Tuesday, May 12

Should You Pay For An Ad Impression That Doesn't Actually Leave One?

Despite the astronomical number of banner ads that I have personally thrust into the Internet over the last 15 years; I still look forward to the day that banner advertising dies off. Disappears. Ceases to exist. Extinct to the point that CPM and CTR and 25K 3-loop with backup GIF become undecipherable words of a bygone era. Kind of like CGI-bin, server-side push, and <blink> tags. What are those you ask? Exactly.

I hate banner ads. Yeah yeah I know they are a necessary evil, carrying us through the recession, and the backbone of your online media program. I know they are practically the only online advertising standard that everyone can agree on. Some of you probably even won awards for them. But my main issue is this: no one pays attention to them.

Sure 1 out of 1,000 people actually click them (industry average CTR is now 0.1%). And your ad effectiveness research reveals that results greatly improve if you put the logo in every frame and the call to action at the top. And declining CPMs will reach the point where they are basically added value anyway. But it still doesn't change my POV that no one pays attention to them.

Seriously, when is the last time you clicked a banner ad? How many do you remember from the last site you visited, prior to reading this entry? Not including those damn repetitive Facebook text ads drilled into your brain after staring at them for 3 hours straight.

For kicks I installed the banner blocker AdBlock Plus in my Firefox browser. A simple installation that now eliminates banners on 80% of the sites I visit. I'm a two-fisted browser man, equally using IE and Firefox throughout the day. For the last month I've been heavily using the Interweb approximately 50% with ads and 50% without.

I've come to realize the funniest damn thing. I don't even notice that the Firefox versions of sites lack banners. I thought it would be such a liberating experience. But the only time I notice is when I'm actually looking for a banner (checking my brand media placements, looking for competitor examples). Then I realize there aren't any and switch over to IE. But otherwise it has no direct impact on my browsing satisfaction. Anything that animates in a square frame is automatically blind spotted and ignored.

So maybe mass acceptance of adblockers would drive our industry to its knees. Maybe it would force us to truly innovate and develop online advertising models that don't rely on mass spewing of animated images in a desperate attempt to get noticed. Maybe the smart marketers will recognize that adblockers are already embedded in our consumers' brains, no plugin download required.

For the rest of you, download the Firefox plugin and give it a test run.

1 comment:

Akash said...

This topic has been hot recently, see this thread instigated by the head of IAB:


Also what I think is an interesting (but perhaps unrealistic way to look at it: Here's the real point: if today's boardrooms are smart enough to stop waging war on each other, and begin waging peace for people instead — by making everything less about force, and more about choice — the lame, brain-dead industrial era will, finally, come to a long overdue end. from http://ow.ly/6Cat