This is a corrected version of the original post.
A number of creative online display ad formats have surfaced to shake consumers out of our banner-induced slumbers. In fact, a new study published this week by AdweekMedia/Harris reconfirms that banner ads are the Internet ads most likely to be ignored.
New ad units aren't as easy to avoid. Here are a few emerging and increasingly common display ads offering more interactive, in-your-face — and even useful — features.
Capturing users with CAPTCHA ads
You know that CAPTCHA gibberish you have to type on a website to prove you're human? One company has figured out a way to monetize this necessary-but-tedious security measure.
Leap Marketing Technologies recently launched a video ad platform called Engage
, based on its NuCaptcha
security platform. Unlike old-fashioned CAPTCHA technology, these CAPTCHA tests are videos with a moving banner of text, which could be used to sell advertising or promote a brand (for example, Clubvibes.com
uses it for promotional material).
"We all know that no one's really paying attention to banners,” said Michel Giasson, CEO and co-founder of NuCaptcha. "With this Engage process, the user has to interact with the ad. Writing or typing what you see actually increases your brand recall by a factor of 10 or more."
NuCaptcha is also easier to read than some other CAPTCHA technologies, claiming a 97 percent success rate to capture. Since Leap launched its original platform in June, the technology has been implemented on more than 3,500 websites.
With the Engage platform, publishers can customize the size or add a capability to launch a microsite when a mouse hovers over the frame. They can also choose how long to make a video before the CAPTCHA appears (like basic pre-roll on Web video).
"The key here is you can actually confirm that somebody has watched it because they need to see the entire video in order to receive the CAPTCHA," he said.
Advertising rates are set by publishers, but Giasson said they're seeing a standard of $10 to $25 CPM
as well as “cost per engagements” of 10 cents to $1. Right now the cost for Engage is based on a negotiable percentage revenue share, though NuCaptcha is also open to license fees for publishers who don't want to use advertising (and instead use the video for cross-promotion). The company plans to move toward being an ad network for publishers who don't want to direct sell the NuCaptcha video, he said.
While they are just starting to dip into working with magazine and newspaper publishers, Giasson sees it as a big opportunity for media companies to monetize space that's never been monetized before. “It really provides a perfect advertising opportunity,” he said.
Putting coupons in ads
Sean Smyth, Groupon's vice president of business development, boasted that Groupon is better than remnant advertising for publishers. “We actually think we're turning advertising on its ear," he said.
Whether exclusive or part of Groupon's regular local offers, Groupon provides a revenue share of about 10 percent (depending on volume) back to publishers.
Digital coupons in general will likely only get bigger as a revenue stream for publishers with the advent of location and mobile-based capabilities. Digital coupons grew five times faster this year than old-fashioned clip-out coupons, according to stats from one digital coupon company: Coupons.com
reported 57 percent growth in coupon distribution in the first nine months of this year compared to last year.
Rich media ads get richer
Rich media ad units have gone beyond multimedia to feature more interactive content. For instance, marketing company Iron Horse Interactive
offers an Adverguide
, which is an ad unit with a built-in recommendation engine. For example, SAP has offered an adverguide with a questionnaire about “finding the mobile solution for you.” (Correction: An earlier version of this incorrectly used an example of a Target ad that never ran.)
And here is an Adverguide unit from Dell:
Advertisers like to gain insight from these ad units, such as preferences and purchasing styles compared by sites, said Uzair Dada, CEO and managing partner of Iron Horse. He noted it's another example of bringing information to customers where they are, rather than making them come to you.
Other interesting ad unit examples include integrations with social media. AdGentDigital's Tweetology
widget can curate “brand-safe” tweets for publishers and brands. The unit can be sponsored by an advertiser.
For instance, Tweetology just began working with radio broadcasting company Radio One, selling sponsorships for Tweetology under a revenue-sharing agreement. Advertisers can buy sponsorship on a geographical basis.
It's clear that display ad units are getting bigger
and/or more interactive. Media companies such as Yahoo and AOL
have embraced big, bold ads incorporating rich media. Hearst
realized its rich media ad units were so good at housing advertising content that they decided to use them for editorial content too. Rich media ads are an attempt from publishers to get people talking about ads ― and hopefully not just about how they're annoying.