The Death of the Banner Ad

Privacy issues aside, there’s hope that effective audience targeting will save online display advertising as paid search and other opportunities like mobile, apps and lead generation nibble away at marketing budgets and publishers’ attention. At least this effort has more promise than the attempt to get bigger advertising units onto websites.

Nearly two years ago, the Online Publishers Association tried to one-up the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) with its obnoxious Fixed Panel, XXL Box and Pushdown ad units that I’ve yet to see a request for on any advertising proposal. Not to be outdone, the IAB followed earlier this year with the introduction of Rising Stars ad units.

Even if you’re not a member of the IAB, it’s become a de facto best practice to accept the interactive marketing units (IMUs) that are part of the group’s Universal Ad Package (UAP). This from an association that waited until February of this year to finally delist the original 468 x 60 “full banner” ad unit.

Now comes a push to assure that online display advertising is running where it should. Verification services from Double Verify and AdXpose better be on your radar.

Clearly one of the main reasons for these companies to exist are ad networks that sell blind (an advertiser knows its website is part of a buy, but is not guaranteed a specific number of impressions for any one site in the network) and don’t do a good job assuring that placement guarantees are met. For instance, ad buys contracted above-the-fold are lower on a page or duplicate creative appears on one page view.

As all this is going on, the IAB continues to struggle with the concept of resolving disputes between publishers and third-party ad servers. Granted, our business consists “only” of about 8 million to 10 million monthly ad impressions, but I can count how many of these discrepancies I’ve encountered in more than a decade on one hand.

Look on the bright side, maybe all of this will cause marketers to start spending more money on print advertising.

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