By: Cortland J. Fondon
Anyone who has ever spent more than a few minutes on the Internet is no doubt familiar with the concept of banner advertisements. These ads typically take the form of a graphic located at the top or along the side of the website content a user was trying to view. In the past, banner ads usually were marketing tactics designed to push products that were related to the content on the page in some way. If a user was looking up movie reviews, for example, one banner ad on the page might contain information about a similar movie that is now available on Blu-ray or DVD home video disc.
As marketing tactics in the digital realm evolved, banner advertisements in general quickly began to feel out of place. Thanks to search engine algorithm changes like Google’s own Panda, content providers needed to eschew general content and move into a much more niche oriented direction. As a result, it was difficult to pin down exactly where the banner advertisement for a particular product should go for the maximum level of effectiveness.
This issue was only compounded by the fact that newer and more advanced methods of digital advertising were moving to the forefront. Instead of using banner advertisements at all, for example, marketers might use programmatic tactics like an email campaign to alert users to the fact that they had left items in a digital shopping cart on a merchant’s website. Banner advertisements remained a constant presence on the Web, but they were starting to feel more and more like the product of an era that had long since passed.
Reports of the death of banner advertisements have been greatly exaggerated, however, thanks largely to the types of programmatic and automatic advertising techniques that many predicted would replace them altogether. Almost in an instant banner advertisements went from feeling passé to becoming an invaluable tool in the arsenal of digital marketers once again.
Programmatic has definitely saved the banner advertisement, but not necessarily by replacing it. Instead, programmatic essentially absorbed the banner advertisement and instantly made it necessary and relevant once again.
In today’s modern technological environment, banner ads are an important tool in any programmatic advertising campaign. When a user visits a digital storefront and browses products, for example, a record of those interactions are stored on the user’s computer in the form of cookies.
When the user navigates away from that site and towards other content that they’re looking for, they are no longer greeted by completely irrelevant banner ads. Instead, the banner ads are now featuring products that have been targeted for that specific person based on their recent on their recent online habits. If a person was previously looking for stereo equipment, for example, the next banner ad that they see may have the same make and model of stereo featured prominently. Banner advertisements are now a great way to always keep products front and center in the minds of shoppers everywhere, which is something that is only possible thanks to advancements in programmatic advertising