The banner isn't dead. It's resting. It's pining for the fjords.
Down in the "Silicon Holler" of Mt. Sterling, KY, CEO Steve Mansfield of iLOR KY LLC is preparing to put 5,000 volts through the banner using a technology he calls the "Banner Console."
The Banner Console is activated with a single line of code that calls on iLOR's servers in Dallas, TX. Those servers add four commands to your ad that pop up periodically and when someone moves a mouse over the ad.
The commands read "Check ad later," "Check ad now -- anchor here," and "Open in new window."
The first command places the ad in a separate window, which can be clicked through at leisure. The "anchor" command opens a new window that guarantees a user can return to a page after using the ad. The third command, like the HTML "target" command, opens the ad's destination in a new window.
The technology is based on research iLOR conducted over the last year; the research indicated that many people don't click on banners because ads interrupt their train of thought and because they're afraid of getting lost.
In initial tests with the DoubleClick network, the Banner Console got anywhere from two to nine times the average click-through of 0.3 percent -- depending, of course, on the quality of the creative and the offer DoubleClick rode with.
"Many people in the industry aren't asking users what they want. They make ads bigger, louder, and more interactive. Our research shows people don't want that. They want ads that are less intrusive and more helpful," Mansfield said.
While the Banner Console could awaken the dead parrot of banner advertising (it also runs on any and all other ad formats), it's just one implementation of iLOR's technology.
Check it out for yourself on the iLOR home page using the Google search engine. Input any item into the search box, and when you roll your mouse over each result, you'll see a mini-window, or "skin," with four commands on it.
These commands are similar to those used in the Banner Console. You can open the link in the taskbar or in a new window, put the link in a list, or retain an anchor on the search page.
The "List" command opens the same box you'd open with the "Check ad later" command in the Banner Console. In fact, the same box can hold both advertising and research links. The links in the box can be removed, emailed, or added to your bookmarks (or favorites) with a single click.
Best of all, the "skin" can be customized. Users can do this by clicking the "My Lor" button next to the search box. Use a standard design or create your own.
Advertisers can customize a "skin" as well, meaning they can carry their branding message with purchased search results, in context, for as long as a user needs them.
This is pretty cool stuff coming out of a small town 35 miles east of Lexington near I-64. (The founders are all University of Kentucky alums.) The company name, by the way, is short for "Internet Lore," or "knowledge acquired from education or experience."
This is also proof of something I've said for some time. There's a lot more in the Internet's heaven and earth than is dreamt of in your philosophy. And you have no Clue where that inspiration may come from.
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Dana Blankenhorn has been a business reporter for more than 20 years. He has written parts of five books and currently contributes to Advertising Age, Business Marketing, NetMarketing, the Chicago Tribune, Boardwatch, CLEC Magazine, and other publications. His own newsletter, A-Clue.Com, is published weekly.
March 19, 2014