We get it… clicking on a website and seeing your brand front-and-center in the form of an old school banner ad is a rush and a quick check-off the marketing list. But in reality, what are you really gaining from the use of this dated platform? Performance levels continue to dip and we, as a society, have grown so used to banner ads, we don’t even see them. According to Hubspot, the average internet user is exposed to 1,700 banner ads in a given month. From those 1,700, only 8 percent of web traffic is accounting for 85 percent of the clicks.
Translation: the Old-School banner ads, the standard ad units appearing on the top, bottom and sides of a given website, is white noise being clicked on by a fraction of the online universe.
When it comes to phones and tablets, we all know that story – old school banner ads are clunky on mobile devices. These type of ads suffer on mobile because they’re a platform with origins on a PC. To think a banner will perform the same on either platform is short sided at best.
Marketers wanting to reach this audience need to up their digital game and think mobile. In 2015, Mobile device usage has officially overtaken the PC at 51% to 42% respectively per Smart Insights. We as a society are mobile device obsessed. The Millennial generation is the first group to live in a world where mobile technology became the norm and, as evidenced in our latest millennial insights above, shape their entire perception.
So let’s stop and think about this. If you want to reach Millennials, which represent 65 million people and trillions of dollars in purchasing power, who grew up with the mobile web and less on the PC web- why would dumping money into old-school banner ads, a traditional PC method, make sense?
Short answer – it doesn’t. And the major technology conglomerates, Apple and Google, are taking notice of this fact. Google and Apple are themselves keeping up with consumer demand. That demand from Millennials is a faster mobile experience with better performance. To achieve this, developers are reducing code on the website that isn’t imperative to the site’s overall function – potentially affecting advertisements.
Recent software changes are, in essence, forcing marketer’s hands when it comes to how they use digital media. Google’s Chrome browser, which represents 25% of the search engine marketplace, announced last month it will begin blocking Internet ads that use Adobe’s Flash technology- a move that will likely prompt advertisers to abandon the video format entirely according to Tech Crunch.
According to Google, Flash has powered a large portion of online banner and video ads over the past 20 years, but Google says the format increases page-load speeds and device battery consumption, and generally degrades user experience. As a result, the company will now “pause” Flash ads by default within its Chrome browser, meaning users will have to click on the ads to have them play. Remember the 1,700 banner ads a month comment… many of them use Flash. Are you clicking on all of those to get them playing? Chances are, neither will your customer.
As for Apple, the mobile device giant will unveil during its latest operating system roll-out (Ios9) an option for developers working on the brand’s flagship Web Browser Safari to block certain types of content. These content elements include cookies, images and… you guess it, pop-ups. This means that users who download content blocker applications from the app store could remove all advertising and trackers from their web experience.
Now to Apple’s defense, the company said this update isn’t targeted at advertisers – just at code that’s not necessary for mobile browsing. However, it absolutely impacts marketing professionals because now – the consumer can choose to block your messages.
So what can advertisers do to avoid this?
The good news with Apple is some ad units like native advertising and pre-roll video won’t be affected by the update. For our agency, this is exactly where we’re steering our clients. Video marketing and native ads are a perfect balance of engaging content consumer audiences like Millennials demand. A new study from Microsoft revealed that the average attention span of a human being in the developed world is approximately eight seconds. That means your digital advertising has to be on-point, work fast, be nimble and grab attention.
With the proliferation of HD video cameras like the Go-Pro and similar devices, marketers can capture engaging video to serve this role. Millennials respond to instant gratification – they have grown up in a world where they hardly ever say “no.” Think of terms of YouTube… video doesn’t need slick production to garner their attention. In fact, it should be easily shareable across social media channels meaning a smaller file sizes for download and added capacity for hosting. Native social ads strike the balance between content and advertising where marketers can convey their message but offer value to the end-reader. Millennials are skeptical by nature because of the saturation of ad messages they’ve received since birth. A well-crafted native ad can grab their attention, offer insight and be viewed as a resource versus an ad.
You aren’t late to the party with Millennials… but it’s time to take them serious. That first step? Stop with the old-school banner ads and think mobile.
Apple is saying it.
Google is saying it.
We’re saying it.
Now, I want you to say it:
Spread the word.