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7 Usability Tweaks to Increase Your Ad Conversions

Research by Eisenberg Holdings show that for every $92 businesses spend on attracting customers, a meager $1 is spent on converting them. Research also shows that ad blocking is increasing by around 41 percent annually and that 54 percent of users don’t click banner ads because they don’t trust them.

This explains why many businesses struggle with profitability. Their conversion optimization is broken.

If your business relies heavily on ads, you’d definitely want to work on improving your conversions. Ample research shows that people are increasingly deciding to stop seeing ads, so the key to making ads work for you is boosting conversions from the remaining few that opt to see them.

The following seven usability tweaks will help you boost ad conversions.

1. Understand The Paradox of Choice

In his book The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, Barry Schwartz made the case for giving people fewer choices since it leads to better conversions and more satisfaction. One of the studies he referenced is the popular “Jam Study” by Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper.

In the jam study, Iyengar and Lepper observed the activity of over 700 shoppers in an upscale supermarket; the shoppers were split into two groups. A group was presented with 6 choices while the other group was presented with 24 choices; it was observed that the group that was presented with just 6 choices converted 10 times more than the group that was presented with 24 choices. This study, and others came to the conclusion that more choice isn’t always better.

This same principle can be used in your advertising; if you want better click-through rates and increased conversions, make sure your ads have only one clear goal. For your site, also limit the total number of ads displayed; featuring fewer ads will always result in more conversions for you.

2. Know that Text Heavy Banners Will Give You an Edge

We’re all familiar with those ads that feature semi-nude photos of hot models in an attempt to drive maximum clickthroughs. If people keep using them, they must be effective right? Well, not really. Besides the fact that clicks generated from these types of ads are of poor quality since the motivation of the visitor isn’t usually based on what is being offered, research has shown that they also generally get fewer click throughs than the right kind of ads.

According to research from Launchbit, banner ads that are text-heavy generally get more clicks than banner ads that are only filled with graphics and colors; the key to success, however, is to ensure that your text communicates exactly what users will be getting by clicking your ads.

Besides the fact that text-heavy banners get more clicks, they are also going to result in more conversions since users already have a clear idea of what they will be getting right from the get-go.

3. Use Colors, and Be Consistent

One of the most effective things you’ll do to boost conversion of your ads is the effective use of color. To many, it doesn’t matter whether your ad is colored or whether it’s black and white, but research shows otherwise. According to data from Brush Strokes, color ads are read 42 percent more frequently than the same ads in black and white. It also revealed that color increases brand recognition by 80 percent.

The importance of good usage of color in advertising cannot be overstated. Here are some tips for you:

  • Always use color in your ads; avoid black and white ads.
  • Ensure your ads are consistent with your brand; ultimately, you want people to be able to create a connection between your ads and your brand.
  • Understand the color your target audience responds best to; men prefer bold colors while women prefer softer colors. Let your target audience influence the colors you will be using in an ad.

4. Make Good Use of Fonts

Naturally, since it’s been observed that text-heavy fonts get better click-through rates, many banner designers assume that it’s okay to use a smaller font in order to be able to accommodate more text in an ad. Unfortunately, this won’t work. It’s been observed that 16 pixels is the best font size for the web. Anything less than this and you’ll have people struggling to read the text of your ads.

Make your fonts big enough. Here are some reasons:

  • 9 percent of people are visually impaired and can’t properly see things without using lenses; using a bigger font ensures everybody can see your message.
  • At age 40, many people can only see half the light they saw at age 20; this makes it difficult to read text with smaller font without having to strain their eyes.
  • The recommended distance between people and computer screens, and that most people embrace, is around 28 inches. With such distance, it becomes more difficult to read a smaller font.

It is important to note that your ad is useless if it can’t be understood; using clear and big fonts make it easy to read and understand the message of your ad, resulting in better click-through rates.

5. Tweak Your Headline/Copy for More Specificity

A very effective way to boost click-throughs and conversions to your ad is by communicating to your users’ end goals both in the headline and in the copy. Besides the fact that such a simple change saves their time by letting them know if your offer is the right fit for them, research shows that it can boost conversions by up to 30 percent. In an experiment, Jonathan Dane tested the question-related headline “Need to Sell Your Car?” against the end goal-oriented headline “We’ll Buy Your Car Today.” He found that simply changing the copy of his ad to something more focused on the end goal of his target audience boosted conversions by 30 percent.

Your target users have a need; effectively speaking to that need will save them time going through resources they do not need. It will also boost your conversions since you’re attracting people who understand and actually care about your offer.

6. Use Responsive Ads

It is important to realize that there are now more mobile internet users than desktop internet users and that we generally spend a lot more time on our mobile devices than on our desktop computers. This is a very important factor to consider with ads on your site.

If a visitor visits your site, does the ad become big and ugly, taking up valuable real estate on their screen, or does it adjust itself accordingly? Besides the fact that an ad that adjusts itself accordingly creates a better user experience, it will also result in increased conversions for you.

7. Use a Clearly Visible Call to Action

Exactly what do you want people to do after seeing your ad? Make it clear. With interactive ads increasingly gaining prominence, it is not enough to simply assume that people know what to do with your ads. You have to specify it. Research shows that having a clear Call to Action can improve conversions by up to 33 percent.


Ads aren’t as effective as they used to be, but smart marketers aren’t affected. By mastering the art of effective ad optimization, based on the above usability tips, you can be assured of a guaranteed increase in ad conversion on your site.

This is a guest contribution by John Stevens, a sales and marketing consultant, WordPress expert and the founder of Hosting Facts. He’s passionate about providing factual, unbiased reviews about the best web hosts on his site.

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