Sympathy for the Banner Ad

Maybe 2011 will be the year marketing professionals and users fall back in love with the banner ad. But it won’t be because they make for compelling experiences or deliver quantifiable results. No, it will be due to the rise of the ubiquitous pre-roll ads anytime you want to watch a video. Now those are impossible to ignore. The other day I was forced to watch an Olive Garden commercial. The OG only got their money’s worth if their advertising objective was to torture their non-customers.

I recently worked for a company that was in the unfortunate position of promoting the merits of the banner ad. They specialized in rich media and would make flashy banner ads that chewed up computer processors. One of our arguments was that while standard banners get less than 1 percent click through rates rich media ads can get up to 3.5 percent. Since rich media come in formats that sometimes demand you click them away I was dubious of this statistic. But well done, rich media banners do offer opportunities for engagement. Remember the Subservient Chicken. Six years old and still what brands aspire to accomplish. That’s where the real opportunities lie.

The problem may be the standardization of formats. It makes for hackneyed executions and always the need to serve the lowest common denominator. It’s not as easy as giving away a few minutes of airtime or full pages in a magazine. There has to be an integration of site content and advertising to get any sort of attention. Something that demands attention and has something worthwhile to offer. Easier said then done.

Behind the Race to Build a Better Banner Ad [Mashable]

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About brohanyc
interaction design, information architecture, content strategy.

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