Social Advertising Will Eat Banners*
by Jon Steinberg, Sep 11, 2012, 12:30 PM
Media and technology has changed so much in five years that saying anything other than something radical seems naive. Who would have predicted five years ago that Apple would be the most valuable company on earth and that the iPhone would have the largest share of any smart phone on the market? Saying such a thing ten years ago would have people calling you absolutely crazy.
My firm belief is that banner advertising is the past, and so the boldest form of my prediction and one that is likely to only be partially correct is:
There will be no banner ads in 5 years.
Banners do not work for top or mid funnel awareness and intent generation. The opportunity for brands on the web is to harness all the attention migrating away from other mediums, including television, to do something as powerful as story-driven as television commercials. Banners do not fill this need. They will not be an integral part of the future media mix.
The caveated version, and the one that's a bit safer and almost certain to be correct is the following:
In five years, brands will not use banners for top and mid funnel marketing. The vast majority of banner display that remains will be direct-response, and the Facebook Exchange is likely to be an incredibly dominant player.
Premium publishers and direct sales forces will sell social content-driven programs that are native to their sites. This will be a return to the great story-driven and word of mouth advertising of the 50's and 60s. Social and story will supplant banner as the defining online advertising vehicle in five years time.
*(Hat tip to Mark Andreessen for the "eat" term: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903480904576512250915629460.html