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The changing shape of web advertising

by Giles Turnbull -- 2000/11/07

Think of web advertising, and you think of banners. But banners are being pushed out by other ideas - shorter, smaller, weirder ideas for adverts are becoming more popular.

According to a report by AdRelevance, a spin-off of Jupiter/Media Metrix, alternative ad formats have started to make up the majority of ad impressions.

What's more, they seem to get better results.

The most common advert style is buttons - things that look more like the other things on a web page. Perhaps that's why they are more likely to be clicked on, because it is easier to fool users into thinking they are navigation options.

For a long time, the problem with banners was that they simply stood out too much. If you weren't one of the vast majority who just stopped noticing them, you went out in search of software that would notice them for you, and strip them out before you had to see them.

The changing habits of advertisers throws up some interesting questions.

The most important for web creators being, how does this free me up in terms of web design?

For too long, many sites have been built with a blank space at the top of the page, with just the right dimensions for a banner. But if banners are fading out, that space need not be there.

In fact, it might be better to start from a different angle. Build your site the way you want it to be, with your chosen design. Then let the advertisers fit around it.