Standard Size Banners Losing Ground

Although 80 percent of advertisers use the full banner in online campaigns, other ad formats account for a majority of impressions and garner far greater exposure on the Web, according to a report by AdRelevance.

Buttons (short, micro, medium, and tall) and different sized banners (half, short, and vertical) collectively make up 63 percent of all online ad impressions, while standard banners account for only 37 percent.

Other findings from the report include:

  • Full banner accounts for the largest number of ads per company (18.3 on average), it garners far less exposure than other ad types, when measuring impressions per ad. With the exception of the vertical banner, advertisers are running all ad formats longer than the full banner.
  • Most advertisers rely on buttons — short (25 percent), micro (16 percent), and medium (14 percent) — ahead of other banner sizes – half (14 percent), vertical (6 percent), and short (3 percent).
  • GIF animation is the most prevalent ad technology. On average, GIF animation is used in approximately 19 of every 25 ads per company and amounts to 58 percent of total impressions.
  • Advertisers create only 5 JPEG image ads that account for 40 percent of ad impressions.

“While the ubiquitous full banner continues to dominate when we look at the percentage of advertisers using it and sites supporting it, it’s interesting to note that advertisers are increasingly relying on other ad sizes and formats in their online campaigns,” said Charlie Buchwalter, vice president of media research for AdRelevance. “The latest AdRelevance data shows that smaller ad elements, such as micro buttons, short buttons and short banners, are garnering more exposure than the standard banner. While advertisers are creating more full banners than other types, the other ads account for the majority of impressions.”

Share of Impressions
by Ad Type
Ad Type Share of Impressions
Full banner 37%
Short button 19%
Micro button 18%
Half banner 16%
Medium button 4%
Tall button 4%
Short banner 1%
Vertical banner 1%
Source: AdRelevance

Ad sizes other than the standard banner also account for a majority of impressions among several individual industries: consumer goods, financial services, software, telecommunications, travel, Web media and retail advertisers.

The AdRelevance Report shows that not all industries have the same technological needs, especially when it comes to animation. The automotive industry, for example, uses image ads (50 percent of industry impressions) to show a visual of a vehicle, while the b-to-b industry relies on form ads (60 percent of industry impressions) more than other industries.

“It appears that while sites are making efforts to accommodate newer ad technologies, advertisers remain grounded in the old standards — simple animations and images,” Buchwalter said. “Although rich media is out there and growing, it has yet to surpass the popularity of animated GIFs and JPEG images. As broadband and other high-speed connection solutions become more readily available and online ad technologies mature, however, expect rich media to be a cornerstone of all ads.”

Among the newest technologies are streaming media ad campaigns, which were the subject of research by RealNetworks and Avenue A. The companies examined a RealNetworks ad campaign and found it achieved higher than average click-through rates.

The streaming campaign, which promoted and the latest version of RealNetworks software, achieved a CTR of 5.6 percent, more than 13 times the 0.42 percent industry average for banners. The rate of conversion (those who downloaded the software) was five times higher than that of previous RealNetworks campaigns.

Branding studies conducted by Millward Brown Interactive have found that consumers exposed to a streaming media ad are five times more aware of the advertiser’s ad and were 38 times more aware of the advertiser’s brand compared to banner advertisements.

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