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What Ads Would You Run: Ugly or Beautiful?

How to Avoid Mistakes That People Make.

First of all, people tend to think that a pretty banner ad is the same thing as high-converting. That’s the mistake that I made when I was first starting out. I paid a graphic designer one or two hundred bucks for some ads for my first product. When he got them back to me, they looked great, they were beautiful. I was like, “Wow man, these are terrific! I can’t wait to run these; they’re going to do so well.” They were beautiful. The guy’s a great graphic designer; he gave me a great deal, but the problem is, nobody clicked on them! I had thrown a lot of money into that campaign at the time; I didn’t know what I was doing. And nobody clicked on them. So the first mistake that you can make is thinking that a banner ad that you think looks good is also going to convert well, and unfortunately, it’s just not true.

a pretty ad 3

Why “ugly” ads converts better than pretty ones

As more time goes by, savvy internet marketers are starting to realize that, actually, “ugly” converts better a lot of the time. I tested that on the sites. The lovely banner ads are not that clickable. Generally speaking, the cute ad is not going to get the kind of attention that something ugly will.

Let’s say you’ve got banner ads running on the site. It’s located in a typical place where you see banner ads: you’ve got the long bar on the top, the square bar out on the side, the rectangle underneath that, and people have just trained themselves to ignore this part of the web page altogether.

a pretty ad

When you look at the typical ad, there’s no mistaking that this is an ad. It’s colorful, it’s designed by professional, it’s pretty to look at, it’s got a picture of the product – these are all things that, in the advertising world, are typical. These are things you probably take for granted.

a pretty ad 4

It would be one thing this was running in a magazine, because in a magazine with print advertising you might want to build some brand awareness, you might just want to let people know that the product exists. You might want to put a page in a magazine that people are going to stop and look at, and that’s fine. But this is not a magazine, it’s a website. And this is not an ad to build ad awareness; it’s an ad to get clicks. That’s a really important distinction. You don’t just want people to go, nice image, really cool.

register now ad pretty enough


Why some ads are simply ignored

There’s a call to action on this ad; it says “Register now”. So they want people to click this ad and go through to their website, and probably sign up with their name and e-mail address. If that’s the goal that you have, which is going to be our goal – I mean, we’re placing these ads so that people click them and come to our website – then this kind of design is total, totally wrong because it’s just going to get ignored.

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register now ad pretty enough 2


This is my opinion, sure, but it’s backed up by my experience and the experience of every banner advertiser that I know who knows what they’re doing. It flies in the face of what most marketing executives and marketing firms would consider to be good advertising. They want their ads to be pretty, but the fact that they’re pretty is the reason they’re getting ignored. So we have to figure out how we can overcome the fact that people have trained themselves to ignore ads just like these.

But I want to emphasize that this is really good news for us because we are off the hook for having to pay for these expensive banner ads and having to hire graphic designers, so that is great; that is saving us a lot of money, right there. Ads that look like ads simply don’t get noticed, and that’s the one thing I want you guys to remember. If your ad looks like a typical, lovely banner ad, you wasted your money. You’ve spent your money on that graphic design, and you’re wasting your money on the clicks you’re going to get because they just aren’t going to be high-quality clicks.

Now one people realize that, that these cute ads are getting ignored, and then a lot of the time they make the opposite mistake; they go WAY too far in the other direction. You see this on Facebook all the time. … The way to get cheaper clicks on Facebook is all about your click through rate. In other words, the more people who click on your ads through Facebook, the more affordable those ads get.

Something like this:

register now ad

Weird ads and click magnets

So a strategy that a lot of these guys like to use, which I think is a huge mistake, is to create ads that are just click magnets. You hear it all the time: if you’re going to advertise something on Facebook, find the hottest picture of the hottest girl, wearing the least clothes that you can get away with, and submit it to Facebook. Try to put some smoking hot chick in your ad because guys will click on it. Or you have people putting things like puzzles or optical illusions in their ads because they think that that’s what’s going to get clicks. So you’ll see weird graphics all the time.

Even if you’re paying just a few cents a click, you want to get the most bangs for your bucks. You want targeted clicks, not just any clicks. In other words, you don’t want people clicking on your ads because they go, “Oh, there’s a picture of a hot chick, and I like hot chicks, so I’ll click on it.”

hot chick ads

So don’t make the mistake of going too far in the other direction, either. When you start to think – I don’t care if you’re advertising on Facebook, Google, or any of these other platforms that I’m going to be sharing with you – do not make the mistake of thinking that all clicks are created equal, because believe me, they are not. You want to be focused on those clicks that are people who want what you have to sell: People who are engaged, who are interested in what you’re selling. If someone clicks your ad because they like what they see, or it grabs their curiosity, those clicks cost you money.

Now the big question is how do we use ads to do that? The big issue that we have to ask ourselves today is, how can we bypass that banner blindness so that our ads get noticed, and how can you use our ads to pre-screen for people who are customers looking to buy what we’re selling? Persons who are qualified leads?

We don’t want to get totally ignored, but on the other hand of the spectrum, we don’t wish to get somebody who clicks on it, but has no interest whatsoever in what our product is and what we’re trying to offer.

So, how do we bypass all of that?

Well, let’s start with the first challenge. THE FIRST CHALLENGE IS TO GET NOTICED IN THE FIRST PLACE, and the solution is this: I use ads that are extremely ugly or ads that blend in perfectly with the website that they’re on. This is something that’s counter-intuitive but works extremely well and is easy to do.


Ad Creation Formula That Works

Make a great, viral headline that blends in perfectly with what you see on the page.  You’ve got to understand that the people who are looking at these ads are not tech-savvy internet marketers like you and me; they’re not guys who know all the tricks.  For most of the niches that you’re promoting, they’re just regular people with regular problems. So for a person who just glances at the site, should probably not going to realize even that this is an ad. Try to start a story with your ad. Make the relevant to what you want to sell them. It makes a huge difference.


  1. Blends in perfectly with the site.
  2. Hideous to look at.
  3. It’s got this cool fake interactive, so if you’re sitting there, you want to engage with it; you want to pick your age or something and click on this, and the second you click on it it takes you through to the ad’s landing page.


In my opinion, I think this will definitely convert better than anything a graphic designer could make, and I also think it could convert even better with even less text and a stronger headline. That’s just my opinion, but I bet you that if you had an even more powerful headline, you would get even more clicks.

This is the kind of thing that you guys want to shoot for when you are creating your banner ads to use with the systems that I’m going to give you.


So the moral of the story is this:

  1. If you know where your ads are going; in other words, if you know the exact website that you’re going to be running your ads on. And some of the strategies that I’m going to give you revolve around that tactic. This strategy is to make it blend in perfectly with the content on the page. Make it a little bit uglier than everything else on there. Make it blend in so it looks like real content on the page, so it doesn’t look so much like a banner ad. That’s what you do if you know the website that your ads are going on.


  1. If you don’t know where your ads are going; and you’re using a platform that’s going to show your ads on multiple ad sites, like Google AdWords, for example, which we’ll get to in one of the upcoming chapters. Just make them really ugly, make them text based, and give them a white background so that they blend in with most pages. You definitely want to give them a white background. One of the most important things in banner blindness is that the ads have a color that’s different from the rest of the page so you can see the outline of the ad.


That’s how you get attention to your ads. That was challenge number one, just to get attention and overcome that banner blindness.


Challenge number two is to PRE-SCREEN who are customers, to make sure that the people who click on your ad are people who are really going to be receptive to your sales message on your landing page. The way that you do this is through compelling headlines. Customers looking to buy what we’re selling (i.e. give us qualified leads)?


The best banner headlines are very controversial.


So think about the people who visit your target website. The next thing that you should do is arouse real curiosity, or promise an awesome benefit.


I know you guys have seen this ad before … I’m pretty sure it’s for, which is one of the highest-converting products on ClickBank, and has been for a really long time: “One Trick For A Tiny Belly: Cut Down One Kilo Of Your Belly Every Day By Simply Using This One Weird Old Tip”.

It’s got one picture, it’s got a white background just like I told you about, it stands out, the writing is really ugly, really hard to ignore, and it’s really simple. “Cut Down One Kilo Of Your Belly Every Day By Simply Using This One Weird Old Tip”. So right there, benefit promise: You’re going to lose one kilo per day – I’m American, so I have no idea how much that is – and the curiosity is simply by using this one weird old tip. So people are like, “What the hell is this? What’s the one weird old tip? I want to lose a kilo of my belly every day.”

Three Golden Ideas to overcome “banner blindness”.

So you’ve got those three golden ideas to overcome “banner blindness”.

  1. You’ve got fear-based headlines
  2. Controversy-based headlines
  3. benefit-based headlines,


I suggest that you start trying to use all three as you craft your banner ads in this new way that will give you an extraordinary results.


So notice that all well converting ads are UGLY as sin; they’re TEXT-BASED, and therefore…

  1. Probably took 30 seconds to create.
  2. Allowed the designers to split-test a TON of different headlines, graphics, and fake interactive

WITHOUT going broke on graphics!

ENSURE that the only people clicking are people who will WANT the product.