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How Web Advertising Works


Other Variations

­ You are likely to see many other variations on the theme as time goes on. Here are seve­ral examples:

  • HowStuffWorks offered something called a "takeover campaign" a while back. Viewers visiting HowStuffWorks saw a large ad when they first came to HowStuffWorks each day, and then they saw the message reiterated throughout the site in banner and sidebar ads. The advertiser essentially "took over" the site for one or more days. The approach worked very well as a branding play because the brand was visible to viewers throughout their entire visit to the site. Click-through rates were very high. Advertisers were pleased with the results, and negative reader reaction was minimal because everyone was familiar with banner and sidebar advertising.

  • CNN has experimented with streaming sidebar ads, as shown here:


A small video ad appears in the right sidebar on this CNN page, with sound, and plays for 30 seconds. The reader can control the ad with the three buttons (Play, Pause, Stop) underneath the ad.

  • Pull-down banner ads have appeared on some sites. Their operation varies depending on the site. On some, when you mouse over the banner ad, it expands to fill much of the page. On others, the banner ad is expanded-size initially, then shrinks to normal size after several seconds. Here's an example of one that shrinks after several seconds:


    When you first enter the page, the banner ad is large...


    ...and then shrinks to a normal size (note that this site is using oversized banners at 725x70 pixels, and the width of the site is built around its banner ads). Buttons on the ad let you re-expand it if you choose to.


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­All of these different ad formats are trying to find combinations that give advertisers what they want -- high click-through rates and branding power. In return, advertisers are willing to pay Web sites for running these ads because the ads work.