Things aren't looking good
for the online ad market: reduced spending by advertisers combined with the fact that people don't pay a whole lot of attention to banner ads portends doom and gloom. While the first part of that equation might be out of online publishers' control, they're trying to tackle the second part not by recognizing that advertising needs to be engaging or interesting content in order to be satisfying, but rather by clubbing internet users over the head with some new, huge and intrusive banner ad formats
. Say hello to the Fixed Panel, which is a huge vertical banner that "scrolls to the top and bottom of the page as a user scrolls", the XXL Box, which is pretty much exactly what it says, and the Pushdown, the biggest of the bunch, which rolls down from the top of the page to get right in the user's face. The trade group behind these new formats says they are "designed to help stimulate a renaissance of creative advertising on the Internet that meets the needs of marketers by better integrating their messages into the fabric of the Web." That sounds like a lot of buzzwords, but conspicuous by its absence is any mention of the user's experience of these ads. These ads might grab users' attention through brute force, but will the experience be a positive one? It seems likely that intrusive advertising that gets in users' way will simply make the current situation worse by driving users away from the content. This is a further reflection of just how dead
the captive advertising model is. Consumers have plenty of choices about where to get their content online; if a publishers' advertising keeps getting in their way, they'll move on and get content from somewhere else.