Is it time for a new breed of online display advert?

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 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.

Branded skins

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.

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    Nice Jack, I’d like to see interactive poster sites on the street where one touch would reveal something else, or say you flash your headlights at a supersite whilst waiting at the traffic lights and something happens. It would be great for a car ad. perhaps the car could flash it’s lights to warn you that the traffic lights are changing. it will be interesting to see how touchscreen technology will affect laptops in the years to come. We could find a whole new interactive method being born.

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    Great piece, I totally agree! People need to start adapting what is possible against what works for their brand. Good thing about recessions is that advertisers demand more for their money, so media owners will work more closely with them to do tailored campaigns and this should lead to formats being developed that are more attractive to advertisers. A natural ‘cleansing’ process should take place as less popular formats start to disppear off media schedules.
    On the research front I’ve heard that some media owners are looking at ways to rebuild web pages to move away from exactly what you talk about – the typical ‘MPU (middle right hand), banner (top of page) and skyscraper (somewhere on the left / right). We should start to see some really effective and lovely new page layouts developing in the near future. If only horrible interruptive formats could completely disappear at the same time… here’s hoping!

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    Well, you have kindly provided examples of sites that I’d visit maybe once in error and then be highly unlikely to return to, simply on the basis of the amount and quality of the advertising.

    Transpose this into “real life.” If little johnny was jumpoing up and down yelling “lookitme, lookitme, lookitme” at the top of his voice, just to get some attention, then little Johnnie may very well end up with a clip round the ear.

    Personally, and in deference to the politically correct, I’d ignore the ittle git then avoid him in future.

    For the same reason I’d avoid such intrusive and, ultimately banal advertising such as this.

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    Dear Ms O’Nonymous – that’s the point, when you see these adverts on the sites they don’t feel like an attention seeking child because they don’t interfere with the content. Which the adverts are ultimately funding.

    IGN and the Telegraph are two of the most popular websites in their area (gaming and current affairs) because they have excellent and extensive content. The advertising pays for that content to exist.

    If you were interested in computer games, you certainly wouldn’t only visit IGN once because it has some of the best coverage in the world.