Three Alternatives to the Traditional Display Ad (and Why You Should Consider Them)

advertising wide

Research suggests that regardless of their animation, color or subject matter, we are becoming blind to display ads. Even if we see them, we’re not clicking them. In fact, recent studies from the likes of DoubleClick and Solve Media have found some shocking stats revolving around display ads and clicks, namely…

  • The average click-through rate of display ads is 0.1%
  • 8% of Internet users account for 85% of clicks on display ads
  • You’re more likely to complete NAVY SEAL training than click a banner ad

Some of this disinterest and lack of engagement goes back to trust, as eMarketer reports 34% of users don’t trust banner ads much or at all. What does this mean for brands and digital marketers? It means it’s time to shake up your online marketing strategy. How can brands regain users’ attention (and clicks)? Check out our list of suggestions below:

Gamify in-app ads

app ads

There are a number of apps out there that have partnered with mPOINTS to keep users engaged and coming back. A great example is Nexercise. The exercise app not only keeps users moving and engaged by rewarding them with experience points (that can be used to enter giveaways or traded in for gift cards), it has also partnered with mPOINTS, giving users even more opportunites to earn points, not just through exercise, but by completing tasks. Users are presented with chances to earn more points by watching video ads from sponsors and by tapping on ads/deals from sponsors. The gamification makes users more likely to see and engage with ads.

Shake up typical display ad positions

display ad position

The templates and layouts of most sites are pretty similar. We’ve come to expect banner ads at the top of pages and display ads off in the right sidebar, and because of that we can more easily look past them for the content we want. Instead of sticking with these traditional positions, it might be time to shake things up. Mashable and VentureBeat have both experimented with this idea, placing ads within menus of content. It disrupts the flow of content slightly, but just to the point where users take notice of this out-of-place object. By inserting ads into unexpected places, you can get users looking at your ads once again.

Experiment with sponsored stories/posts

sponsored stories

Instead of switching up placement, it might be time to start examining alternatives, in the form of sponsored stories or posts. We’ve seen brands start to use this with Facebook’s newsfeed posts, and sites like Yahoo and VentureBeat are also introducing this sponsored content in-line with their normal content. The content is set apart slightly with different colors and text signifying that its sponsored, but because it’s in-line with normal content, users are more likely to notice it.