Banner ads are about 20 years old now. Throughout the years, they’ve been a core element of the online advertising space, and virtually every brand out there has used them at some point among their online ads.

Granted, 15 or even 10 years ago banner ads were still the thing to do, and they brought relatively good click-throughs and conversions. Now, however, the landscape has changed.

Let’s take a look into what’s been going on with banner ads lately and how they compare to the new craze – native advertising.

Banners Today

Despite the falling CTRs, advertisers still continue to roll out more banner inventory year after year. For instance, in 2012, over 5.3 trillion display ads were served in the U.S. (according to ComScore data). Back in 2009, it was around 4.3 trillion.

The scale of the banner plague is the most apparent when we realize that the typical internet user is served more than 1,700 banner ads per month. And for people aged 25-34 it’s even as high as 2,000 targeted banner ads per month.

So do they click those banners? Not really. The CTRs on banners are 0.2 percent or lower. And if that’s not enough, it turns out that eight percent of internet users account for 85 percent of the clicks. Setting this high-engaging group aside, in fact, the average human being is more likely to survive a plane crash than to click a banner, and as many as 50 percent of clicks on banners are actually accidental.

All this doesn’t give us good perspectives for the future in terms of our banner campaigns, but maybe that’s a good thing, maybe it’s time to switch to different models.

Which brings us to…

Native Advertising Today

Native ads have taken the web by storm, and it seems as if they’re the most user-friendly kind of advertising these days.

In its core, a native ad is simply a sponsored piece of content that looks similar to a standard editorial piece on a given website.

But what does the data say about it?

Well, people in general want to learn about products through content rather than through ads (it’s reported that 70 percent of individuals share this opinion), and they spend nearly as much time reading editorial content as they do consuming native ads. Apart from that, 32 percent of consumers admit that they would share a native ad with friends and family if it’s relevant and brings value on a given topic (only 19 percent say the same for banner ads).

So native ads have a much better press in general. People just seem not to hate them yet. In fact, native ads are viewed 53 percent more than banners, and 71 percent of publishers report that they received no major complaints from readers for allowing native ads.

When it comes to raw clicks data, there’s an interesting case study by Beeby Clark+Meyler regarding their native ad campaign for GE. In short, they reached 5.1 million people and got 416,000 clicks. That’s more than eight percent CTR – something unimaginable in the banner ads space.

But this is not only about the clicks. Native ads also generate up to 82 percent increase in brand fit, and grow purchase intent by 53 percent (the Dedicated Media data linked above).

Want to Get Started?

If you haven’t already experimented with native ads then 2015 is about time to do so. Native ads are on the rise and prove to be able to deliver much better results and returns than targeted banner ads. The only downside is that you can’t distribute the same piece of native advertising to multiple sites, so it will require a bigger investment to create those individual ads (compared to standard banners).

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