Digital & Social Media

Yahoo! Dumps Banner for Stream


What Happened: After pushing the banner ad for nearly two decades, Yahoo! is abandoning the static, antiquated marketing tool for what many switched-on netizens already swear by — The Stream. In-stream advertising is comprised of commercials that appear before, during and after Internet videos, mimicking an experience we all know well — watching television and, more recently, the cinema.

Yahoo! is hardly first out of the gate with this notion, following YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tremor, you name it. But the statistics on banner ads are so dismal, even Yahoo! is ready to throw in the towel — at least on its mobile app—on what used to be its staple. Digiday reports that Leo Polanowski, Yahoo’s head of client services for the Americas, confirmed that by year-end his company will have switched entirely to non-banner formats on its mobile ads.

And, why not? The click-through-rate on banner ads is 0.1 percent, and 50 percent of clicks on mobile banner ads are in fact inadvertent. Solve Media likes to put it more dramatically, noting that a person is more likely to become a Navy SEAL, climb Mount Everest, get into MIT or survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad. But like banner ads, there’s nothing new there either.

What This Means for Brands: First and foremost, it should be a wakeup call for all those companies still sinking money into banners. It doesn’t mean that brands should all parade en masse to in-stream advertising — because once they do that consumers will stop watching the in-streaming and maybe even videos if it gets too intrusive. What the overdue move suggests is that brands need to produce better content in general. With as much choice as exists today, there is no guaranteed formula for success or engagement — except of course putting a really cute puppy or scantily clad human in an ad, which pretty much ensures going viral.

Contributing to TRENDING items are Jenna Carter, Sarah Gordon, MaryFrances Hicks and Abby Ray.