Display Ads Still a Work in Progress

Published: September 6, 2011

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Displays ads were seemingly moribund until Google, a few years ago, decided to push harder. It bought such assets as DoubleClick, AdMob, Invite Media and most recently AdMeld, to take advantage of the growth opportunities it believes exists with this format.

To a certain extent Google succeeded, although as recent figures show there is still much room for improvement.

Now, another giant tech company – Microsoft – is stamping display with its own new lineup of products.

It is rolling out new tools and introducing partnerships with such companies as AppNexus and MediaMath this month, according to Bloomberg. New features for Atlas, for example, will show viewers see ad copy for their region and ensure they don’t see the same ad too many times.

What Impact?

The impact these new offerings will have on the industry as a whole are likely to be muted, though, if Google's example can be believed.
Google's similar investments have, in the bigger picture, met with limited success, according to an analysis by Adweek of recent performance statistics from Google. It found that response and engagement rates of rich media display ads are still at the same levels as they were in 2009 when Google began publishing its benchmark reports. Web users simply do not click on display ads, no matter the type, according to the report, it concluded.

Still to Come: Admeld

Google is not finished with its display format makeover. Earlier this year it acquired Admeld and plans for that online ad company are still underway. The focus, it appears, will be on addressing display’s underlying inefficiencies and streamlining the process for publishers, according to statements made by the companies.

Still Eager to Capture Traffic

Display, for all the difficulties some providers have had in delivering viable formats, is still a rich target for both vendors and advertisers. Affluent Americans are also slightly more likely than the overall average to have viewed a web/banner ad (80% compared to 75%), according to an August 2011 study from the Internet Advertising Bureau called “Affluent Consumers in a Digital World”.