Once a month we invite one of our Rockstar CMOs to the penthouse to rid the world of a marketing practice whose time has come by chucking it into the portal to marketing hell that is the Rockstar CMO Swimming Pool. In this issue, barely noticed and infrequently engaged with, is it time to put banner ads out of their lonely misery? Jasmine Martirossian, VP of Marketing at TÜV SÜD America certainly thinks so..

You have to feel sorry for the banner ad, 20 years ago, at the dawn of internet advertising they were a revenue making machine, that enabled many of the websites we know now to get a foothold financially and many marketers to become rock stars.

Today, this once-proud digital marketing servant is barely noticed in the cacophony of pop-ups, annoying remarketing that follow us across the internet and consent forms that now make up the modern web browsing experience. They don’t even rate as annoying anymore, they are ignored.

Worse, as Jasmine suggested when we went backstage with her, they don’t perform:

“They do not produce any leads, and even their value for driving brand awareness is highly questionable because users have become so sophisticated that they either block banner ads or scan past them.  Yet billions of dollars are spent on banner ads every year”

Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group agrees, sharing (in this article) that banner ads have a click-through rate of less than 1%, for 5 good reasons:

  • Viewability: Banners that are never actually viewed by anyone
  • Click fraud: Websites that fake clicks on banners
  • Bots: Automated scripts that scour the web and click on advertiser banners
  • Viewer fatigue: We have learned to ignore banners
  • Ad Blockers: How more and more of us try to avoid unwanted banners

So, it seems that chucking banner ads into the Rockstar CMO Swimming Pool is more of a mercy killing, not only saving marketers from themselves but euthanizing a marketing practice that is pretty much dead already.

So.. here goes, with a hint of sadness for the memories of their once joyful youth, but with the firm conviction that it’s just the right thing to do, we solemnly heft Banner Ads over the penthouse balcony and salute them as they fall.

Not quite the dignity of a burial at sea, but quite a splash all the same…

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