No Longer A“Fat-Fingered” Mistake: Rethinking the Banner Ad

“It’s time for the banner ad to go!”

You’ve probably been hearing this for what feels like decades. Ever since the banner ad made its first appearance in 1994, we’ve been accidentally clicking on those pesky, flashing pictures for far too long.

As digital marketers migrate from desktop to mobile, designers and media planners are still scrambling to find ways to make banners less irritating, and more engaging for users. With mobile advertising budgets expected to triple in the next 3 years, advertisers are looking to differentiate themselves from just another picture at the bottom of a screen.

These days, the ad format with the greatest potential for growth is mobile video. It’s easy to throw out numbers and charts reiterating the immense embrace of mobile video ads (which is expected to reach nearly $6B by 2018), but you’ve heard all that before. Ad spend is the market’s way of telling you what you may be seeing more of, not how you’ll see it.

What’s worth noting is how advertisers and agencies are creating unique, interactive, and immersive experiences that reach beyond the mobile screen. Tapping into their Mad Men roots, creatives are experimenting with emerging technologies and new distribution models to help brands get in front of the user in an unconventional, nonintrusive way.

Here are a few innovative campaigns that really caught our attention within the last year:

  1. Social Media giants like Instagram and Snapchat embraced video ad units, but in a way that embodied a pleasing aesthetic in a curated fashion.
  2. Volkswagen: Eyes on the road executed by Ogilvy Beijing and created a fully immersive experience that extended straight from the small screen to a big one.
  3. 3D Ad Units are Amobee’s most recent innovation and work to translate our real-life perceptions into digital images, crafting a more interactive experience.

Up until now, mobile advertisers have been berated for creating mundane banner display ads that no one wants to click, but everyone always accidentally clicks. The frustration that comes with a slow loading, non-personalized, advertisement will drive anyone up the wall. It takes real ingenuity and creativity to formulate a unique experience on a four inch screen, especially in an industry that’s still trying to figure itself out. There are a select few that stand above the rest, and we can only expect to see more brands insert themselves into the mobile experience. How they do it, well that’s still to be determined.