Online Ad Revenues fall; publishers need to innovate display ads

IAB US Internet Advertising Spend (2001-09)

by Scott Hoffman on June 6, 2009

The time is now for banner ad Innovation, all the signs are in the air. Publisher’s – if advertising revenue is your model, you need to get in front of the coming groundswell of marketers demanding more effective ad units. Pointing an exclamation point on that advice on how the marketplace economics will dictate this transformation, the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) reported that Internet advertising revenues in the U.S. were at $5.5 billion for the first quarter of 2009 represents a 5% decline over the same period in 2008.

Here are some other signs that this age of banner innovation is happening now:

3 weekes ago I interviewed Dave Shen on Lotame’s Radio show, the Remix, which I host. Dave was the first GUI designer for Yahoo! (GUI stands for Graphical User Interface.) The conversation quickly turned to how today looks a lot like the .Com Bubble Bursting economy of 1999-2001. In those years great strides were made in creating more value for marketers (and publishers) with banner campaigns. You can stream the whole interview from the Radio Show.

The Online Publishers Association (OPA) announced a new initiative designed to help stimulate a renaissance of creative advertising on the Internet that meets the needs of marketers by better integrating their messages into the fabric of the Web. That is PR speak for bigger, more integrated ad units.

Many of the bigger internet publishers are starting to respond, as indicated by this “Paid Content” story about more Publishers Abandoning Relunctance On Homepage Takeovers

If you are a publisher my suggestion is to open your mind to possibilities. Tactically, you should be following one (or more) of these three guidelines:

Be Reactive: Stay apprised of the events as they unfold. For instance, if a competitive publisher, deploys a new ad unit / ad type / ad size, be ready to follow suit.

Get innovative: Talk with your existing advertiser base, find out what they see as an ideal unit, which will allow you to test new units with partners that are already willing to allocate spending to those units.

Find partners: look for specific ad technology partners, or partners that aggregate new ad unit technologies together…so you can maintain or surpass the rest of the publisher playing field, without sacrificing your own capital (both in terms of fiscal reserve and development time.)

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