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The Online Publishers Association (OPA), following closely in the footsteps of the IAB, is hoping to spark a creative revolution of sorts in online display advertising. To that end, a number of the OPA's high-profile members will introduce three newer, bigger, and more interactive ad units this summer.
The ads are even taking a page from the content side of the online equation: each will feature a forward-to-a-friend button.
The three new ad units are:
Fixed Panel (336 x 860 - recommended ) Appears embedded into the page layout, scrolls up and down the page as following the user.
XXL Box (468 x 648), provides page-turn functionality and video capability, expandable to 936 x 648.
Pushdown (970 x 418), opens to display the ad, then rolls up to the top of the page (collapsed 970 x 66).
Participating publishers including CNNMoney.com, ESPN.com, Forbes.com, Condé Nast Digital, and NYTimes.com are expected to begin running the new units on July 1.
The OPA stated three other key goals for the new ad formats.
- Greater advertiser "share of voice" by increasing the ratio of ad space to editorial content
- Creating a new ad metric to measure the emotional impact of creative advertising
- Increasing consumers' ability to engage with brands
Both the OPA and the IAB have recently called for a renewed infusion of creativity in online display advertising in an effort to move away from the click metrics associated with direct marketing and into the perhaps murkier realm of metrics such as "branding" and "engagement." These new formats are a start, and given the vast consumer reach of the publishers involved, there's a fertile testing ground and plenty of eyeballs out there.
Time will tell. Perhaps the larger questions surround whether advertisers and agencies will embrace the new formats and be willing to pay the premium price that will doubtless be attached to them. As for the publishers, bigger, splashier, more interactive ad units carry with them the potential for increased ROI -- but also bear with them a risk of increased clutter.
Will the pages featuring these new units be stripped of other banners, boxes, text links and AdSense messaging? Guess we'll find out this summer.