The truth is, if you spend any amount of time on the Internet, you are bound to have come across more than your fair share of banner ads. A banner ad is basically an image-based advertisement, displayed on another entity’s webpage, that when clicked upon, will direct you to a different website. We are all more than familiar with these, I’m sure. The question is, do they work? Have you clicked on any recently? Most likely not. So should advertisers in this day and age continue pouring their money and investments into this advertising option, or should they begin to consider other forms? Have we reached the point where Banner Ads have become outdated and obsolete? And if so, where does that leave us?
What is the problem with Banner Ads?
They come in many shapes, sizes and formats but essentially their purpose is all the same: to redirect you to the advertiser’s website. Which, let’s face it, can be quite annoying. When you are surfing on the web, with a specific purpose or even just to pass time, you don’t really want big flashy banners popping up left and right all but blinding you, or to be redirected to an unknown website (which many times you do not trust) when you accidentally click on one. It might be okay if it were content or products that interested you in some way, but many more times than not, they are random products that you simply are not interested in.
One of the benefits of banner ads is the ease in measuring their effectiveness, or so you would think. It turns out that even this is not a glamorous at it may first appear. Banner ads are generally measured by the CTR (Click-Through-Rate), in other words, the amount of users who were redirected to the website from having clicked on the ad. This, however, is quite deceptive. The CTR does in fact tell you how many people landed on your website, but it in no way guarantees what people were doing there, or if they were qualified traffic. The CTR includes all those people who clicked on the ad by accident, for example, which can be quite a significant amount, or for whatever other reason they may have, without any intention of knowing more about your product or service. The other issue with banner ads is the randomness with which they are advertised. It is mass shared in hopes of getting enough people to come across it that from time to time it will attract a few people that are actually interested, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. Does this not seem quite ineffective?
As if this weren’t enough already, the truth is that Internet surfers no longer have the patience to deal with these things that they believe do not bring them any benefit. In a world where everyone who is anyone is online, consumers have access to an entire world of products and alternatives available at the click of a button and from the comfort of their home, so it becomes increasingly challenging not only to initially catch consumer’s attention, but to maintain it as well. And this is where Adblocks come into the story. Add consumer’s impatience to the tool they have at their disposal, and it quickly becomes clear why banner ads are a thing of the past.
The consequence of Adblocks is that most of those banner ads that companies are pouring money into as if there’s no tomorrow, are not even reaching consumers eyes, let alone being effective. By installing Adblocks, consumers are protecting themselves from all that unwanted assault of information, and it is a trend that is catching fire and spreading quickly. According to a study carried out by PageFair, the use of Adblocks grew 41% all around the world in the year of 2015, and at the end of 2015 counted on 198 million users worldwide, costing advertisers 21.8 billion dollars in 2015 alone (Click here to read up more on these statistics).
What can advertisers do to stop this? The truth is adapt. As we have said before, if Adblocks are here to help users, and so are we, it is important that we join them in their struggle to protect consumer’s interests. What this means, however, is that certain advertising techniques that we have been relied on for so long are simply no longer viable.
And to add insult to injury, even if some ads manage to dodge the adblocks, this means in no way they’ve hit a home run. Even those that manage to reach a user’s display, does not mean it reaches their eyes. People have become so exposed to the presence of banner ads, which generally show up in the same place and style on webpages, and so used to them being useless and uninteresting that they no longer notice them. Say hello to “Banner-Blindness”. The desensitization of users has reached the point that they have tuned out and no longer even notice banner ads even if they do come across them, and an automatic association of them with Spam, even if they could eventually be interested.
Which will make it more believable when I tell you that according to a study by Solve Media, it is 475.28 times more likely for you to survive a plane crash than you are to click on a banner ad, and 279.64 times more likely for you to climb Mt. Everest and reach the summit. If this does not show how ineffective banner ads have become, then I don’t know what will.
Add the age of Adblocks to Banner Blindness and you have the perfect recipe for disaster, and it seems the time in the spotlight is more than over for this advertising format, so what now?
What are our alternatives?
So, does this mean that all hope is lost for us online advertisers? Most definitely not. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The rise of adblocks and the ineffectiveness of banner ads force us to turn to the loving embrace of another solution, Native Advertising. This solution is nothing but beneficial for us, as much from a consumer’s point of view as from an advertiser’s.
As for consumer’s, Native Advertising offers them peace and quiet when it comes to annoying and intrusive ads. Instead of forcing random, pestering content on them at their every move, Native Advertising offers content that user’s are far more likely to be interested in and receptive to, as it places advertisements relevant to the content of the environment where it is found. If people are visiting because they take an interest in that topic, then they will also be likely to be interested in the advertisement. Furthermore, the key to Native Advertising is high-quality content. It is about creating content so great, so interesting, and so useful that people won’t even care that it is an ad, and will thank you for the opportunity of seeing it.
From an advertisers point of view, it just keeps getting better and better. By investing in Native Advertising, companies will be investing their money in ads that are concentrated on targeting audiences and people who are most likely to be interested, thereby avoiding the inconvenient randomness of banner ads. Native ads will generate qualified traffic that will generate not just click-through’s, but website traffic that will actually have likelihood of then being converted to leads and later customers.
Best of all, Native Ads will not be blocked by Adblockers. The whole point of Native ads is that they are relevant to the environment in which they are placed, and are of high quality, which consequently means that they go undetected by Adblockers. In this way, consumers will actually have the opportunity to come in contact and see your ads, and your investment will not just be money down the drain. According to Dedicated Media, Native ads have a 53% higher viewability rate than banner ads.
Another advertising alternative that we want to highlight the importance of is social media, and more specifically the presence of your brand on Twitter. Twitter one of the fastest growing and most popular social networks of the moment, making it vital for your company to be present on if you want to stay on your target audience’s radar, and not get pushed out of the way by the countless other brands that are out there. Twitter Ads has become an indispensable tool for online marketers, and offers great options and optimized campaign types dedicated specifically to achieve the most important marketing objectives you may have. And as if this wasn’t helpful enough already, you can take your Twitter Ads campaigns to a whole another level of optimization and profit and budget maximization by applying Artificial Intelligence to your Twitter Ads campaigns.
So fear not, dear friends! It may be time to close the curtains on Banner Ads, but there is a plethora of other, more effective and customer-friendly options out there for us marketers, that are becoming increasingly more popular and very much deserve the attention they have been coming to receive. The horizon of digital marketing is changing drastically, and not keeping up is not an option!