Big Data, Tiny Banners

Big Data, Tiny Banners

Happy New Year!

It’s 2015…time to get in shape, pay off debt, find love, get a job, fix your life! In Adtechland those phrases sound like the ads you’ll see for the next 30 days – all powered by big data and delivered in tiny packages that most of us actually never see or even worse, find in the company of bots. Like the ads we peddle, us ad techies have New Year’s resolutions and big plans for 2015.

2014 was an exciting year.

We saw the early stages of a major transformation in the digital experience as we know it; from responsive websites, to mobile devices, to connected TV’s, and that “Internet of Things” you may have heard about. We should all care about this transformation, since we spend enough time in the digital world each day as it is.

While the abundance of data has made us more precise and intelligent marketers, we can’t forget that it’s the experience that drives the sale and builds sustainable brand affinity.  Translation: if you provide a great experience, more people will love you and buy more of your stuff.

So why do we continue to pump all this BIG DATA into our tiny banners?

Leveraging data for targeting has come a long way in the past 10 years, and now it’s time for the digital experience to catch up. The move to native ad experiences is one step in this evolution. For the banner lovers out there (anyone left?) there is an alternative and a better way to tell your story, build a brand, and sell more stuff.

Menu BoardIt all starts with a better customer experience.

It’s Friday night after a long week at the office. You know the feeling. Do you hit up your favorite restaurant because the menu is the cheapest on the block? Probably not. I’m guessing go there because the atmosphere is comfortable, the staff is friendly and knowledgeable, the beer is cold, and the food tastes great. It’s a place you’d recommend to your friends.

We know a good experience, when we feel it.  In the digital world it’s not much different. It’s just more about knowing a good experience, when we see it. I won’t get into user experience stats, but in general our society (like it or not) has a very short attention span.

We’ve been conditioned to make a decision within the first few seconds of landing on a web page, quickly deciding whether to continue or bail out. So it’s great to see content publishers redesigning the web as we know it to deliver a more unified experience across all screens. What we’re calling “Native Advertising” is simply the ad format that provides the best fit for monetizing this new experience.

A time for change.

The change is in motion. So it’s time for us to embrace new ad formats for this new digital experience. Big data is good. Just apply it to the new formats and your customers will reward you tenfold. 

I predict that 2015 will be ‘The Year of Programmatic Native’. All this means is that big data and marketing automation will be applied to the new digital experience…not just those tiny banners.


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  1. Jacob Hancock

    Well said, Jeff. Moving away from banners means a much better reader experience. While banners add another distraction, native advertising, when done right, adds real value (information, entertainment) to a reader’s online experience.

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