Social Banner Ads Continue to Frustrate

Ryan Moede, Former Viget

Article Category: #Strategy

Posted on

Banner advertising has long been the bane of web surfers around the world.  Garrish, annoying and ineffective, it's rare that a campaign actually expresses any level of creativity or effectiveness.

As social networks entered the scene - ripe with rich, detailed demographic data about each and every user - advertisers simply couldn't resist. But, an odd thing happened on the way to targeting users in online communities. No one clicked on the ads.

It seems once inside the walled garden of Facebook or among friends on MySpace, users weren't in any mood to search for new mortgage rates or purchase airline tickets and avoided the ads at all cost. In the latest attempt to earn more clicks through banner advertising on social networks, the social media advertising firm SocialMedia launched "social banners," which create banner ads that incorporate you or your friends into the ad. CNet writes:

For example, instead of a banner advertising The Incredible Hulk movie, a social banner would ask which of your close Facebook friends, among a short list, you'd like to invite to see the movie. Or a social banner might inform you that a friend Jim just ranked Iron Man with three stars, and it might ask to "click here to buy tickets at Fandango."

While the intent may be, "to make ads suck less in social networks," said Seth Goldstein, founder of San Francisco-based SocialMedia Networks, this move could bring a backlash similar to the Facebook Beacon uproar from last year. The privacy issues that arise are incredibly complex.

When it comes to social networks, brands need to think differently about how they engage with customers. There are far greater opportunities to earn customers through providing meaningful service and marketing that has value. Banner ads that are enjoyable and valuable are still too few and far between, and leave most of us feeling like this:

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