Banner ads don’t work. Everyone knows it. The online advertising industry, however, doesn’t want to admit it.
Just a few days ago there was a big meeting of members of the Internet Advertising Bureau—a self-selected group of big web sites and ad banner hucksters, including Yahoo, AOL, DoubleClick and Excite.
These towering intellects have decided that the reason ad banners don’t work is that they’re not big enough. So they’ve decided on some new standards for ad banner sizes. 250×250 pixels.
Well, obviously if I have that staring me in the face I’ll have no option but to click through and buy the product. If you want a real example, look at C|net—I’ll certainly try not to from now on…
There’s also a new 120×600 humongo-ad they’ll be crapping all over web pages; I’ll spare you a demo of that one. The new ads contribute an extra 6K each to the size of the page. At modem speeds, that’s an extra second or two per ad on the load time, assuming the Internet’s not congested. I can hardly wait—or rather, I’m going to have to.
Still, I can’t help thinking that they’re missing something. Monday I actually saw something interesting mentioned on a banner ad. I clicked on it, and got… a completely blank page.
In this case, I hunted down the web site of the company paying for the ad, and sent them a note to tell them that they were being ripped off by their advertising agency. But the point is: If advertising agencies want to increase the effectiveness of banner ads, they could be a little less obnoxious and aggressive and demanding, and start by making sure the damn things actually work.