% of users interacted with any of the universities sliding homepage banners. And of that 1%, approximately 84-89% interacted with the first slide.
That means the first promo image in your sliding homepage banner is likely to have just a 0.84% click-through rate. And the click-through rates of the remaining promo images are likely to be evenly distributed with the remaining 0.16%.
So if your website’s scrolling homepage banners has five promo image slides, the average click through rate for slides 2, 3, 4 and 5 will be a pathetic 0.04%.
2. Your Scrolling Homepage Banners are Costing You at Least $6,000 a Year
In addition to how ineffective scrolling homepage banners are, it is also important to address how they are costing you money.
Let’s assume you have five promo images in your scrolling home page banner. And you update each one every month to keep things fresh with the most recent marketing promotions and offers.
Furthermore, let’s assume the cost to create each promo image is $100. This includes the cost of design and stock images, regardless of if this is done internally or through a third-party.
So over the course of a month, you spend around $500 on five scrolling homepage banners. And over the course of a year, the total comes to $6,000 on something that is rarely clicked.
I believe everything we do in marketing should provide a return on the dollars spent. Because this is how we help executives start to view marketing as an investment, rather than an expense.
Think about the opportunity costs sacrificed on the banners. I’m sure you can find more effective ways to spend your marketing budget.
3. Not Everyone Who Visits Your Website Needs [Promotion of the Month]
I strongly believe a vast majority of banks and credit unions do a poor job of positioning themselves in a digital economy. Almost everyone is telling the same story as they all promote their “great rates” and “amazing service.”
And this commoditization is evident, even in the scrolling homepage banners. While writing this article, I did a quick survey of local credit union websites. And my findings prove our belief that banks and credit unions need a new approach to telling digital stories that sell.
For a moment, consider who these ads are for.
The quick response would be for anyone who needs an auto loan. But think for a moment. What about members who already have an auto loan with your credit union? Why are are they being served an ad for a product they already have.
The more we serve ads to members who do not need the products that are being promoted, the more we train them to ignore our marketing messages in the future.
Instead of promoting redundant ads for products members already have and don’t need, consider recommending products that would be a good fit for them. The Digital Banking Disruption Study from Accenture found that 51% of consumers want their bank to proactively recommend products and services to them while 55% said this guidance would increase their loyalty.
How is this possible?
Banks and credit unions can serve contextual and personalized 1:1 ads using digital and transactional behavior in addition to implementing logic that can recommend the next best product for a member.
A study from Marketo found the use of firmographic and behavior data to deliver customized web and mobile experiences resulted in a 30% increase of conversion rates in addition to a 270% increase in content consumption.
These positive results far surpass the 1% click-through rate your current scrolling homepage banners provide.
It’s Time To Kill The Scrolling Homepage Banner on Your Website
As the website prototype meeting with my client ended, they thanked me for our insight and made the decision to not include a scrolling homepage banner on their new website.
Instead, they opted to go with a homepage banner that would deliver personalized 1:1 ads based upon a website visitor’s previous digital behavior. For example, when someone visited the mortgage section of their website, the next time they came back to the homepage, they would see a mortgage ad.
By killing your scrolling homepage banner, and replacing it with a single contextual and personalized 1:1 ad, you can continue your journey to build a website that sells.