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How do web banners work?

A web banner is a type of online advertising when the ad of a particular product or service is inserted in to the web page. The aim of this banner ad (as it is popularly called) is to attract traffic to a website and connecting them to the web site of the promoter. Such an ad can be created from either a JavaScript program, an image (GIF, JPEG, PNG) or technologies involving multimedia like Java,



Shockwave or Flash that are usually associated with sounds and animation to make them more attractive. The role or function of a web banner is similar to that of a conventional banner. It provides information about the product and tries to give reasons as to why that product should be chosen – the only difference is that unlike the traditional form, web banner can be monitored real time and can be targeted to the viewer’s interests.

However, many users are extremely unhappy with this form of advertising. They argue that web banners interfere with the actual content or information provided on the page. To combat this problem, the new web browsers have options that allows the viewer to block the appearance of such images from a few selected websites; using the proxy server is an alternative method of preventing the pop ups.

A banner ad appears when a web page that references the banner is embedded in to a web browser. This is known as ‘impression’. When a visitor clicks on the banner, he or she is automatically steered to the website that is advertised in the banner. This process is termed as ‘click through’. Quite a few banner ads operate on a ‘click-through’ pay back system. According to this model, the advertiser goes through their records and identifies the number of visitors who have visited its site by seeing the content site and then sends the remuneration to the host web site (the amount is usually 5 to 10 US cents for every click through).

Web banners through history 

The first banner ad was sold in 1993 by GNN to Heller, Ehrman, White and McAuliffe. GNN or Global Network navigator was founded by O'Reilly and Associates and it was the first commercially supported web publication. GNN was acquired by AOL in 1995 and was eventually discontinued after a few years. The term ‘banner ad’ was first used by HotWired that was the first company to provide click through rate reports to its customers.

Do banner ads really work?

Good question. Nevertheless, this question does not have a unanimous answer – while some don’t agree, most readily do. Very recently there was a talk show hosted on CNBC where a marketing researcher from a multi national firm clearly mentioned that banner ads are not all effective; his opinion was seconded by the interviewer who agreed that ‘banner ads stink and are a waste of money.’ However, I don’t agree with them fully. A little research will show you that big brand names are using this method for endorsing their products – Orange, Chevrolet, LoanWeb and AT&T are just a few of them. You will be surprised to see the number of companies spending lots of money and buying banners from

One of the biggest advantages of such advertising every step can be measured and accurate results can be proven through IP addresses, cookies and other methods to ensure that the merchant is not only getting the results but even the audience that he or she is seeking.

Let us face the fact – web marketing or internet marketing is surpassing all the other forms of media advertising because of its unrivaled levels of measurability. I am sure that very soon, television advertising will join hands with internet marketing to enjoy the same benefits’ as television ads today suffers from its lack of accountability and stifles in the present Tivo world.