Nobody puts B2B digital display ads in the corner!*
Recent chatter about the death of digital display advertising reminds me of the death of TV advertising a few years ago.
Remember when the DVR was going to kill broadcast television as we knew it? Who would watch TV commercials if they could just fast-forward through them? Who would even watch TV in real time anymore?
But TV commercials prevailed. They accounted for 42% of US ad spending in 2015—$79 billion worth.
Today, B2B marketers and agencies are having a similar conversation about ad-blocking technology and the future of digital display advertising. But here’s why the banner ad won’t be hidden away.
STATIC, SLOW AND SPAMMY
It’s no secret why people hate display ads:
- They clutter up the screen
- They slow down screen loading
- They’re random, junky and just plain annoying
Display ads—a.k.a. banner ads—deserve their bad rap to some extent, because they haven’t evolved to match or parallel users’ ever-evolving online experience—whether on a website or on mobile. The typical banner ad is a static image that doesn’t engage the user or serve up content that is targeted specifically to that user.
You’re reading about the Iowa caucuses, for instance, and up pops an ad for Pepsi. Why you? Why then?
The overall banner ad experience can feel spammy. So it’s no surprise people are installing free ad-blocking software at a frightening pace—US ad blocking reached 45 million active users in June 2015. When blocking ads is as easy as selecting a browser and clicking install, why wouldn’t they?
This is some scary stuff for digital advertising as we know it. Or is it?
TAKING A LESSON FROM TV
Why are TV commercials still viable when so many people zoom past them on the DVRs? Because a lot of commercials are too good to skip. When a commercial is especially beautiful, or touching, or funny—or well-targeted to its audience—people stop the DVR and pay attention.
Can B2B display advertisers make their ads too good to block? Yes.
Many B2B marketers are taking advantage of new tools that make banner ads rich, interactive media that align with users’ online experience instead of interfering with it:
- Interactive display ads transform traditional banner ads into fun, engaging canvases instead of static images.
- Ad retargeting makes sure that users who receive your ads have actually visited your site, improving the relevance of each ad’s overall message to individual users.
- Dynamic creative optimization and programmatic creative platforms target individual users based on their online activity in real time.
When users receive ads that are relevant, timely and engaging, they’ll be less likely to block ads.
For all the worry, advertisers seem to understand that digital display has a powerful future. By 2018, display is expected to surpass long-time champion television as the medium of choice for advertising.
*Actually, a lot of people put them in the corner—as well as the header, the footer and the sidebar.
Remember when you were a freshman in college and you pictured yourself graduating and working for an amazing company? Sarah works there! When she's not project managing at StudioNorth, you can usually find her at a local farmer's market taking selfies with other people's dogs.