The Rise and Fall of The Banner Ad

The Rise and Fall of The Banner Ad

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As we're increasingly discovering, there are many better and more effective ways to advertise than banner ads.


The death knell for the banner ad is tolling and few are lamenting its decline. Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times certainly isn’t shedding any tears.

The advertising design has for years assaulted site visitors with “Click Me!” shout-outs, dare ad tactics, and slow website loading times.

There’s something to be said for its influence on the history of the web. For the past twenty years the banner ad has, in a way, dictated how the web has evolved. Back on Oct. 27, 1994, the website HotWired (now Wired) set in motion the advertising revolution. It had 14 companies launch banner ads on the site, which included MCI, Volvo, Club Med, 1-800-Collect, AT&T, and Zima. Wired recalled on the banner ad’s sweet 16 that AT&T’s first ad read: “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here? You will.”

It was a success that allowed companies to monetize pages and expand across the web. The companies selling the ads could now know how many people clicked on the ad link or saw the page. This direct ad-to-purchase transparency led to advertisers learning how effective banner ads really were, and they weren’t. This meant advertisers could get a seat at the top of the page for a bargain price. But in order for site owners to turn a profit, there needed to be a change in business model – page views became paramount to the success of the website. Traffic numbers became the life-blood of editors and content creators.

Read the full article here.

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