At the same time, though, banner ads are as important now as they were 20 years ago. According to eMarketer, companies will spend an estimated $14.7 billion on banner ads and similar types of display advertising in 2017. It’s possible that people may not have noticed that banner ads have stuck around since they have taken on so many different forms.
Read on to explore the ways banner ads have evolved and how they remain an important part of digital advertising strategy for many different businesses.
Mobile Paves the Way for Banner Ad Resurgence
Mobile applications are one of the biggest factors sustaining the use of banner ads today. Companies spent $17.5 billion on mobile banner ads in 2016, but they spent just $5.1 billion on banner ads aimed at desktops. This year, they are predicted to spend even less on desktop but $21 billion overall on mobile “display” ads, including banners.
Mobile banner ads find better success rates because they integrate readily with the mobile experience. While desktop browsers are used to huge amounts of screen space where banner ads can create clutter, mobile banner ads often appear seamlessly within the layout.
Additionally, mobile apps provide captive audiences ripe for showing ad messages. People spend 20% of their overall media time looking at mobile apps — and that includes watching TV, playing video games, reading books and all other forms of media.
Apps like Facebook and Instagram dominate their attention. Because of this, these apps have layouts specifically designed to take advantage of paid “promoted” posts and banner ads. Users are accustomed to seeing them, so banner ads have turned into an effective technique for generating awareness for a product or reminding someone about a product they looked at earlier.
New Banner Ad Technology: Programmatic and Retargeting
“Programmatic” banner ads refer to a system that automatically matches ads to an audience. For instance, a cosmetics company may want to target women over 50 who make $50k and up a year, so the brand buys a certain amount of ad inventory from a programmatic service. Then, the service matches the brand’s ads with the exact audience they need to drive their marketing goals. Additionally, programmatic ads can show up nearly anywhere on any site, so advertisers no longer have to predict who will be looking at what content when.
Another element of programmatic marketing is the ability to retarget; programmatic ads can take into account custom factors, like whether someone has looked at a specific product recently. Using a technology called “tracking pixels,” these banner ads recognize someone who has browsed a product page before, then it displays that same product in the ad.
Big companies are using retargeting; Mazda obtained a 53% higher conversion rate using these types of retargeted ads, and one luxury watch brand saw a 1,300% ROI from one of their retargeting campaigns.
By combining technologies like retargeting and programmatic with new opportunities on mobile, advertisers have been able to revitalize the banner ad for a new era. These ads play a critical part in a bigger digital marketing landscape by helping tie social media, email, video and other ad forms together with a format that can be seen almost literally anywhere.