Creativity vs standard ad unit


firepr_small.jpgADOTAS — Standards for ad units, such as putting banner ads at the top, might have to change as the online advertising industry struggles to move forward.

The question is how much can it change without annoying users. Gawker Media seems to be doing well by allowing takeover advertising, and others believe online ads should have more creative input rather than being decided by media planners and publishers. Randall Rothenberg, Interactive Advertising Bureau president and CEO, said at the annual meeting last week that standard designs for web pages may need to be revised.

“Creative agencies were absent,” Rothenberg told Mediaweek “You didn’t have the right people in the room.” Lately, many have wondered, “Have we designed the medium in a way that makes it appropriate and useful for the craft of persuasion?”

The IAB has formed a 12-member board of agency executives focused on improving Web creative.

David Payne, CEO of ShortTail Media, at the IAB meeting also added that it was time to stop making every decision based on user experience. He wants a standard, home-page-takeover-type unit that will appeal to brand advertisers. That proposal was aimed at combatting an overabundance of supply, low pricing and bad creative.

I believe independent sites will become test cases. Right now, the standards are safe and comfortable, though not as profitable as they once were. No one wants to take the chance of being out front and sending users elsewhere.

— Express your opinion, comment below.


  1. Coming from an advertising/marketing background, I hear, loud and clear, what the advertisers are saying on this issue.

    However, visitors to publisher’s sites are NOT coming for the ads. They are coming for the content. If the ads become so obtrusive, so prevalent, so overbearing, no matter how delightfully creative they are, visitors will get annoyed and stop coming. Publishers will be up the creek as traffic dwindles. Advertisers will pull their ads due to lack of eyeballs and where will that leave everyone? The cliche “behind the eight ball” comes to mind.

    I believe that the IAB, ad agencies and Publishers all need to participate in these talks, with the ultimate caveat being — visitors come to sites for the content, not for the ads. If you want uniques to continue to frequent sites and absorb the advertising, the advertising must be integral to the site and not overwhelm it.

    Linda Marshall-Smith
    Soapdom, Inc.

  2. Linda,
    It’s true. I’ve gone to some sites that have ugly ads all over, and it hurts my eyeballs.
    But what about the homepage takeover ads? Is there a difference between a user saying he/she doesn’t want obtrusive ads to that same user leaving because of it?


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