What is 'Banner Advertising'

Banner advertising refers to the use of a rectangular graphic display that stretches across the top, bottom or sides of a website. The former type of banner advertisement is called a leaderboard, while the latter is called a skyscraper and is positioned on a web page's sidebars. Banner ads are image-based rather than text-based and are a popular form of online advertising. The purpose of banner advertising is to promote a brand and/or to get visitors from the host website to go to the advertiser's website.

BREAKING DOWN 'Banner Advertising'

Banner advertising, also called display advertising, consists of static or animated images or media and are usually placed in high-visibility areas on high-traffic websites. Banner advertising is attractive because it can help create brand awareness, generate leads and re-target an audience (such as giving a visitor a chance to sign up for a newsletter or free trial before they click away).

Banner advertising functions mainly the same way as traditional advertising, however, the method by which the advertiser pays the host can differ greatly from traditional ad space sales. The host is paid for the banner advertisement through one of three methods: cost per impression (payment for every website visitor who sees the ad), cost per click (payment for every website visitor who clicks on the ad and visits the advertiser's website) or cost per action (payment for every website visitor who clicks on the ad, goes to the advertiser's website and completes a task, such as filling out a form or making a purchase).

Banner Advertising Technology

Ad networks are in charge of matching advertisers to websites that want to sell advertising. They keep track of what advertising space is available and match it with advertiser demand. The technology that enables ad networks to do this is a central ad server, which selects specific ads that are tailored to the website's visitor based on keywords from the visitor's search and website viewing behavior or based on the overall context of the host website content.

Banner advertising, and virtually all online advertising, currently utilizes real-time bidding technology known as programmatic bidding, which allows approved companies to bid on ad space during the time it takes for a banner ad to load.

Banner Advertising History and Future

The first banner advertisement was deployed on Wired Magazine's website in 1994 (then called hotwired.com). The banner read "Have you ever clicked your mouse right here? You will." The ad then sent the user to a campaign for AT&T.

Traditional banner advertising like the example above has expanded to other forms, such as Facebook Ads and Instagram Sponsored Ads. Facebook and Twitter account for roughly one-third of online display advertising spending. The trend in online advertising has seen digital display ad spending surpass that of search-based ads in recent years. As of 2017, roughly one-fifth of all online ad spending goes to digital display ads, such as banner ads and similar ads.

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