Is IAB’s Rising Star ad format another nail in banner advertising’s coffin?

Digital advertising

There’s been a lot of talk around the death march of the lowly banner ad, especially as click-through rates and user interaction continue to dwindle. With the Interactive Advertising Bureau‘s Rising Stars ad format becoming more and more popular; will it finally bring the traditional banner ad to a peaceful end?

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Right; so first let’s all make sure we are on the same page with what the IAB Rising Stars Ad format is. In essence you can think of it as a “mini website within a website”. That may be an over simplification of the format; but I think it gets the idea across.

The ad format essentially lets you interact with the advert or brand and immerse yourself more; as opposed to a banner advert which is more of a static gateway to a hopefully more immersive environment.

According to the IAB; the Rising Stars format has its larger size to thank for its greater success over the more traditional banner placement adverts. I think that undersells the format rather erroneously as it is their interactive nature as well as their size which is garnering them the larger success rates.

According to an October 2013 study, consumers are spending more time with Rising Stars ad units than they do with standard banner ads. Though interaction rates for Rising Stars were lower than those for standard units, 1.08% vs. 1.98%, brand interaction time was 36% higher for Rising Stars — which is more critical.

Vibrant Media, IAB and comScore found even more impressive results for IAB Rising Stars ads on mobile. Here, users were three times more likely to interact with Rising Stars than standard mobile banners, at 8.5% vs. 2.8%.

This mobile dynamic is quite significant as more and more users are moving to their mobile devices. In my opinion again it is the interactive nature of the ad format coupled to the fact that you do not have to leave the initial / referring site in order to interact with the Rising Stars content.

All of this interaction (mobile and desktop) has led to a far greater brand and message recall for Rising Stars units. The survey found that consumers were 74% more likely to remember the brand displayed on the previous page when it was in a Rising Stars ad, as well as 22% more likely to recall what the actual message was than if it was a traditional banner ad.

This level of digital engagement is what has been missing from the more traditional banner ad concept for a while now. The general internet population has grown up and moved on from standard banner adverts.

They do still have their place; but that place is not in leading the charge in terms of an online advertising medium — they are more the supporting cast. The interesting thing to watch will be where the ads go to from here. Will we continue to see the banner ads at all (I think we will) and if we do; what will their function be? How will we measure their effectiveness and most importantly – how will they be charged for?

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