9 hours a day: according to recent research, this is how long the the average Briton spends in front of a screen, while research from Google tells us that 90% of our media interactions are screen based.
So it’s no surprise that internet advertising is growing fast: a recent announcement by ZenithOptimedia’s Global Advertising Forecast indicates that it is set to overtake print advertising by 2015. According to ZenithOptimedia, online display advertising, which includes banner advertisements as well as online video and social media adverts, is the fastest growing area of online advertising, at 20% annual growth.
The exponential increase in time spent online means there has never been a better time to use online advertising to connect with your target audience. Online advertising allows accurate tracking of user impressions and click-through rates so it is possible to measure how the advert is performing in a way that is much more difficult with other forms of advertising, while behavioural targeting allows you to present highly targeted adverts to consumers based on their interests, gender and age. Contextual advertising displays adverts which are relevant to the content on the page on which they appear and re-targeting adverts display products which a customer has viewed but not yet purchased.
As our lives are increasingly lived through digital devices, embracing online advertising is a clear next step in advertising to audiences in a targeted way, however there are also pitfalls of online advertising which need to be sidestepped.
Beating ‘Banner Blindness’
Not only is it a saturated market, with ever more companies taking the leap into internet advertising, but researchers have also identified a phenomenon they call ‘banner blindness’ in which users consciously or subconsciously ignore information presented as banners.
So how can you make sure your online adverts won’t be the ones passed over by busy web users? To a large extent, the same rules apply when it comes to creating an effective online advert as for creating an effective advert for any other medium. But with online adverts the risk of being overlooked is greater while the possibilities generated by technology are endless.
The Creative Concept is Crucial
Technology makes a new level of creativity and audience engagement possible. We can now produce adverts which change depending on the weather so a travel agent could advertise foreign beach holidays on a rainy day and English holidays during a heat wave. Online adverts can now reach their audience more effectively by targeting users by age, gender or location and can have their advert appear on a page with relevant content. This level of targeting can ensure that online adverts are relevant to the audience, but intelligent creative work is necessary to produce adverts that audiences will engage with.
A strong creative concept is the cornerstone of good advertising and when it is conceived specifically for a chosen audience and context and takes full advantage of new technology, the full power of online advertising can be harnessed.