Google Ad Manager Alternatives

5 Alternatives to IAB Banner Ads and Why They Work

Display ad spending saw 5.5% annual growth in 2020 according to eMarketer, despite the obvious financial challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, with display driving this growth.

However, many advertisers don’t see the impressions or clicks that they expect when running the same basic IAB banner ads they’ve been running for years. Smaller publishers who take a traditional approach to direct digital ad sales face stiff competition for advertising spend. As a publisher or ad sales manager, you need to ask yourself, what sets your publication apart? What reasons do brands have to advertise on your website over others in your category? What value are you adding, and how are you serving your advertisers?

The more value you can offer, the more you can charge companies to advertise on your website. So, how do you add value? Once again, it comes back to creativity, differentiation, and thinking outside the box. Businesses can run standard IAB banner ads on nearly any website. What are some of the unique offerings that brands can only access when they advertise with your publication? What do you need to offer that can help you win new ad sales?

The best way to increase ad impressions and click-through rates (CTR) is by changing up the style, size, dynamism, imagery, and usefulness of the ads on your website. Unique ads generate more attention than standard IAB banner ads, and that increased attention directly results in increased click-throughs and higher ROI for the advertiser.

Components of Successful Ad Formats

The key components to a highly-performing ad format are:

  • Style: Is the ad attractive overall?
  • Size: Is the ad format large enough to get noticed on a busy webpage?
  • Dynamism: How frequently is the content in the ad refreshed?
  • Appealing Imagery: Are the images used in this ad crisp, or are they dull and blurry? Are you taking advantage of the eye-catching nature of some advertiser’s offerings (pictures of food, houses, etc)
  • Useful: Does the ad provide value to the reader, as well as to the advertiser?

Top 5 Banner Ad Alternatives

At Broadstreet, we keep a close eye on which ad formats perform best for our publisher clients. Over the past year, we’ve seen an increase in impressions and click-through rates on ad formats with larger size, appealing imagery, and those that contain “useful” features to consumers, like coupons and menus. The success of these ad formats points to the broader trend away from standard IAB banner ads, towards more compelling ad formats. 

Here, we’ve put together a list of 5 top performing ad formats, with details about why each format has been so successful.

1. Sneaker: The Sneaker ad format is eye-catching, even though readers consider it less intrusive than traditional pop-up ads. It’s also designed in a way that puts a strong emphasis on clicks, which leads to a higher CTR.

2. Billboard: When size is not an issue, the Billboard ad format is a perfect choice. Billboard ads are highly visible and highly readable. Advertisers love these formats because they offer the space to get really creative with their promotions.

3. Social Media Ads: Social Media ad formats pull in relevant content from networks like Facebook and Instagram, so publishers can capitalize on the popularity of these channels in their own direct digital ad sales programs. Social media ads are automatically updated based on the advertiser’s posts, and they are great for enhancing brand awareness.

4. Glossy Gallery: Crisp images lead to a 5x to 10x increase in engagement over standard banners. This is due, in large part, to the appealing imagery in formats like Glossy Gallery. The flexibility to think outside standard box ads or leaderboards, and offer large-format ads with high-resolution images, is one of the key advantages that smaller publishers have over tech giants.

5. Coupons: Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, but ads that include useful and actionable information are performing better this year than traditional banner ads. That means the Coupon ad format, of course, but also the Shoutout, Real Estate, and Automotive Sales formats. When pitching these formats, publishers have greater success because they can focus on how the usefulness aspect of these formats emphasizes a call-to-action (CTA), and leads to a higher CTR.

To learn more about how to grow your direct digital ad sales program, contact Broadstreet today.

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