Is The Banner Ad Dead?


In 1999 I read an article whose title was “Banner Ads Are Dead”. The author

While click through ratios have fallen quite a bit over the years, effective ad graphics combined with targeted placements can still provide a fairly good CTR. We have a legal SEO client that runs a series of targeted banners on his golfing portal that achieves a consistent 3% click through ratio, and we regularly create banners that do better than 1% CTR.went in to great detail about declining click through ratio’s, the high cost and limited effectiveness of banner advertising, and advent of more effective ways to advertise on the ‘Net. More than a year later banner ads are still the most prominent way to advertise on the Web through digital marketing.


And while traditional 468×60 banners CTR’s have declined significantly over the past few years, new developments such as the side panel sponsorship ads (like the 150×800 ad that runs down the right side of ZDNet’s main page) can produce excellent results. These types of sponsorship ads give advertisers the opportunity to feature multiple products, tell a more detailed story, and since they are vertical, keep the ad in front of the viewer’s eyeballs for an extended time.

125×125 pixel ads and 120×60 pixel ads can also be an effective way to present ad graphics as an alternative to 468×60 banners. These smaller ads produce better CTR’s in many cases as visitors to a site will not “tune out” these alternative sized ads. Even the 88×31 sized buttons are worth considering.

Another huge benefit of running graphical ads on the Web is Branding (create brand awareness). Interactive conducted a survey for the Internet Advertising Bureau that showed that brand awareness of participating companies increased an average of 5% and that 49% of participants recalled seeing a given ad banner on a particular site. Branding is a key component of building a product or service – consumers are much more likely to buy from a brand they have heard of Previously than one they haven’t.

In the same survey the majority of respondents said that they approve of banner ads compared to single digit approval ratings of email advertising. This is an important factor of banner advertising as this indicates that the audience is not predisposed unfavorably to banners, as they are to emailed ads. An Andersen Consulting survey found that banners were twice as effective as newspaper ads, magazines ads or TV commercials at driving buyers to online stores.

So we are three quarters of the way through the year 2000 and the banner is definitely not dead. If it is indeed dying I think it’s safe to say that graphical ads in one shape or form will be with us for some time to come.

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