A New Take on Online Advertising

Not Your Older Brother’s Online Advertising

A recently designed SIPA banner ad (above) for the U.K. market led me to the website of InPublishing. It’s a massive all-media home base and knowledge center for magazines, newspapers, online, awards, suppliers, videos and podcasts. It’s nice to see one of SIPA’s own, Mayfield Solutions, as a “featured supplier” on their homepage. Also on the site is Jack Wallington’s excellent article about new forms of advertising. “Online advertising is the most accountable form of advertising in existence,” he writes. “However its accountability encouraged advertisers to concentrate on clicks as a success measure.”

Wallington argues that online advertising can be so much more, and that “brand building effectiveness” should not be overlooked as a goal—meaning an online ad can be successful whether drawing multiple clicks or not. It’s true that when SIPAlert Daily last reported on this subject—quoting a couple publishers who run ad-based models here in the Unites States—the emphasis was on telling advertisers how many impressions and click-throughs their ads are getting.

But Wallington sees five new key trends that have emerged in the online advertising world that de-emphasize the importance of clicks.

1. Brand building revolution. “Like TV, print, radio, outdoor and cinema, some of the best online ads are those that simply deliver a message. For instance, the likes of Cadbury or L’Oréal should be happy telling their consumers that a product is available using online ads without a click. Instead looking to traditional metrics like ‘propensity to purchase’, ‘brand favourability’ and, of course, sales as a measure of success.”

2. Larger ad sizes. Wallington writes that bigger screens have meant bigger ads. I checked a couple U.S. websites and he’s right. At Huffingtonpost, you’re greeted with a huge and luscious MSN ad; at Folio you see CDS Global almost before Folio; Kiplinger features an almost, across-the-page Prudential ad; and at the National Journal, it’s a group of beautiful rotating ads. “…these larger sizes make sense because they allow for clearer imagery and more impact. While you’d expect them to feel more intrusive, in most cases their dimensions feel natural—and even look stunningly beautiful—on today’s rich media web.”

3. Dynamic creative. “New advertising technologies from companies like Criteo make it easier for advertisers to make literally hundreds, even thousands of variations of the same ad to be better tailored to the user. It does this easily by drawing in information like products or pricing from a brand’s website or database within the ad itself. In combination with contextual or behavioural targeting, it’s entirely possible to make bespoke ads for hundreds of thousands of people while creating only one or two pieces of creative.”

4. Beautiful creative. Wallington writes that online ads have been criticized in the past for their limitations. No more. “As the barriers to creativity drop away and online ad creative improves with increased investment, so too will its performance.”

5. Direct response evolution. This one is most interesting perhaps because of the constant dilemma that information websites face: do we really want to take people away from our site? Wallington writes that “most advertisers can achieve their advertising objectives without taking the user away from the page they’re on…With new technology, it’s completely possible to host the same functionality of a website within an ad, thereby allowing consumers to interact and engage in the ad without being taken elsewhere.” He points to an O2 ad that “lets consumers order an O2 SIM card using a form in the ad.”

As some SIPA publishers consider ad-based–or, at least, ad-tinged–models, these new trends can only help push them in that direction.

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Speaking of the latest trends in Europe, there’s a very trendy way
to follow the SIPA Munich Conference that is going on as I write.
Simply go to Twitter and enter the hashtag #sipamuc.
SIPA members Bob Coleman and Florin Campeanu are among
the several tweeting their way through this interesting conference.

Judging from their photos, I believe I need a much cooler Twitter picture
if I’m going to tweet for June’s International Conference in Washington, D.C.

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