Misleading Banners and Non-Misleading Banners Explained


There are lots of misleading ads that we see on the internet every day.

In fact, it is one of the common reasons that people distrust and dislike digital ads that they see on websites and other platforms. If you are an affiliate marketer, advertisers or someone that is trying to gain interest in their website, advertising is a must. While the likes of SEO is still very powerful although it is more of a long-term strategy, ads can get you clicks, traffic and potentially conversions very quickly.

In this guide, we are going to take a look at different banners and how deceptive banners work. There are lots of examples of misleading ads out there and as a digital marketer, it is good practice to avoid this form of false advertising if you want to make sales.

What is a misleading ad?

What are banners?

You see banners all the time on websites.

They are just advertisements that display in a digital space. They can be either static text, have images or in many cases these days they use flash to provide an interactive experience. Publishers get money for displaying ads on their website either by just allowing them to be there in the first place or they are paid dependent on various criteria being met such as CPA (cost per click) or CPM (cost per 1000 impressions).

These visual adverts can be divided into two categories: non-misleading banners and misleading ads.

What is a misleading ad?

A misleading ad is basically just an advert that tricks you into clicking on it. It hides the true nature of what it is there to advertise.

We are going to have a look at some deceptive advertising examples below to show you exactly what we mean by this. If you have ever clicked on an ad and it has taken you somewhere you didn’t want to go or tried to sell you something that isn’t what the advert stated, then this is a misleading banner.

So, what tricks are used?

Examples of misleading ads

This list isn’t exhaustive by any means and we have just taken 3 of the main ways in which misleading ads are used every day on the internet.

#1 Congratulations! You’ve won!

These are among the most common misleading banners that you see on the internet. They can either pop up or sit static on a webpage.

They usually tell you that you’ve won something really cool – the latest iPhone for example – and you need to click on the banner to get your prize. The reality is that you haven’t won anything and it is just a ruse to get you to click on the ad. You will probably be taken to a survey page where you MIGHT be in with a chance of winning the prize (if it exists at all) or you are taken to something completely different. Avoid using these kinds of banners if you want to have any credibility with affiliate marketing.

#2 Access to free content

CPA and CPS (cost per sale) offers prohibit the use of the word ‘free’ with their ads.

This form of false advertising promises to give something away for free in return for a click on the banner. It will generally lead to a page where you need to subscribe to the content. That is hardly ‘free’ is it? Even if they do give something away for free it will most likely only give you part of the gift and you need to pay a fee to release the rest – an eBook on how to make money online for example.

#3 Virus alerts

Lastly, we have virus alerts. You’ve probably seen these about a lot where a pop-up window appears telling you that you have a virus on your computer or you are at risk of a virus infecting your computer.

This method almost forces or coerces people into paying for anti-virus software or whatever the ad is trying to sell. They can detect what device you are using so they trick people into thinking they know that your device is an Android or is running iOS for instance.

It is a common way of false advertising and it is frowned upon and disliked by anyone who has any kind of authority or good reputation within the affiliate marketing world.

Good practice for using non-misleading banners

This isn’t a complete list because there are many weight loss ads that are misleading as well as a lot of misleading fitness ads too.

A good practice is to avoid using this form of advertising at all costs. Will it make you a quick buck? Maybe. Does it provide any longevity and a sustainable business model? Definitely not.

Misleading banners will only damage your reputation and they could land you in a lot of legal trouble as well.

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