VCs and Technologists Dream Of A Better Day, Meanwhile Banner Ads Still Bite

Whoa is the lowly banner ad that no one wants to see or click on.
But let’s not get all weepy just yet. According to Brian Morrissey of Adweek, help is on the way.

…tens of millions of dollars in venture capital is flowing into ad technology. Investors are betting that a market the Interactive Advertising Bureau pegged at $8 billion in 2009 can quickly grow five times or more with the help of better machinery.
“If you take the logic behind targeting to the extreme, it’s all about discovering hidden tier-one inventory,” said Terence Kawaja, managing director of GCA Savvian Advisors. “There’s a lot of inefficiency in inventory pricing.”
The advent of audience-targeted real-time buying systems, whether ad exchanges like those operated by Google and Yahoo or inventory aggregators like AdMeld, promises a bigger market by matching advertisers to the specific audience they want.

Sounds good, but it’s going to take more than “better machinery” and “efficient pricing” to solve the banner ad riddle. The best minds in media, technology and advertising need to work this one through. It’s not exactly our shot at the moon, but close. Given that the market for display advertising could soon grow to $40 billion, we all stand to make–or lose–a whole lot of money.
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About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Don’t necessarily agree with Morrissey. There’s plenty of evidence that lousy creative still gets responses online. Those banners with dancing people are one obvious example. Like it or not, a great offer can overcome mediocre creative. Not condoning mediocre creative, just saying. So long as so much of digital is inherently direct marketing – where creativity is rarely the goal – mediocre banner ads will survive and succeed.