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Why We (Still) Believe in Banners

By Chris Wilson, former CEO of Joystick Interactive

Better banners mean better experiences

When I tell people I work in digital advertising, the response is often something along the lines of “oh, those pop-up ads?” combined with subtle undertones of annoyance as they remember those ad experiences.

I believe this reaction has become the universal experience for everyone within our industry. Despite our best efforts to make the most of the medium, a stigma still exists.

I am here today to tell you that the future of online advertising is alive and well. We just need to collectively do our part — and that starts with focusing on building better experiences for the viewer.

That experience begins with doing more with the technology available and being more creative in the way it’s applied. Great banner advertising — whether display, rich media, native ads or anything else — has always been about creating the right mix of art and science.

Today, we have tremendous opportunity with the science aspect of display ads. We can target consumers directly, based on multitudes of data to ensure ad relevancy. We can differentiate messaging with endless levels of variation. In short, we can make the experience more interesting and more personal than ever before.

If you take away one thing, remember this: It’s all about engagement.

The digital space has always offered us new tools and technologies for experimentation, and more importantly, connection. Now, we’ve reached a golden age where we can TRULY offer the real, immediate value of a message without interrupting the relationship to content. Which means having one to one conversations with PEOPLE , (not users) where brands can provide a useful experience or info and ideas they actually need. Actually taking advertising to its logical next step and realizing the dream of the medium.

Which brings us to the Art. For all of the technology we unleash daily across the web, it’s only as good as the interest you pique via the creative. When you think of the huge opportunity there is to connect with people, we need to make sure these micro moments surprise and delight, day after day.

We’ve seen some great strides toward creating a frictionless ad experience and continue to work with our partners to do just that. Here are some examples:

AMP: Ads that load as fast as the page, providing a smooth user experience and increased user engagement. You can read more on that here.

Native: Ads that aren’t an interruption, and instead enhance the content you’re reading.

Conversational messaging: Using artificial intelligence alongside one-to-one messaging creates a dialogue in a quick and easy way, while keeping them engaged with the content they want.

VPAID: Enables rich interactive in-stream ad experiences, that can be thoughtfully paired with amazing creative.

We believe that digital advertising needs to evolve in a way that takes the participatory nature of the internet and applies it toward creating new ways for brands to have a conversation with their audience. One that is relevant and timely. One that gives them enjoyment and/or the information they need instead of just a few catchy lines and a CTA. We need to give them the experience they deserve.

It’s time for industry to put their faith back in banners. We’ve never lost it. And it’s why we’re dedicated to helping publishers, agencies, ad platforms, and brands turn the opportunity into a cool, meaningful experience for all.

We’d love to hear your experiences in making the most of your digital advertising as experiential micro moments. Reach out with your thoughts or write to me directly.

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