With the fifteenth anniversary of the banner ad's debut occurring last month, we thought it would be a good time to ask our art director, Jeremy Williams, for some quick thoughts on the past and future of the display ad.
My general take on the first 15 years of banner ads is the very first banner ads were pretty crummy. Animated gifs are the first banner ads I remember having to build, consisting of 8 to 10 different frames, to be used to build these really underwhelming little banners. That was the worst part of those early banners is they were so archaic. No one really put a lot of design into them.
Going forward, the biggest thing with them now, I think, is that they are more cross-sell. Obviously more flash is available for browsers. You're going to be getting a lot more creative with banner ads. A lot more banners, for example, are using takeover, where they grow and fill up more of the page. The banners are now and will continue to have more creativity driving them, although there are still a lot of crummy banner ads out there.
They are probably not as widely popular as they used to be because back when they first started, banners were all the rage because there really wasn't anything else. Now with Google Analytics and the like, advertisers don't necessarily need them as much as they did when they first debuted. Done right, however, they can still be effective.
[Contributed by Emily Carroll]