“A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.”
After perusing the great posts within this blog’s “Banner Ads Best Practices” category, I figured a discourse on size might be in order. This is timely given the change in standards that recently debuted. When I first read about them, the quote above from David Ogilvy resurfaced in my mind. Let’s hop right in, shall we?
In late February, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released its first new standard ad unit portfolio since 2003. The major takeaway? Bigger is apparently better. The days of 300×250, 728×90, and 160×600 seem to be over (or at least related to back-seat status). While many of the sizes have been around for a while, creating a new official “standard” is an industry play to shake up the status quo. All parties involved seem to like the idea. Publishers think bigger CPMs, creatives think bigger canvas, and advertisers/media agencies think bigger IO options. Let’s take a quick look at the new IAB portfolio:
As with all great advertising, your eyeballs should be centered on the area of most importance. Here, the attention is definitely on the units considered “Best.” Boy oh boy, those suckers are big. Paraphrasing the great Stan Lee, with great canvas comes great responsibility. My worry is that many advertisers might go with the bright shiny new toy but not utilize it in the best way possible. But if you work with a great creative agency or internal resources, the bigger sizes could mean a better way to draw attention to your call to action or increase brand awareness. The point here is that the space gives more options for being aesthetically pleasing (or more of a chance to be just plain ugly) and communicating your message.
Obviously, the unique sizes (expandable or otherwise) aren’t necessarily available through exchange or remnant buying (at this point). This can mean guaranteed media buys and/or more expensive placements. But if the banner ad is imaginatively designed, efficiently placed, and quantitatively measured, there is no reason that a higher CPM is out of the question.
So, utilize banner ad best practices when conceiving and executing new units for your campaigns. Buy relevant, efficient media to present the ads. Measure results (early and often) and optimize where possible. Being successful at the above points could mean these larger banner ads can be an effective part of your display campaign.
Just like Mr. Ogilvy intended, don’t make the new banner ad sizes all about the bright, shiny new toy. Try not to let your message get lost in the pixel abyss.
About the Author
Sean Nowlin, the Senior Display Media Manager at PPC Associates, has over 10 years of experience in sales and marketing, including three years running display campaigns for Progressive Insurance. Sean, an Ohio native, has a wife, two children, and an unhealthy love of Cleveland sports teams.