Online display advertising has in the past been somewhat restricted by the speed of loading and the avoidance of disrupting the user experience. It has done well over the last decade even if for some marketers it is still one of the most underrated branding tools. When you compare the amount of the page space an internet advert dominates in comparison to a half, one or two page advert in print you can understand why this opinion exists.
Online display obviously has greater benefits like animation, video and interaction but given most people’s internet speeds are now faster and screen resolution larger, I think it’s time the industry revisited the ultimate display combination. I’m hoping for something that improves on the tried and tested combination of a banner, a skyscraper and an MPU all on the same page.
This does work, but there must be a way of joining the adverts together to be less disjointed. Some companies do seem to be making strides in this area and I’d like to highlight a couple of them now.
Page take over
IGN.com is an entertainment news and reviews site with a large focus on computer games and film. It is also one of many sites to offer what I think is one of most effective branding combinations on the planet, the page takeover. In the above example it’s the homepage, but it could easily be a sub-section. Here the computer game PES 2009 has provided a background, a larger sized skyscraper with video and a banner ad.
In other words, you can’t miss the product and the impact is huge – particularly thanks to that massive billboard like background. The product is also highly relevant to the audience. It’s easily as effective at awareness and impact as a TV advert, but with the benefit of not interrupting the experience and allowing for interactivity. If you have a smaller monitor, you may not see all of the background but you still see the banner and larger skyscraper. None of which interferes with the content.
I’m a big fan of branded skins which are an emerging format primarily used around video players but can equally be placed around image galleries (and I’d imagine around written content one day). They feel futuristic because they take up the same screen space as a combination of banner and skyscrapers, yet they are a single, solid advert – removing the disjointed feeling. Below is an example on the Telegraph website.
The missing link
The common factor between both of the above examples is a single, large advert that wraps around the content of the page. It doesn’t interfere, but it offers a high level of impact and sophistication. Internet marketing’s biggest potential is in display advertising and I’ll be keeping my eye out for more innovation as the online display industry evolves over the next twelve months.