Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Banner Ads

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Despite the rise of more advanced forms of advertising such as so-called native ads that appear as seamless posts in social media feeds, the rectangular banner ad, which appears separate from the rest of a Web page's content, has survived over two decades, as of 2015. While critics of the banner ad deplore it for spawning cheap click-me sites, marring the usability and appearance of websites and tracking viewers' every movement, banner ads still appeal to advertisers for their relative simplicity and cost-effectiveness.

Ease of Setup and Use

  • As ad server AdSpeed notes, you can create a banner ad and post it to your website in a matter of seconds, without any technical knowledge of HTML, JavaScript or Flash. Unlike rich-media formats with complex coding, banner ads only require you to know the destination URL and the banner image location. Given the universality of banner ads and most ad servers' recognition of that format, it is relatively easy to set one up, as ad companies already have predefined banner prices and parameters. Compared to other media, banner ads give a large volume of impressions for little cost.

A Lesser Evil

  • Compared to other ad formats, such as popups or fly-ins, which appear at the center of the screen, banner ads are seen as one of the less obtrusive modes of online ad presentation. Hence, website visitors do not have as negative a reaction to a banner ad as they do to other ads. At the same time, as online advertising platform ExactDrive notes, people tend not to trust banner ads, seeing them as spam-like. It's up to the advertiser, then, to overcome these barriers by creating compelling banner ads that are creative, trust-inspiring and purposeful.

Familiarity Breeds Contempt: "Banner Blindness"

  • Banner ads have proliferated on the Internet since their first launch in 1994. Because people are so accustomed to seeing banner ads on websites, they learn to develop what AdSpeed calls "banner blindness," or the tendency to ignore banner ads. Alternately, when advertisers attempt to compensate for this by creating special effects on their banner ads, the latter serves to annoy and repel people further, resulting in lower click-through rates.

Formats: Static and Dynamic

  • Banner ads come in both static and dynamic forms, and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. With static banner ads, you're dealing with an easily-controlled, one-shot ad that can be presented on multiple channels. However, the static ad does not foster interaction with the viewer and can discourage repeat visits if the ad never changes. Dynamic banner ads with personalized content that changes with time and circumstance are more successful at converting viewers into customers, notes ExactDrive. On the downside, dynamic ads are expensive and require migrating from a product-centered approach to a customer-tailored one.

References

  • Photo Credit SirikulT/iStock/Getty Images
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