The Value of Banner Ads

There was news from the popular company called Yelp recently, which shocked some marketers.  Despite reporting display advertising income valuing more than eight million dollars last year, the company has decided to phase out the advertising form.  This message was delivered in a second-quarter meeting. The problem is that the number, though significant, is not as great as it was in 2014.  In the same quarter last year, the profits from display ads were much greater.  Banner advertising has been under attack from several experts in recent years, yet there is still an argument to be made for the ad form.

For a short time banner ads did as promised – they drove traffic.  The concept was simple, entice a person with a banner ad running across the screen and they would click through to the designated webpage.  They were considered the interactive billboards of the digital age.

Unfortunately, click through rates quickly plummeted as people were inundated with increasing numbers of ads.  However, while some would consider that the end of the banner ad era, others have embraced the change.

With the falling click through rates, those selling the ad spots were forced to reduce the prices.  Thus, it is now possible to buy an ad banner for very little.  Of course, the CTR is horrible, so you can’t do this with the expectation that you will drive the audience to your website.  Instead, look at the alternative value of the advertising option.

Before we do that, though, consider some of the other opportunities.  There are certainly other types of display ads that have proven to provide better click through rates.  However, there is also concern about these ads, because so many people are web surfing from mobile devices today.  It is important to have fast page load.  Not only is that important for the website developers, but also for the advertisers.  Unfortunately, many sites are taking much longer to load than was expected.  Some theorize that the slow speeds can be blamed on ad tech companies delaying the load and thereby extending the bidding process for the ad space.   While they make out better for raising the rates on the advertising space, the marketers and the web developers are often left with unimpressed consumers.

Is the banner ad a better alternative?  Maybe you shouldn’t choose one or the other, but rather use them for different purposes.  The banner ad is an excellent tool for those who want to improve brand recognition.  It’s a cheap way to achieve repeat impressions.

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