Banner advertisements have become commonplace and marketers have noticed their effectiveness for direct response fading significantly over the years. People don't respond to them as they once did. At the same time, interruptive or intrusive practices --- like pop-ups (define) and free iPod giveaways -- have subsided, giving way to a more mature approach to banner advertising. If direct-response advertisers seek results in today's landscape, they must step up their game to make an impact. This can be accomplished a number of ways including jazzing up creative executions with Flash or video components in unexpected ways. But is this truly enough?
Fact is, the online space is irrevocably crowded. This works out well for us agency folks because it's our job to carve out a niche for clients and serve their messages to their intended audiences. This keeps us on our toes and sometimes at the office late at night. However, when crafting eye-catching campaigns, advertisers must resist the temptation to take them over the "smoke and mirrors" threshold to a place where users can no longer link the message back to a brand. If it gets to that point, the question then becomes: you've got their attention; now what?
Direct Response and Video Banner Ads
To cut through the online clutter and elicit valuable user information, marketers must integrate direct-response platforms into banner advertisements. Sparked by the lure of video ads, these banner ads have built in data collecting components and back-end analytics, so advertisers can generate actionable data for clients that can directly translate into online or offline sales. While this concept has been kicked around for a while, marketers have struggled with merging the utilitarian lead form with enticing creative within the confines of standard banner sizes. By marrying the appeal of online video with the lead-generation abilities of direct-response tactics, marketers can have the best of both worlds.
Part One: Video
Video content stands out against static text and images, so if marketers can incorporate video into their banner advertisements, they have a better chance of reaching users. Another way advertisers can maximize their video banners is to make certain it reflects larger campaigns and corporate branding. With video, it's easy to go overboard when crafting an attention-worthy campaign. And when an ad gets too creative or too far out there, users have a hard time deciphering what they are supposed to do, where to go, or what to buy. Creative executions needs to be unique while staying relevant and branded.
Part Two: Direct Response
The direct-response component of this equation works best in the middle or at the conclusion of a video stream. If placed in mid-roll or after a teaser, consumers sign up so they can watch the rest of the video. Used at the end, consumers have a better understanding about what they are opting into -- which can help marketers ease them into completing a form because most people are wary about doling out personal information.
Future of Video Banner Ads
The online competitive arena isn't going to get any less crowded anytime soon. Sure there may be less money to go around and every dollar spent will be scrutinized, but consumers are online and advertising will follow. Online video will continue to be a part of this space as well. As consumers become more accustomed to video ads, marketers will have to explore additional ways to get their message out. Integrations like direct-response video banner ads are one way that advertisers can make the most of every placement because it translates what has worked in the past into where the space is going. And it affords marketers the leeway to be a little creative while they're at it.
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An online advertising veteran for over 12 years, Roell was a cofounder and chief Web strategist for Prime Player, the Internet's first portal for sports participation. He earned his MBA from the University of San Diego, graduating magna cum laude. He earned a bachelor's degree in international business from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, which recruited the professional soccer player from his native Karlsruhe, Germany, to play for the UNLV Rebels.
Roell sits on Interactive Advertising Bureau's online lead generation board and is a frequent industry expert with such media outlets as Fox News and NBC. He's an active angel investor and frequently functions as advisor to early-stage technology companies. He is president of the San Diego Advertising Federation and was named one of San Diego's Top 40 Entrepreneurs Under 40.
March 19, 2014