Do you really need Carousel Banner Offers running on your homepage ?

Pranav Jang Bahadur
Aug 5, 2018 · 5 min read
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Carousel Banner Ads be like

In a recent moment of self awareness, I noticed one of my behaviours on an E-Commerce website, that I don’t give a shit about those Carousel Banner Ads. I probed further into my own behaviour and opened multiple such websites and apps to realise this behaviour was consistent across almost all products on all platforms.

My lack of acknowledgement of these banners was far greater on my laptop than on my mobile phone. Only instances when I showed a little patience for this was when it was a static banner that did not just vanish the moment I started to care.

Of course I could have biases, maybe I am amongst the least patient of all internet users and maybe there is a large segment of people who need these banners that I couldn’t be aware of. This led to my research and here is what I found.

A lot of studies have confirmed that no one cares about carousel banners at all.

A study by Notre Dam University, who had 3.75 Lakh users visit their website and shown Carousel with 5 banners, saw a CTR of mere ~1% for the banners and 89% of this was attributed to the banner in the first position.

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A single study (in fact the link provided above contains 5 experiments), cannot justify this conclusion. So are there any more people who have concluded the same ?

Jakob Neilsen (usability consultant) from NN Group conducted a study asking users “Does Siemens have any special deals on washing machines?” when they used a website with the below carousel ad on top.

Here is the conclusion they made from the study :

“After an extended visit to the website — including much time scrutinising this homepage — the user gave up and assumed that Siemens didn’t have any special deals for her”

It is amazing, isn’t it ?

I conducted a small poll of my own asking the amazing folks in the PushStart community what they thought and here are the results.

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So they are irritating for a user.

What are the reasons for this?

One of the biggest reasons is the utter lack of their usability.

  1. Users completely ignore them.

There is a phenomenon called ‘Banner Blindness” which simply means that our minds, being the awesome self learning machines that they are, have simply learnt to ignore anything that even remotely looks like an ad. Brain takes this decision at such a high pace that we don’t even realise there was a banner ad.

If it helps, studies show that users generally give more value to the left side of a webpage.

2. We are wired to be wary of too much movement.

The early sapiens survived by being highly aware about the movement of dangerous animals around them. Quick movement is not viewed positively by our brain. So, products that have slides changing every 3 seconds are a big no for users.

Will changing my slide change time from 3 sec to 6 sec help?

In all probability, NO. If the user is viewing the slide for more than 3–4 seconds, they are engaged with the content and if the slide changes then, it will be worse for UX than having them in the first place.

3. Some other reasons include a bad ad copy and no clear CTA. But these are secondary reasons. While fixing these might take your CTR from 1% to 4% but you must ask yourself at this point, what is the opportunity cost you are giving up on in terms of pissing of most of your visitors.

Why are they still in use though?

In my opinion, there is simply a dearth of people out there who deeply care about UX.

The very first thing companies do to fix lack of conversions and revenue is to push more people into the funnel by spending even more on marketing.

Carousel Banners are rarely questioned because everyone have had it since forever, haven’t they? How can they be wrong to have then when almost everyone is using them? Looks like the early adoption and push of carousel banners by most Javascript Frameworks is to be blamed.

What a shiny new thing to have !!! Let us use it without a thought.

Most people avoid investing in UX design due to a misconception of low ROI on it. Every $ rightly invested in UX gives a return of 100$ according to this Forbes article.

So, what to do if not Carousel Banners ?

Your experiment can be as good as mine. But here is the thing I believe could work. We should have one static banner that is soothing to eyes with a very clear and provocative call to action button.

But here is the extra mile you need to go. Have a user profiling done and maintained for every visitor on your product and personalise their static banner experience according to what might be beneficial to them.

Keep as many banners on the backend as you want for every micro segment and based on what you know about the visitor, give them a curated experience that is relevant to them.

Example — If you have a non registered visitor from a tier 3 city in India, how about showing them a discount banner in Hindi or any other native language?

A recent article by Anand Agrawal (Product Manager at Myntra) talks in detail about what they have done to achieve this.


Still wondering whether you should use it or not? Check out http://shouldiuseacarousel.com/


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