I may be in the minority, but I don’t mind banner ads. As I flip from site to site I even go so far as to check out what is happening in the banners … is there something funky, clever or over the top? How are the messages and media integrating? What does the landing page look like? Especially important to me is whether there is a story linking banner, landing and destination.
Of course, banners are a challenging form. They require very small file sizes and advertisers want to jam as much communication in as possible. And despite the fact that I actively seek out banner ads, my brain often overrides this and makes them invisible. I find this fascinating — it is like my brain has installed its own TiVo — the banners are there, no doubt — but they simply do not register.
In the ongoing battle for consumers online attention, new technologies such as pointroll have emerged as leading players in delivering rich media banners. There are a couple of reasons for this — the rich media interactions available through pointroll can turn an interruption into an opt-in engagment, the creative can be surprisingly good and they are still novel. But more compellingly, pointroll have turned the concept of measurement on its head — redefining the role and potential for banner ads in the media mix — moving away from simplistic measures such as "hits" or "impressions" and looking at "brand engagement" and "interaction rates". (Matt Dickman has a great answer to Mark Goren’s Question a Day on the topic of interaction rates for rich media advertising … be sure to check it out!).
I continue to believe that those of us involved in social media need to take a leaf out of the pointroll book and develop new metrics for what is, essentially, a new form of brand engagement. Technorati, Alexa and so on are great from an aggregation point of view, but they still fly too high. We all know that blogs and banners are doing a nice little dance for consumers … but when it comes to your brand — you really want to know whether you are dancing a waltz or a salsa.