Banners aren’t going anywhere, but publishers are busy trying to remake them into something more interesting — and that advertisers will pay more for them than the rock-bottom rates available in programmatic ad buying.
For some sites, that means rethinking the page. Gannett, for example, eliminated 47 percent of its ad slots in its September 2012 redesign of USAToday.com. At the same time, IDG Consumer & SMB took a “less is more” approach, removing two to three standard display ads per page. It instead rolled out what it’s calling “the content hero” on TechHive, PCWorld and Macworld. The oddly sized unit, which is 1130 x 500, takes over the site on the homepage and highlights the advertiser’s offering. The unit sits on top of editorial content for the first eight seconds of the user’s visit. It then reduces in size and leaves the brand logo on the site.
“By taking fewer ads, we thought it was risky because eliminating ads means we may lose money,” said Brian Gleason, chief revenue officer at IDG TechNetwork and IDG Consumer & SMB. “But [this] proves larger units, more impactful units that can fit in with the design of a page without taking away from the user experience is being welcomed on both sides.”