Banner Ads are Five Years Old: Are They Already Dead?

Believe it or not, the banner ad you see on many popular Web sites is five years old ... but have the candles all blown out on this advertising medium, once touted as the newest way to reach mass audiences?

Experts at the eretailing '99, a conference sponsored by shop.org, believe there are better ways to reach consumers and steer traffic to the Web. The problem, as they see it, is that banner ads need to be highly targeted and performance based, instead of relying on a Web site's wide array of visitors to read the ad and click based on other demographic or psychographic factors.

The exception, as experts see it, is advertising on highly targeted vertical web sites (like AccountingWEB, which focuses exclusively on the accounting profession).

The panel suggested including traditional media like direct mail and radio to reach customers, as well as using some of the newest Web innovations like "rich media" with streaming video and audio transmissions.

The key is to develop multiple advertising resources instead of solely relying on one medium. Still, banner ads will be hotly debated as to their net worth and viability.

Eretailing '99 was held Oct. 17-19 in New York.

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