Best. Statistic. Ever. Makes me feel better about flying, but sorry for those designing banner ads.
They say that a kitten dies every time someone uses a bullet point in a presentation, so I shudder to think what’s going to happen the next time someone clicks on a banner.
Banner ads. The ugly stepchild of online marketing. Just trying to hang out in the top-right corner, minding their own business. They never asked to be overused. They never asked to be animated GIFs. But they certainly didn’t want to be ignored.
Yet, here we are, about to discuss how little action they get, and how they’re being usurped by another form of advertising. Poor little rectangular bastards. 75,000 wasted pixels in an otherwise useful area of your page. Destined to be thrown on the marketing scrap heap, never to be seen again…
Scratch that. Banners aren’t going anywhere. Yes they’re annoying. Yes they are essentially useless. But they’re here to stay, in all their 300x250px glory. They just have to compete with what’re known as ‘Native Ads’, which, as we’ll learn, have some significant advantages.
What’s a native ad? In 197 characters or less.
Native ads are contextual paid ads that appear in your content stream, designed to augment the user experience by providing semantically relevant supporting content, without breaking the flow of information.
But placing ads in content is bad, right?
It certainly is. The typical method for injecting ads is to use interruption marketing tactics to plant banners and text ads directly into the middle of a piece of content, forcing you to look at them in order to experience the whole article. People – me included – despise these ads. They provide no contextual benefit and diminish the value of the content they appear in. You can probably blame Google for this, as most of the bad behavior seems to have been built around the mass adoption of AdSense as an advertising platform.
There’s a reason for the epidemic known as banner blindness. People never liked banners and decided unconsciously to tune them out, focusing instead on the real content on the page. If you infer the same reaction to ads placed inside your content, you can imagine how unpleasant and interrupted the content consumption experience would be.
However, done correctly, ads inside content can be effective. This is where native ads come in.
So how are native ads different?
To extend the definition of native ads a bit. You can think of them as sponsored content designed to “blur the distinction between editorial and advertising in the eyes of the consumer”, according to Pilgrim Advertising. What this means, is that despite the ads being paid for, they are placed more carefully, with a heightened level of knowledge about where and how they are being used. The result is that they appear more like ‘useful supporting content that just happens to be paid for’. Read more about native ads.
The benefits of native ads
The infographic below was created based on a study to compare differences in behavior and perception between native ads and banner ads. Using eye tracking tools and surveys, the following insights were uncovered:
Native ads are more visually engaging: Native ads in the study were looked at 52% more frequently than banner ads.
Native ads drive higher brand lift: They registered a 9% lift for brand affinity and an 18% lift for purchase intent, compared to banner ads.
Native ads are more likely to be shared: 32% of respondents said they would share the ad content with a friend, compared to 19% for banner ads.
Native ads are consumed in the same way as the content they appear in: Consumers actually registered that they looked at the native ads slightly more than the content itself.