Pageviews are no longer king when it comes to measuring website and content performance—if they ever truly were a useful metric at all. More and more advertisers, marketers, and publishers have begun to realize that without actual conversion, views mean very little when it comes to monetizing content. There may have been a time when the availability of content was less ubiquitous and a certain number of views could be counted on to coincide with conversions—but that ship has, for the most part, sailed.
Today, those who are working with content monetization, online sales, and online publishing of all types are aware of the fact that marketing must be done in a careful, calculated manner in order to capture the attention of today’s information inundated consumer base. This might sound as if it goes without saying, but it needs to be said because so many advertisers are still clinging to traditional display ads, which simply aren’t effective. Some estimates claim that the average internet user is served 1,700 banner ads on a monthly basis. How many banner ads do you, the reader, remember seeing over the past month? How many of those brand names do you remember?
Content that doesn’t engage, inform, or entertain is being filtered so that users don’t even see it—and not by ad blocking software on their computers, but by ad blocking “software” in their brains. The phenomenon is referred to as “banner blindness,” and it means that those careful, calculated marketing plans need to look elsewhere for conversions. Because not only do views no longer seem to translate into conversions, page views no longer even mean that the ads being served are being seen at all.
A New Approach
In-image advertising is moving ads off the margins of pages, out of the blank spaces between the content presentations, and into the content images being presented. Obviously, this can be done to greater or lesser effect, but as the trend catches on, quality in-image advertising platforms like Imonomy are making it easier than ever for marketers to serve the types of engaging, intriguing, relevant and entertaining in-image ads they must in order to up their conversion rates. Ads alone can’t support publishers—it takes unique and interesting ads to effectively make a profit. In fact, providing ineffective ads that users don’t want will only have a negative effect—it will drive them toward ad-free sites, or those that utilize better marketing techniques. In-image advertising is the future of advertising, here are four solid reasons that advertisers and publishers should be adopting it now:
Why In-Image Ads Work
1. Visual information is better than text, and content is better than filler.
The reason that the ill-fated banner ad became so popular is very simple. Human beings prefer to look at images, and we require less time to process the contents of an image, compared to reading text. One study suggests that images are processed 60,000 times faster than text by the human brain, and of course, that fits with the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
The problem with banner ads isn’t that they’re banners, it’s that they don’t represent real content to the user, and that quick processing speed means they’re just as quickly ignored. Their placement is alternatively out of the way and unengaging, or disruptive and irritating, because there is no effective way to place an irrelevant, unappealing ad. Content images, however, which are relevant to the information being presented, aren’t ignored. In fact, posts that contain visual imagery as content are 94% more likely to be viewed and engaged with than those that don’t feature images. In-image advertising capitalizes on the user’s preference for pages and posts which contain images while appealing to their desire to have a page free from distractions and irrelevant ads.
2. In-image ads are relevant.
Not only are in-image ads integrated with the content users want to see (relevant images), they’re relevant to the images and the information on the page. This marriage of content and monetization with an emphasis on relevance is a critical aspect of the success of in-image advertising. Platforms like Imonomy don’t just tack ads on to images; they match images and ads based on their relevance to the overall topic of the page using advanced analytics. Furthermore, platforms like this can also use sophisticated retargeting strategies which mean users see ads from the sellers they use, or sellers that are similar to those they prefer. Relevance to the page content and relevance to the user’s personal preferences are used together to create the ads that users want to see when they visit a particular page.
3. In-image advertising requires cognitive engagement.
Content is no longer something that users simply scroll through. Accustomed to an app-assisted lifestyle, users expect to be able to interact with content on their own terms. These interactive engagements are not only perceived as a better experience for users, but help to cement the experience in their memory. For example, if a blog post about making home-made pizza features a photo of that pizza, an in-image ad may display pizza cutters or pizza stones on sale at a particular advertiser when the image is hovered. The user may well be interested in these items because they’re relevant to the post, because the user has an interest in kitchen gadgets in general, and because they frequent the seller’s page—but they remember, engage, and click on the ad because they interacted with it. A banner ad or a text ad in the side bar simply won’t be seen.
4. In-image advertising doesn’t detract from the user experience.
If the user browsing pizza recipes isn’t interested in a new pizza stone, they can simply move the mouse and continue browsing the page. Advertisers face a conundrum when trying to reach consumers: they must capture attention without badgering the viewer. There’s a reason that some users will pay for ad-free content, or install software to block ads; they don’t want their user experience to be interrupted, disrupted, or degraded by advertising. In-image advertising is tasteful and tailored to the user, and represents a fusion of their interests, the topic of the page, and the needs of the advertiser. Instead of detracting from the user’s experience, it can actually complement it. Imonomy, for example, won’t only serve in-image advertising, but can help bloggers and publishers by sourcing the images to be used as well—high quality, highly relevant images that add real value to the content being presented.
The Future of Online Advertising
Users’ expectations continue to increase. They want free content, they want quality content, they want personalized, engaging, content that appeals to their own preferences and with which they can interact. Content providers, of course, want to be able to make money from the content they’re providing, and the best compromise is providing free, ad-supported content. However, simply having ads present on the page is no longer enough, and advertisers are becoming increasingly aware of this—making it far more difficult for publishers to make money from ads that aren’t resulting in conversions.
In-image advertising is the answer to this conundrum. It creates conversion, elevates the quality of the content that users are experiencing, gives them the opportunity to engage, and doesn’t annoy, distract, or detract from the content they want to view. The future of online advertising is a seamless integration of quality content and relevant ads, but content providers and advertisers don’t need to wait for “the future” to provide their users and potential customers with this integration.
Advertising will never die, the medium and quality of delivery simply evolves with time.