Advertisers typically pay more money for larger ads, but as it turns out, brands may want to save their money when it comes to buying ads that grab viewers' attention.
According to a new study by Dynamic Logic, trusty half banners and rectangles integrated into the content of a website still perform best online.
Ad effectiveness still comes down to the quality of creative, but with display ads, integrating advertising into editorial content may be more important than simply ratcheting up the size of an ad.
Advertisers are forever looking for disruptive formats to combat the prevalence of banner blindness onilne, but bigger doesn't always mean better.
According to Dynamic Logic, placement is more important. Smaller ads integrated into the copy of a web page are more effective at driving consumer awareness than skycraper and leaderboard ads that frame the page.
The ad-effectiveness measurement firm looked at 2,390 online display campaigns that took place over the past three years and found that half banners (234 x 60) and rectangles (180 x 150) performed best.
According to Ken Mallon, senior VP-custom solutions at Dynamic Logic, "It's generally thought that bigger is better when it comes to ad sizes. But the study is saying 'We're not sure.'"
However, good creative is still more important than both size and placement. And the new bigger and more dynamic advertising that publishers are currently testing to get readers' attention have not been around long enough to be included in the study. Mallon tells MediaPost:
"We continue to believe that creative quality is the most important factor driving the success of online advertising. However, it will be interesting to see how the new, larger ad formats that publishers are beginning to debut will rank next to the more traditional online ad formats. Based on the current data, bigger doesn't always mean better, but these new ad formats are quite unique and we look forward to testing them."
Ad formats will continue to change as brands and publishers try to attract viewers' attention online. But one thing seems apparent. A reliance on Flash is not helping online.
The study found that rich media ads with video had the strongest brand impact, while ads made with simple Flash were the worst performers.
Unfortunately, Flash is still the format used most often by agencies and advertisers.
Image: Dynamic Logic