Just seen a comment on the Conspiracy forum saying “banner ads are dead” and we need to find new revenue models for publishers. I agree we must continue to find new models but equally it is not so much banner ads that are dead, it is how we have considered advertising that is dying.

Look at ads in 50s – “hi buy my product – it will make your hair nice and shiny” – would be laughed at today. So all we are seeing is adaption and change for a new culture. An interactive culture that talks-back and does not respect the pat answers from the kid in the shop, nor the advertiser. I would rather trust someone who has it and rated it, or looks cool with it and is my style guru.

People pay to wear Nike Tee-shirts. That is advertising, just that it goes under their radar and they do not realise it. And therein lies the trick. Obvious advertising in the majority of places simply does not cut it anymore.

In places like social network, maybe you need branded applications that assist the user in the “production” of content or perhaps content they can share with friends and make them look cool. The format of delivery is irrelevant here, it is “what” you are trying to achieve that matters – i.e. assist the user in doing something, not for them to go admire your pretty micro site.

Yet if I am reading an article on rainforests and there is an advert saying “come to rainforest” if my interest is piqued, naturally I will want to respond. Stick same advert within email environment and you will get different results.

If interest is piqued, then interactivity should allow experience or response in situation, not elsewhere – which changes adverts from being sign posts to useful portholes into relevant content without leaving where I am. People don’t want to click, anymore then getting off the bus on their way to work just cause a sign says “sale today” at their favourite store.

Consumers have changed over the last 10-15 years, it is about time we did.
Building brochure micro sites and pay-per-click worked a very, very long time ago…

So in short what I am saying is:

  • No, banner advertising is not dead – our understanding of advertising is.
  • Let’s STOP keep looking for a quick fix format and stop pushing out the same advert EVERYWHERE.
  • Design for the user environment, and let’s get over our ego expecting the user to leave their environment for yours.

It is “clicks” that are dead.