Why You May Not Want to Use Homepage Banners

Banners remain popular with some B2B companies, but many companies use them the wrong way. Properly designed banners can direct traffic to the most popular website products and features while increasing SEO rankings--especially when banner-promoted products are supported with high-quality images that are also optimized for SEO. However, homepage banners can also annoy many people-- especially if they look sloppy, flashy or unprofessional, and statistically only 1.2 banners are ever viewed, meaning really only the first banner is ever read. Banners and sliders are both referred to as "carousels." Essentially, rotating banners display a mix of products and promotional messages and images.

Should You Use Homepage Banners?

Some people question the benefits of banners, sliders and carousels because these features can detract from content. Rotating or flashing banners are just annoying to most people and often rarely viewed. Should you use homepage banners? The question is one that divides website owners. The decision rests with each company's decision-makers, and these experts can disagree. Presenting both sides of the issues should help B2B organizations make an informed decision.

The Benefits of Homepage Banners, Carousels and Sliders

Despite the negativity of some experts, banners can support sales conversions and bring attention to high-profit items of the company's brand. Many B2B companies have stakeholders who demand a representation on the home page--especially high-profile vendors selling products on a marketplace platform. Additionally, if you understand SEO well, you know that images are a great participant to help boost a page’s SEO. Having 3 or 4 extras optimized images can help with SEO, even if they are not all viewed by the visitors, because they are “viewed” by Google and the search indexers.

Each company has different goals for its sales platform. B2C companies that want quick sales daily will probably be better off without them unless they use a discreet banner that complements the brand. B2B companies, however, can use banners to brand a certain category of products, answer questions about the supply chain and provide other information that buyers want before committing to a large order. During an extended sales process, many buyers might eventually consult a banner, carousel or slider to get further information. Banners can be used to frequently display new looks, promotions, products and offers.

The Drawbacks of Carousel, Banners and Sliders

Craig Kistler founded the CRO company Strategy & Design Co. that tested sliders exhaustively. According to Kistler, homepage carousels were ineffective. Studying the results of 15 years of testing, Kistler concluded that customers usually ignored them and moved on to more substantial pages. Developers don't like them because they throw a monkey wrench into architectural structure and complicate responsive design. [1]

Carousels can tell attract attention to little-known products and services and tell a story. They can improve SEO, and many marketers swear by them. However, many experts claim banners, sliders and carousels are just a waste of space that generates only a 1-percent click-through rate or less, and most of those clicks come from the first product in the carousel. The best strategies for managing banners intelligently include:

  • Put the most important products first in the rotation of carousels.
  • Get a developer to optimize load times and make navigation as easy as possible.
  • Use high-quality content that's fully optimized for SEO.
  • Use soft fades for transitions while allowing enough time for slow readers to finish reading.
  • Consider giving navigation control to users.
  • Try to display all the banners in a single view so that customers can see if there's anything that interests them.
  • Short and compelling video clips are a different option that can attract more visitors--especially when high-quality videos that complement the brand are used.

Rotating banners can kill conversions instead of increasing conversion rates. The drawbacks include:

  • Slow page load speeds that cause people to move on to another area or another website
  • People that think rotating banners are ads and ignore them
  • Site visitors who often get annoyed while waiting to view all the banners
  • Continuous background motion that distracts the eye and detracts from other content

Choosing to Carousel or Not to Carousel

Opinions can be subjective, and there are just no conclusive studies that trace sales and conversions directly to banners, sliders and carousels. That could change as technology advances, but existing studies always seem to leave out critical information. Designed properly, banners can attract attention to products and satisfy stakeholders. However, it's important to understand that any area of a website should pass the 5-second test. B2B companies can use banners to publicize their main messages to site users quickly and concisely., which passes that test.

Companies always have the option of using an A/B test to measure results. Create a version of the page with a homepage banner and compare it to a page designed with the same information in a different format. This is the best way to make the right development decisions for any given company.

Development Options for Banners

Unfortunately, companies with banners have supporters and detractors. Many users do like banners--even if it's just 1 or 2 percent. These could be some of your best customers in B2B sales. It's important to find an experienced development team that's willing to work with you on banner design, analytics and A/B testing to get the most out of your banners. There are also other options that can deliver the same content in a different structure that doesn't annoy some site users. Regardless of your decision, you and your developer should focus on high-quality content and conversions and drop banners, sliders and carousels with too much animation and flash that distract from the homepage. If you’ve got questions about your site and want to speak with an expert, give Clarity a call for a free consultation.



[1] Orbitmedia.com: Do Rotating Sliders Help or Hurt Your Website?


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