Raise a Banner or Go Native?

Banner ads came first. In fact, the very first online ads were AT&T banner ads placed on Hotwired.com way back in in 1994! (Really, click on this link, it’s pretty amazing to see how the “World Wide Web” looked in 1994!)

The term native ad didn’t even exist until 2011, but by 2018 had overtaken banner ads to claim 56% of US online advertising. Studies have shown native ads perform better than banner ads, and clearly native ads have momentum, but that doesn’t mean banner ads are going away any time soon. Both types most likely have a place in your programmatic digital plan. Let’s define both…

Banner Ads
Banner ads are technically just one size (468×60 pixels) of display ad, but the term is commonly used for all display ads because early display ads were always a “banner” shaped box at the top of a web page. Today the terms banner ad and display ad are used almost interchangeably and these ads can appear in multiple sizes, in many locations on a web page. What they all have in common is that there is usually type and a visual, the sales message is strong, and the ad hyperlinks to an entirely different website. Many banner ads have a video or are interactive in some way.

Native ads
Native ads, on the other hand, are chameleons! They are placed within web page content and resemble that content to a great degree. They appear to “belong” on the webpage with an editorial appearance and a soft sell. A native ad might also appear like a listing in the results page of a search engine such as Google, or as a sponsored post in a Facebook or LinkedIn news feed.

No clear winner … yet
As mentioned earlier, native ads perform better—studies show they are viewed 52% more than banner ads, have higher click-through rates (.2% for native vs .05% for banner) and are more easily viewed on a mobile device. However—much like pop-up ads before them—as native ads become more and more prevalent, people are finding them obtrusive and could possibly form a negative association with the brands they advertise.

For now, smart media buyers are using sophisticated programmatic planning and buying software to craft digital plans that include both banner and native ads as we figure out how the online advertising landscape of tomorrow will look.

To hear more about the plethora of digital options available—and learn what we see on the ad horizon—give us a shout!