Luke Dringoli
Luke Dringoli
Editor, Social Networks

Will Google Reinvent the Banner Ad?

Google thinks display ads are “going to be huge.” To drive home the point, they’ve bought ad space of their own, and erected a billboard of their own in — you guessed it — Times Square. By “huge,” they mean smarter, more relevant, and “open.” Is this all talk or is it a real push towards a better banner?
Perhaps a bit of both. Their bread and butter — selling text links — is becoming stagnant and the competition is increasing at the same time. Google wants to distance itself from their  search ad reputation and be seen as a major player in the display ad field, says Claire Cain Miller in a report for The New York Times. On the other hand, they have done good work with major brands on their properties (see some impressive YouTube case studies), and are offering up cool stuff like remarketing on their Display Network and, in general, creative tie banner tie-ins for a more engaged experience.

An introduction to their “Watch This Space” campaign:

While we hardly disagree with their sentiment, it’s tough to take this kind of talk seriously from a company that pulls in 90% of their revenue from bland, boring text ads — not to mention that most of their current display banners are text only. Hardly inspiring or post-ad-worthy.

The potential for the space is “huge,” but we would hope that they aren’t taking it too literally with the Times Square placement (See our post on a similar placement by Four Square). That’s not our idea of conveying a smarter space — even if the billboard does allow users to select between videos.

Google, the future is now. Consumers are already choosing the brand messages they see and hear — they simply ignore the rest.

Image: Google

  • chrismoritz

    If they’re still talking about the same unit sizes in the same placement zones, I predict even mighty Google won’t be able to turn time back to the pre-banner blindness days.

    Maybe if they can construct some sort of global retro-spinning device (with Richard Donner consulting) but the stockholders might have something to say about that.

    The web’s all about content. Specifically the content I want. Putting a message next to the content I want hoping that it just might be more interesting than what I came there for in the first place is a recipe for 0.01% click-through rates.

  • Jon Thomas

    You’re right on Chris. Brands need to BE the channel, not stand adjacent to the channel in hopes that they’ll be noticed.