Banner Ads Need to be Replaced by Something Better

April 6, 2017

I’ve experimented with various ad formats over the years. Google AdSense banner ads worked reasonably well until sometime last year.

There aren’t many choices (that work), despite what the advertising agencies tell you. You basically have either banner ads or text link ads. You can use pop-ups and pop-unders, floating ads and other types of ads, but you have to use something other than AdSense to display them. I doubt they work better than banners and text links.

It isn’t just the ads at fault. There’s plenty of blame to go around.

Banner Ads and Ad Blindness

At least one advertising agency claims ad blindness is at fault. What’s ad blindness? That’s when you unconsciously ignore banner ads because you see so much of them.

Ad blindness can’t exist when the ads aren’t displayed. Ad blocking extensions and certain web browsers keep them from being displayed. Some VPNs block ads as well.

I rarely use either. When I do, it’s because a specific website is displaying so much advertising, I can’t get to the content I want to read. Many times, the web browser will hang, waiting on one external asset or another.

Anything Better than Banner Ads?

I don’t think anything better exists… yet. Ad blockers and VPNs are blocking the JavaScript code. Advertising services use JavaScript.

I recently tested a Google Chrome web browser extension called “Windscribe”, which works with the Windscribe (affiliate link) website. The basic service is a free VPN and ad blocker and it works as advertised.

The only way to use banner ads that won’t be blocked is to make the URLs, text and images static. That means only your website serves them without JavaScript. That’s hard to do if you’re not selling ad space directly.

Website owners are mostly to blame for all this. They put banner ads all over the place, which only encourages people to block them completely. Advertisers are also at fault and I’ll leave it at that. The website visitor is never at fault.

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