Habet, Peractum Est

Well, we are FINALLY down to our last article on “floating ad” technology. And it is only fitting that we finish with the company who for all intents and purposes, introduced the concept to the imaginations of the online advertising world, Eyeblaster. Certainly, there were DHTML ads before Eyeblaster and Eyeblaster is not even the oldest company in the space. But they were first to market themselves here in the United States and, everyone would agree, did a brilliant job of quickly grabbing mind share and branding themselves.

In fact, for a while, people were referring to the entire DHTML ad format as Eyeblaster-type ads, no matter who created them. Eyeblaster has always positioned themselves as a platform and tool that does not “interfere” with the creative process. In other words, the process is automated and requires no hand holding or post-processing by Eyeblaster, which is a good or a bad thing, depending on your viewpoint. It is also the reason why there is a clear differentiator between Eyeblaster and technologies such as United Virtualities.



There are agencies out there that have strong creative capabilities and experience with the “floating ad” concept. These people like Eyeblaster for the reasons Eyeblaster promotes: powerful, easy-to-use backend that gives them all the control they want without any 3rd party interference. For others, particularly media-buying only shops, they need to productions skills and expertise that a United Virtualities can offer. Which provides a strong market for both the Eyeblaster and UV messages.

Eyeblaster has also done a great job on the backend putting together a database of sites that enable media planners to easily see which sites accept the various Eyeblaster ad type, plus any additional spec considerations.

So here is Bill’s breakdown of the space that we have covered so far:

Eyeblaster: great for agencies with strong creative who just want an easy to use backend to serve and track their creative.

United Virtualities: Strong production skills plus free demos for agency partners. Great for those that want help with Floating Ad strategies.

Ad4Ever: Now part of a suite of products brought to you by Unicast. Great for delivering a single message across various rich media types.

CheckM8: Strong worldwide presence and great for agencies and publishers looking to expand the rich media capabilities beyond standard effects.

AdInterax: Strong reporting, authoring, and unique Reach and Frequency tools to minimize wasted impressions.

So what is the future of this type of ad unit? That, of course, is anyone’s guess but there are some indications that the rapid growth curve of straight “Floating Ad” unit is starting level off. Which, of course, is the reason that many of companies in the space are quickly expanding the types of ads units and effects they offer.

Another consideration is the growing backlash against pop-ups. While “floating ads” are not pop-ups, it is unclear whether they will be caught up in the pop-up backlash that is currently in vogue with iVillage, AOL, and Earthlink all making very public stands against what is perceived as overly intrusive ad units that annoy users.

And of course the real wild card is Macromedia and the, as yet, undefined product that they will be developing with DoubleClick. While there is no public buzz yet about what the DoubleClick/Macromedia alliance means, there is a lot of private rumbling going on behind the scenes.

If nothing else, “Floating ads” have had the side benefit of legitimizing Flash as an advertising medium. For the first time outside of Unicast, it was easy to create, serve, and track a Flash ad and the true storytelling power of Flash was made manifest. And non-DHTML Flash banners seem to have benefited from the exposure. According to AdRelevence, standard Flash banner impression numbers have increased by 1,912% over the last year: from an average of 100 million impressions a week to over 2 billion. (Click hereto see the latest, and archived, stats broken down by industry, website, and advertiser).

But all this floating is starting to make me dizzy. Next week it is off to something else, that I promise you. And an extra two points for those of you who understand Latin and the title for this week’s article. No Googling it now!

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