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2011: The Year Of Display Advertising

The display advertising industry has been awaiting its creative revolution for years -- and this year, it's finally on the verge of breaking through. Thanks to a confluence of factors, ranging from technological to economic, and originating from both brands and consumers, marketers have the ideal environment to unleash their innovative juices.

The result will be display advertising that paints a more vivid, compelling picture of brands, both engaging and empowering consumers, and pushing the industry to new heights. Let's take a closer look at why. First, brands are more confident about display advertising being a smart investment for engaging their target audiences as a result of the measurable successes of 2010 display campaigns. In September, for example, CBS aggressively marketed its fall premiere lineup by investing in new display ads, including a magazine-style format that mimicked the interaction with print.

For CBS, which ended the year with three of its new shows within the 20 most-watched -- the only network able to make this boast -- the strategy was well worth it. Advertisers took note of the potential: greater reach, engagement and sales.

Display ads are also developing a social media underpinning as brands focus on what it means to engage consumers online and we're seeing them do this in very savvy ways. For Southwest Airlines' "Change Fee Story," for instance, consumers could share their story, mad-libs style, directly from their ads. Users personalized a story template, submitted it, and it could post on Southwest.com. It was effective, allowing users to be part of a community and Southwest's broader narrative. This year, we'll see even more brands use social media through display ads to tell their stories and connect with consumers.

Connected devices -- smartphones, tablets, and connected TV -- are set to play a larger role in influencing display, and we're particularly focused on leading the way in the development of a new generation of rich formats for them. They'll evolve to include opportunities for advertising content that consumers interact with as eagerly as editorial.

For example, with Diet Dr Pepper, our immersive mobile campaign gave consumers the ability to engage in a virtual scavenger hunt for the claymation-style mythical creatures that have been the stars of its popular "We Exist" TV campaign, like a leprechaun or Sasquatch, for the chance to win a trip. Users entered by finding and clicking characters peeking from the periphery of the mobile screen - a leprechaun hat here, or a Sasquatch foot there. Building the game into the ad campaign's fabric not only engaged consumers but showed that potential for other creative approaches to branding.

Search, too, is developing into a medium for digital storytelling, a role traditionally reserved for display, moving away from links in search results to provide consumers with answers and opening up new opportunities for brands. For example, Yahoo recently introduced Search Direct, offering visitors current, relevant content, improved suggestions, incorporated a rich display format, and displayed answers instantly. Such offerings expand the capabilities of the "search box," morphing it into a platform from which consumers can explore content and for brands to draw consumers in with engaging images and video, among other possibilities.

With advertisers now fiercely competing for consumer attention, it's creativity that takes into account each of these elements. All will raise the bar for display advertising. The creative minds behind brands will return to the driver's seat, determining how to best market to consumers online using new devices, cutting-edge formats and advanced digital technologies for imagining and delivering breakthrough ads never envisioned before.

The creative revolution in display has been building up for years, and in 2011, we'll see these efforts pay off with advertising that is more artistic, engaging, and most importantly, effective.

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1 comment about "2011: The Year Of Display Advertising ".
  1. Peter Minnium from Iab , April 22, 2011 at 9:41 a.m.

    I agree with Bobby- today's display ad is THE optimal platform for a broad range of engaging experiences: interrupt and story tell, social engagement, use-vertising, entertainment, play, etc. The capabilities of display have rocketed forward to provide this great gateway, a jumping-in point for the viewer.

    This modern display experience is still vastly outnumbered by function-poor, 2-D banners, but the pace with which this is reversing is accelerating exponentially.