Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rethinking: Banner Ads and Ad Delivery Systems recently conducted a poll and asked "Of the ads you see in a typical day, how many engage your attention?" 66% respondents answered "a small minority of them", 25% none of them, 5% many of them and 1% most of them. Majority of the comments specific to web media banner ads say they're typically ignored. I agree...if it's not relevant, however creative, it will get a 1/2 a second glance. So it begs the question—should we continue to put our advertising dollars towards this media?

Of the ads you see in a typical day, how many engage your attention?

Innovative advertising systems recently published an article about how big brands are fearful of placing ads on social sites that will appear next to offensive and inappropriate content. Facebook, using a novel ad delivery systems called RockYou, assured giant marketers such as General Motors, VW and The Gap that this would not happen and has seemingly squelched that fear.

But we need to go beyond that. Take it a step further and allow consumers an option of what type of ads they want to see and how many. Keep it open-ended so they can change their selections at any time. Let your consumers choose if they want to see ads even down to a local level. It's all about empowering your audience and giving them choices.

Creative engagement

Beside strategic ad placement—content and how content is delivered is key. Flash banners are only as good as the design and content. But where's the creativity and interactivity? Create something wildly different. Pose an interesting question with a fun, interactive component. Challenge them, pique their curiosity. Allow users to vote, comment or share the ad. Include a random drawing to engage your audience even further. Just create a unique feature that stands out from the traditional banner ads. Pringles created a small, square banner ad that makes you want to consistently click on it...where it goes, I don't know. But it's definitely unique.

Post engagement
Now that you've converted your audience to followers, don't stop there. Several companies are rewarding their followers like Klymit, who rewards their Facebook followers with special discounts and early access to products. Starbucks recently offered Facebook fans 280,000 pints of ice cream where users can redeem a coupon or send one to anyone in their network. Crate & Barrel sent out a Crate & Barrel Product Review "A penny for your thoughts could win $1000 for your home" e-mail to current registrants for a chance to win a randomly-selected $1,000 shopping spree by posting comments on previously purchased items.

Take away
The opportunities are endless. Remember, it's all about your customers. Think creatively. Think interactively. Once you build traction, don't forget to empower and reward your loyal followers. And for social sites developing an ad delivery system, it's not just about contextually relevant placement, but also about empowering your audience and giving them choices.

Please feel free to share and add your own comments about this topic. Are there other examples you can think of?


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