Archive for Dave Zinman

How the Display Industry Wastes Billions of Dollars on Ads That Don't Work

Posted by Dave Zinman on June 26th, 2014 at 11:26 am

Display advertising revenue in 2013 reached $6.1 billion, according to VentureBeat. DG MediaMind puts the average banner ad response rate for 2011 and 2012 at a shocking .1 percent (and it hasn’t gotten any better this year). Only one tenth of one percent of all those billions spent is actually accomplishing its goal of customer engagement --approximately $6 billion wasted. What is the reason? And how can an industry, especially as large as this one, operate at .1 percent efficiency?
Firstly, at least 86 percent of consumers suffer from “banner blindness,” a retraining of brains and eyes to completely ignore advertising content while browsing online. It’s a widespread phenomenon of behavioral adaptation, proven time and again by eye tracking and heat mapping technology, which is already causing significant waste and is a real threat to the future of the entire display industry.
The display advertising industry can’t continue to operate under such dismal numbers. If display aims to survive for the long haul, especially in a media environment that evolves much faster than it did even 20 years ago, it will have to adapt to the way people currently consume media, rather than clinging to legacy methods.
At its core, banner blindness considers... Read more

The Best Monetization Mix

Posted by Dave Zinman on October 1st, 2013 at 11:23 am

For years now, Google AdSense has been the go-to solution for monetization. And why not? It’s easy to implement, it’s relatively effective, and it’s flexible, too. But publishers cannot survive on AdSense alone; to maximize revenue, publishers must supplement.
“Supplementation” can take on many guises. Many publishers will slot in first-party banner ads, or ad tags for third-party networks to leverage their demand sources.  Those with the resources to do it will offer overlays and other custom advertisements. Still others will offer sponsorships for their email newsletters or particular pieces of content. And then there are subscriptions, webinars, eBooks and other paid content solutions.
The best monetization mix for your site will be a unique blend of options that will vary based on your goals, your content, and your site design. But as you consider your options, here are some thoughts to keep in mind:

Google AdSense is a great place to start. It is reliable and easy to implement, and it can easily blend with the look and feel of your site. It is at least worth a try.
Be cautious if you go the banner route, especially if you’re going with third-party ads. Banners can very quickly muddy up the look and... Read more

Is Native Advertising the Cure for Banner Blindness?

Posted by Dave Zinman on March 19th, 2013 at 9:32 am

Alongside “social,” “mobile” and “RTB,” “native advertising” is probably one of the hottest buzzwords today. Native is viewed as a cure for a lot of what ails the online advertising industry. Ads that are unique to a particular site or platform by definition also tend to match the look, feel and voice of the site that hosts them. Native ads tend to be content-based, and, because they blend so neatly into the content that surrounds them, are likely to perform very well. It seems that native can address a lot of the issues facing our industry today – but is it a perfect solution?
I’ve spoken and written a great deal recently about the problem of Banner Blindness, which impacts advertisers and publishers alike. According to our own survey results, only 14% of consumers surveyed found ads served to them as relevant.  Half of the respondents never click on any ads, and 35% click on less than 5 ads a month. By the numbers, Banner Blindness adds up to fewer leads for advertisers and lower revenue for site owners.
A large part of the problem can be attributed to predictable placement. Display ads typically run as a leaderboard across the top of... Read more

Digital Publishing: Don’t Call It a Comeback Just Yet; Display is Broken

Posted by Dave Zinman on January 16th, 2013 at 10:27 am

Yes, I’m an Internet Old-timer, but surely I’m not the only one who remembers seeing the first banner ad for AT&T on Hotwired.com back in October 1994. Display advertising is 18 years old.  As the digital ad industry enters adulthood, it appears as though we’re training a whole new generation to ignore the very ads designed to keep our Internet free - a phenomenon called “banner blindness.” Despite comeback reports to the contrary and rosy analyst projections, I believe display advertising is fundamentally broken.
The way I see it, there are three big problems with display and three ways publishers can address them. After laying it all out, I’ll call out a publisher who is blazing a trail in best practices for addressing all of this.
Problem1: Expect Irrelevance. Good display ads are being crushed under the weight of tonnage. Take a look at premium publishing sites, or even some of the better special interest digital publishers, and you will see a lot of ads -- too many ads. Some are relevant to the reader. Most are not. And the most relevant ads are capped out after the first few impressions of the day. After that, a steady stream of online universities,... Read more

Relevance vs. Banner Blindness: A Battle Worth Fighting

Posted by Dave Zinman on October 15th, 2012 at 9:21 am

Let’s start with an inconvenient truth: banner blindness is a bigger problem in the online advertising industry than we are willing to acknowledge.  That’s because banner blindness isn’t limited to banners – it’s pervasive across most display advertising. And unless you own Google.com, display advertising is pretty much the meal ticket that pays for free online content.
So what’s caused the epidemic of banner blindness, and how can we fix it?
To start, the root causes of the problem are threefold:
Tonnage: This is the most obvious problem, and one that’s been identified time and time again – but it persists still. Frequently, publishers just put too many ads on a page in an effort to generate more revenue. Ultimately, it’s counterproductive. The more ads on a page, the less we notice them, and the less likely we are to click. It doesn’t serve anyone – least of all the online advertising industry.
Irrelevance:  It’s rare that display ads are relevant to your current online activities. There may be some useful retargeting and behaviorally targeted ads, but they’re often quickly capped out and likely to be buried under an avalanche of ads for dating sites, online universities and “one weird secret.”  Consumers aren’t likely... Read more