Creatives still make them, clients still want them and the public seems to be immune to them. A recent project I was involved with sparked an interesting question. Can brands really benefit from banner ads that seem to always find a place on the website you’re surfing?
A few months ago, I followed Internet Week, where media professionals gather to dissect the changing media landscape. In one particular panel, a discussion regarding the death of a banner ad, among many other topics, stood out to me. It was rather an uneasy conclusion to a long awaited “don’t want to hurt you’re feelings, but here’s the truth” portion of the article. “As soon as a better mousetrap comes along, banners will go away,” the audience was told. However, as I continued to read, some are still banking on the success of the social web and brands to connect on a more emotional level with consumers. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
There are a lot of stats floating around out there but in general, the average standard banner ad click-through rate is between 0.09% – 0.15%. And dropping. But is this because they don’t work or because they are bad—poor design, irrelevant messaging, inappropriate placement, etc? The creativity and relevance of online ads are arguably even more important than print ads. It’s truly about finding the perfect combination of content and context. If you know your audience, their needs and wants, banner ads can still serve a purpose, as long as they are placed in an appropriate space. It comes down to engaging the right audience in the right environment. In order for a banner ad to be effective, it can’t stray too far from what the audience is familiar with.
And think about mobile ads. A newer and entirely different creative and strategic challenge. But that’s another topic for another day.