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Digital Marketing for Engineers Blog

Do banner ads fit into your engineering marketing campaigns?

Posted by John Hayes

Nov 19, 2015 9:39:32 AM

Banner advertising for engineers

Coca-Cola isn’t everyone’s favorite soda.  Lululemon yoga pants won’t help you stretch better than another brand.  But the size and profitability of those companies demonstrate the value strong branding.

Branding matters to industrial customers as well.  Consider this.  If your company is generally regarded as the category leader, your brand will always be included in RFPs or considered by engineers when selecting components for their designs.  The power of branding is inarguable.  But it is also terribly hard to measure.

In this post I’ll explore why banners get a bad rap for branding.  I’ll also propose another way (not clicks!) to measure whether your banners are making an impact with engineers.

There is value in a brand that is perceived as the category leader

Engineers don’t engage in see-click-buy behavior when specifying components, when selecting software, or when making any other sort of considered decision.  Instead, they identify the problem and search for solutions.  Will they find yours?  If you are a category leader they will know your company name and search for that. 

Here’s another scenario.  Many times engineers (like the rest of us) don’t even know that a solution exists, so they live with their current environment.  Branding campaigns can help overcome a general lack of knowledge in the market. 

In these cases and many others, branding can provide tremendous value.  But are banners useful in helping engineers recognize and recall your brand at the right time? 

Clicks are the wrong way to measure the effectiveness of a banner campaign

You probably don’t think banner campaigns work if you rely on clicks as a measure of performance.  According to Think with Google, the average CTR of standard media banners across all display formats is a paltry 0.06%.  Even on ENGINEERING.com, CTRs range from 0.15% – 0.45% CTR. 

A better metric to consider is whether engineers are searching for your brand using their own unaided recall.  Here’s a chart from Google Trends that shows unaided searches for a brand that started running a campaign to engineers at the end of August.  The CTR for this banners for this campaign fell into the typical 0.15% - 0.45% on ENGINEERING.com.  But look at what happened to the unaided searches!

How to measure the effectiveness of a banner campaign

During the latest full week of measurement, the number of Google searches got up to 100.

Now I’m not suggesting that:

  • Clicks are useless.
  • The banner campaign on ENGINEERING.com was the sole driver of more searches
  • Unaided search is the only measure of brand awareness

Instead, I am advocating that:

  • Branding is important for industrial companies
  • Banners work for branding
  • The Google search tool is a very cool way to measure your brand awareness


To use it, simply type in your brand, set i) a date range, ii) a geography and iii) a category.  You can even enter a competitor brand to track their performance.  I had a lot of fun doing that. 

Let me know in the comments whether you found this useful.

Thanks for reading,



Topics: Display advertising and banners

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