A look at online advertising

Its funny. I was searching the web for “how banner ads work” and came to that wonderful site I use to find out how anything works, “Howstuffworks.com” only to be inundated with a few banner ads on the side of the article as I read how they work.

A huge medium for advertising is online advertising. This semester my goal is to explore website advertisements, why they work, and what makes one ad campaign more successful than the next. One form of online advertisements is banner ads.  According to “How Stuff Works” banner ads essentially are bits of HTML code that contain images, or animation, text, or all three and when clicked on take you to that advertiser’s  web page. A banner ad can be compared to a magazine ad, both are images on a page that stay in one place. A noted difference is that with a banner ad the images can change and it’s also like touching a magazine ad and being transported directly to their store.

A quick search for the most successful ad campaigns http://www.internetworldstats.com/top10.htm  and I found that Vonage was leading the group.  I did another search for a Vonage banner ad and came to this:


This is the ad that was popularized in the UK. According to the advertising company that worked with Vonage, the company’s had a market in the US but not the UK. They decided to use an animation of simple drawing of a man using Vonage to explain how it worked http://www.vonage.co.uk/how-vonage-works/ The man became the company’s brand in the UK. I think the reason this image works as a brand is that it is simple and easy to remember. Actually the entire banner is extremely simple. It’s stated purpose is for the user to estimate the savings they’d get with Vonage. The consumer knows it has something to do with phone bills and that it can save you money but they have to click the Calculate Savings to get to the website. I think the simplicity and branding makes this banner ad work and is one of the reasons Vonage made it as one of the 10 most successful ad campaigns.  

Verizon was also listed as having one of the more successful online advertisements. An example of a banner add is below. ImageVerizon’s aim seems to be different than Vonage because there is very little branding in terms of a cartoon image but there still is branding with the word Verizon which is white against a black background. However, this branding is small compared to the word “Droid” in white letters and “4G” in red across a black background. In silver lettering it talks about how it is ultra and sleek. I think the aim here is to make this phone look cool. The focus is on the phone and not the company.

Although Vonage and Verizon’s banner ads are strikingly different, they both entice the user to enter their webpage by giving just enough info to spark curiosity and I think this is  exactly what a banner ad is all about.





This entry was written by tonidibona and published on January 26, 2012 at 12:19 pm. It’s filed under Semiotics. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “A look at online advertising

  1. Very cool concept, Toni. I can’t wait to see what you come up with this semester!

  2. kelpeterson on said:

    Ooh! Cool topic, especially with the (almost inescapable) prevalence of ads in our everyday online lives. (I still get semi-shudders thinking about the #wecf11 class where we discussed how much Facebook knows about us.)

    Anywho, any chance you’ll do a post on how advertisers do/don’t work toward getting those people who always ignore and never click banner ads?

    • tonidibona on said:

      Thanks for the comment! I like your angle concerning why some banner ads work and others don’t and how advertisers can entice you to click on the ad. I will definitely explore that topic. I also want to explore the semiotics behind different ads, the signs that are used and how and why they are used. We’ll see where it goes from here!

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