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Native vs Banner ads: why creative web marketing matters

The digital revolution has fundamentally altered the way that brands communicate with their target customers. Interruption marketing – the explicit promotion of a product through persistent hard-sell advertising – no longer works on today's ultra-informed, hyper-connected consumers. They are seeking relevant, value-adding content to aid their buying decisions.

As a result, marketing has reached a new level of sophistication. Content marketing and native advertising – connecting with the target audience by producing quality content that resonates with their interests – are now considered some of the most effective methods of building a solid, loyal customer base.

Methods like banner advertising, on the other hand, represent the old school. In recent years they have been frequently denounced as an ineffective marketing tactic. After all, the in-your-face, sales-pitch overtones of the online banner ad are an example of marketing at its least subtle.

However, a recent survey carried out by AppNexus suggests that conventional banner campaigns are still achieving some impressive results. The Q2 2015 Digital Marketing Index, which is based on more than 80,000 campaigns transacted on the AppNexus platform that quarter, reveals that the banner ad is still going strong, generating the highest click-through rates for marketers.

Pat McCarthy, Senior Vice President of Marketing at AppNexus, spoke with Marketing Dive about the findings. "There’s a lot of buzz about the banner ad being dead, and about consumers, marketers, and publishers alike shifting their attention to mobile" he said, "but the Q2 index shows that in fact the banner ad has high CTRs and competitive prices, particularly compared to interstitials, pop-ups, and skins."

While this may sound like very good news for banner advertising, generating the largest number of clicks doesn't necessarily equate to success. Banner ads might work on the "made you click" front, but may also have a lesser impact in the long term. Targeted native advertising, by contrast, is likely to prevail in the minds of consumers who seek informative, educational experiences through useful, contextually relevant content. James Timpson writes on Tech.co that native advertising "provide[s] a lot more value to an audience than a typical banner ad that is designed purely to communicate on marketing message."

It seems that the jury is still out in terms of which method is most effective. Ultimately, the definition of success is dependent on the objectives and KPIs attached to a campaign, and many marketers may choose to opt for a mixture of display and organic, content-driven campaigns to serve their awareness and engagement targets respectively.

Nonetheless, one thing is certain: consumers will continue to reward brands that produce original, relevant content that informs their purchasing decisions in a timely manner. Discover how censhare's Advanced Analytics and Data Extraction solutions can help brands gain the insight they need to produce quality content, and measure its impact in real-time.