Big Websites Start Running Bigger Display Ads. Big Mistake.

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According to MediaPost, The Online Publishers Association yesterday announced that 37 of its members, including juggernauts like The New York Times, Forbes, ESPN, CNN and MSNBC.com are (or are soon going to start) running the new, larger ad units the organization introduced last March. Since the members who are running these campaigns for brands like Bank of America and Mercedes-Benz reach about 68% of the total U.S. Internet audience, there’s a good chance you will soon see them, too.

There’s also a good chance you’ll hate them.

The three new ad units are named and sized as follows:

- The Fixed Panel (336×700) – remains in view as a user scrolls up or down the page
- The XXL Box (468×648), the extra wide side-of-page ad that expands to 936 x 648 and includes page-turn and video capability
- The Pushdown (970×418), which opens big to display the ad and then after seven seconds rolls up to the top of the page (collapsing to 970 x 66).

The first one was actually supposed to be 860 pixels in height, but they reconsidered it and brought it down to 700, reportedly after feedback from publishers.

In order to visualize how big these ads are in their most expanded state, I overlayed the TechCrunch homepage with boxes of the same size:

Here’s how OPA President Pam Horan justified the introduction of the new ad units:

“The real motivation was to provide marketers and agencies with the opportunity to deliver a branded experience directly on the pages of these very rich content sites.”

But what about the children website visitors?

Nobody seems to really care, apart from the fact that OPA recommends their members that the frequency of the pushdown ad be capped at once per day per page. Horan says it passed that recommendation on because they “want to stay close to consumers”. I puked in my mouth a little.

Is it just me or does anyone else think that display advertising units on websites should become more relevant to them instead of just bigger? What’s next, 1200×600 ads?

How do you feel about the new ad units?(survey software)

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