Banners aren’t dead – they’ve just evolved
4 min read

Banners aren’t dead – they’ve just evolved

‘Aren’t banners dead!?’ It’s a question we hear time and time again. In fact, if the literature from 2015 is to be believed, then they’ve been dead for quite some time. But if you think this, then you might just be guilty of the Zlatan complex: 


Zlatan is famous for scoring goals…and for his ego. He is the conversion king of football. But the other members of that team helped him reach the goal post (no matter what he believes).

For display advertising, it’s the same. It may not be the banner that is the final conversion point, but banners helped get your customers there.

‘But isn’t native the new banner ad?’

Native advertising has been likened to the new, shiny, bright toy of digital advertising. Whereas traditional banner advertisements can sometimes be crude and disruptive, native advertising is said to produce a more seamless experience for viewers.

In fact, native has seen greater success in recent years, with 49% higher click-through rates (CTR). So is native advertising set to wipe out banners for good?

Well no, in fact, display ads share of global ad spend reached 12.7% in 2018, succeeded only narrowly by TV. And of course, it depends on the quality of your banners as to their conversion. If you create ads that irritate rather than delight customers, evidently consumers will prefer the less intrusive alternative.

We’re not suggesting that display and native is an either or scenario. With a creative management platform (CMP) the design aspects of your banner campaign can be integrated with your native ads. Export your banner in video format across channels and publishers.   


‘Didn’t Ad blockers kill off banners?’  

By the end of 2018, Business Insider and eMarketer predict that 30% of all users will use some form of ad blocker. Taken at face value, this is a worrying statistic for online marketers.

But dig a little deeper and it’s clear that this isn’t the death knell for banners. Firstly, there has been some pushback; with big publishers such as Forbes and GQ requiring users to disable ad blockers in order to get access to their content. In fact, the Google lite ad blocker, the most popular, only blocks the most aggressive pop-up ads and auto-play video content.

But ad blockers aren’t the enemy, bad banners are. Ad blockers are simply a reaction to annoying, irrelevant, and intrusive banners. So what does that say about the adverts that online marketing has been producing up until this point? With the iAB best practices for online marketing, the advertising world is working to improve display standards.

The future of display banners isn’t as a dire as it first appears and ultimately, bad banners deserve to be blocked. Modern display ads are moving away from intrusive and poorly designed ads. Instead, they’re lining up with the rest of marketing’s approach to advertising by producing banners that viewers will want to see and click on.

‘With such poor CTR, why bother?’

We’ve all heard the stats on the decline of CTR. And yes, it’s unlikely we’ll see the remarkable click-through rates of the nineties in the likes of banner ads again (although never say never). But does this mean that banner adverts are dead?

Obviously not. There are ways that you can tackle low click-through rates. Much like ad blockers, poor CTRs are not only indicative of an oversaturated market, but also of uninspiring banners.

But recently there has been some kick-back on the effectiveness of CTR as a measurement of success. Metrics that focus on reach and impressions are becoming increasingly important in modern marketing.

So yes, it’s unlikely your banner ads are ever going to hit 44% CTR in 2019 but combined with a cross channel strategy, they can still be an incredibly effective tool.  

‘OK… so tell me about video?’

Metrics controversy aside, video is providing highly effective for creating banners that convert. Video adverts enjoy the highest average click-through rates of 1.84%.

Banners are evolving from simple animations to include in-stream, out-stream, or in-banner video. This development has helped banners to become more inspiring, and as such, have a better ROI.

Marketers worldwide agree. Video is trending in display advertising, with video ad-spend set to reach $13.43 billion in 2019. Given these stats, can you really claim that banner ads are dead?

There are always exciting things happening in display advertising, and video is just one of them.

‘How about dynamic creative?’

Video isn’t the only way that marketers can revolutionise their display advertising. Dynamic creative not only offers opportunities for great design but also the ability to target consumers with relevant advertising.

Gone are the days of standardised content. Banners ads of today can experiment with geo-targeting, feeds, sequential storytelling, demographic targeting, behavioural targeting, contextual campaigns, and dynamic creative optimisation (DCO). All this is available, and more, with a creative management platform (CMP).

For example, an effective banner for an ecommerce business might be one that automatically updates to show the four bestsellers of the day. Dynamic works for any industry though. Why not explore DCO and the transformative impact it can have on your display advertising?

The trouble with banner ads of old was that they were dull and lacked relevance. The modern approach is moving away from purely interruptive marketing. In fact, remarketed banners perform far better than those that don’t. They have higher conversion rates overall. If you apply a modern approach to banner advertisement, they can fit nicely into your digital marketing strategy.

With the technology of dynamic creative to hand, you can create localised, exciting, and relevant ads (as long as they’re GDPR compliant of course). 

Convinced yet?

You can be forgiven for thinking that banners were dead before reading this article. As an industry, marketing is always proclaiming the end of something or other. But in an effort to stay current many have overlooked the relevance of banners in digital advertising.

With marketing spend moving increasingly away from print, agile alternative that is dynamically led is leading the way. With the right tools, banners can be innovative, creative, and engaging to consumers. They are a key component to any successful campaign – just don’t ask Zlatan.

Contact us to learn more about how a CMP can revolutionise your display advertising.  



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