I found this story on TechCrunch about banner advertising quite interesting (here). Companies originally saw online advertising as a way to drive consumers to make a purchase, but they quickly discovered that traditional display ads yielded very few hits. The average banner ad generates 0.2% CTR (click through rate). You can see in this graphic from 2008 that while marketers still believed and wanted the internet to drive traffic they were starting to come around to the idea that creating awareness, familiarity, consideration and loyalty were just as important.
The story, written my Mark Suster a VC at GRP Partners goes on to point out that banner advertising is horrible at creating any of this awareness that advertisers seek online. The solution to this problem is integrated advertising. You don’t have to look further than The Strobist and Joe McNally to see integrated advertising hard at work in the photography industry. Savvy marketers have caught on to the value of endorsement and product placement for creating awareness and they’ve latched on to two early movers.
What really caught my attention in the story was the value of in-image advertising as a form of integrated media. GumGum a company I’ve written about before places advertising on top of images and delivers a 2x industry average CTR. Another company with Google backing called Pixazza places product advertising inside the image.
What does all of this mean for photographers? Something I’ve long argued: photos will eventually out-strip all other forms of communication online. Their ability to deliver information quickly in a crowded marketplace, makes them extremely valuable for marketing, advertising and storytelling.