That simple Zima banner ad on Hotwired.com so long ago, oh, the mess you left behind.
The first banners were little more than that - just a static image on a web page. Then, the animated GIF came along. First, we did the “Burma Shave” thing of three or four frames of copy, quickly learning best practices of keeping the logo and CTA on every frame to maintain our 10% click-thru rates (and no, that’s not a typo, it used to happen all the time).
Then the magic of Flash came along. Problem is, we didn’t adapt much. The IAB had standardized things and Flash banners became little more than slicker animated GIFs. Sure, they could expand, hold video, etc. But for the most part, they were still little animated GIF stories executed better.
Now, you’re lucky if you get .02% click thru. We’ve trained consumers that clicking on them often take you to a place you’d rather not be. It’s even worse for mobile banners ‘cos you tend to leave the app you’re in to launch god-only-knows-what. So, we simply avoid them.
The simultaneous arrival of tablets and HTML5 changes everything. Flash doesn’t work on the iPad, and HTML5 can make anything (including a 300x250 space) an experience better than most full-blown sites. We’ve seen the cool scrolly stuff, the parallax stuff, etc. But, we’ve trained consumers to not interact for the reasons mentioned above. And that’s going to be our challenge.
We can now do so much more than before. We can create rich experiences. We’re effectively back in the experiential micro-site business again - the micro-micro-site. But undoing all our past sins will take a while.