The Inside Scope on Banner Ads

Banner ads have fallen on rough times.  According to BusinessInsider, banner ads started to die in 2012. A recent article from Digiday presents some abysmal stats for this 18-year-old advertising medium: trillions of these ads are served to US users yearly, yet the average click-through rates are less than 1% — in fact, the CTR averages .1% (or less; 468×60 banners average .04%). This same article describes banner ads as “a symbol of all that’s wrong with online advertising.”

That’s a pretty harsh sentiment, and the statistics are hard to ignore. Content marketing and native advertising are quickly overtaking the banner advertisement.

But is it time to completely write off this advertising medium? Why not take a closer look at why banner ads are so ineffective? After all, while this form of technology may be dying, it’s not dead yet – opportunity could still lie by taking corrective action.

Digiday reports most banner ads are flawed for three reasons:

  • They’re devoid of creativity
  • They feel intrusive on the webpage
  • Readers ignore them

These are not insurmountable problems. Some creativity in terms of graphic design, copy and placement can solve the first two bullet points; proper targeting (gleaned from leveraging data and user statistics) may be the remedy for the third point.

In sum, marketers need to embrace content and native marketing – that’s a given. But whenever you hear the elegy of the passing of old technology, be wary to write it off straightaway –what  you hear may actually be the dead-ringing sound of something prematurely buried.