Chiyo, please know I always enjoy your thoughtful and thought-provoking posts. Having said that, I must bring up some counterpoints for the sake of a well-rounded discussion:
>> So the advertisers find out that no body was clicking on their ads, so their response is to make them BIGGER?!!
Are the ads bigger to get more clicks, or are the ads bigger to get more than clicks? Let's remove clicks from the equation momentarily...
(A) What is the value of a highly targeted banner ad if it offers no clickable link?
(B) What is the value of a highly targeted skyscraper ad if it offers no clickable link?
Which of the above offers more potential value beyond the simple "click here" refrain?
You don't see many newspapers or magazines supported by the equivalent of a banner at the top of the page. Newspapers, magazines, radio, television... they all need a certain percentage of space devoted to advertising in order to survive. The hope is that online media will be effective enough to profit more from less ad space, but we'll have to wait and see.
>>dont have to go off-page... but I could do that anway...
True, but the ads have already been loaded, plus they can present a focused mini-site rather than dropping people at the home page of a labyrinth.
>>these ads will be ignored
New sizes and formats are not going to overcome poor targeting, but they might take better advantage of good targeting.
>>Plus they will make me want to go to sites which use them less.
But will these other sites be able to survive? More to the point, will they be able to survive while maintaining their editorial integrity? Sites will be forced to make elegant compromises.
>>When will we wake up that the problem with banner ads is not that they are too small, now that they dont open in a new window, nor that they are not interactive or "rich" enough? I go to the Internet for information, not ads.
Interactive formats might unlock the info potential of adverts while addressing the publisher's editorial concerns and the advertiser's brand concerns. Look at simple search boxes, whether they are for Web pages, specialized services, or even products. Few page items possess more "mouse gravity" than (real) form elements, and there is no need to disguise who is powering a search box. How else can advertisers effectively use the new tools? We'll find out soon enough.
>>Now if I see a service or product advertised on-line which is wholly relevant to the page, and which is integrated in the copy or shows the product in use on the page, THEN I will click.
I like relevancy, too, but integration into the copy is a slippery slope. Personally, I'm more leery of an affiliate link in the copy than a skyscraper ad on the side of the page. Maybe I'm just funny like that.
I agree that ads showing products in action will be a great use of animation, and they won't have to masquerade as editorial content, either.
>>It's the poor targeting and context that is the problem, not the ad itself.
merchants/offers X targeting X formats/creative = success/failure
Currently, all three elements are sub-optimal in the online environment. Online advertising needs a greater breadth and depth of advertisers, better targeting, and more effective formats. It is a chicken/egg problem. Plenty of targeting options exist, but you need a diverse base of advertisers to make full use of them. What's going to bring about more advertisers? Better means of communicating with their audience might be a start.
How stupid do they really think we are?
I'd hate to generalize. Some advertisers give me credit for having a brain, yet others feel the need to club me over the head with blinking banners. (I'm rooting for the former to be around long-term.)
>> The internet advertising conglomerate's last gasp for sure...
Sure, there will be a continued shift on the permission/interruption continuum towards permission/pull (opt-in email, SEO) at the expense of interruption/push advertising, but it might be more evolution than revolution.
None of this is to say that the advertising outlook is great or that every publisher or advertiser will be successful in the future. Far from it. However, as a long-time Web surfer/sufferer, I am shedding a lot of banner baggage (and Flash baggage) in a short period of time. Your mileage may vary. -S