Before leaving the topic of advertising, both creative and media, it is important to introduce a new form of advertising—banner advertising. Banner ads are the dominant form of online advertising. Banner ads are graphic images in Web pages that are often animated and can include small pieces of software code to allow further interaction. Most importantly, they are "clickable", and take a viewer to another Web location when chosen.
Banner ads typically run at the top and bottom of the page, but they can be incorporated anywhere. The CASlE organization has developed a small number of standard sizes and formats. Like the Web itself, banner ads are a mixture of approaches, with elements of traditional print advertising and more targeted direct advertising. Banner ads include direct marketing capabilities. Each banner carries with it a unique identifier. This allows the Website to track the effectiveness of the ad in generating traffic. Measurability permits ad banner pricing based on results and behavior. Click-through pricing ignores impressions and charges the advertiser based on the number of viewers that select the ad and follow it to the linking website.
Admittedly, the performance of banner ads to date has been less than stellar. One company, San Francisco-based Organic, has approached the problem of ineffective online advertising with a product called "expand-o". This new ad vehicle allows an advertiser to include some of its website's content in an expandable banner ad. At the click of a mouse, the advertisement expands to much as five or six times its original size. For instance, an expand-o for Fort Washington, PA-based CDNow provides consumers with a sample of dynamically updated content housed on the music retailer's site. When the consumer clicks an arrow on the ad, it expands to show the top 10 songs in CDNow's top 100 Billboard Chart.5