Startups Explore ‘Interactive’ Alternatives to Old-Fashioned Banners


Marketing VOX

Slowdown in the online ad market has many startups — which count on ad revenue to push otherwise unprofitable ideas onto the production floor — seeking alternatives, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Models of particular interest are ad formats that add “value” to the “user experience” instead of operating on a pure pay-per-click basis.

meebo, for example, makes it possible for users to appropriate photos and graphics from ads for their profiles. This enables them to express themselves through brand or celebrity loyalty — inevitably also turning ads into memes. Ads adopted by users yield higher click-thrus than ordinary banner efforts, the company said.

In February, meebo also launched an ad network for instant messaging.

A current Glaceau campaign on Slide enables users to send virtual bottles of Vitamin Water to “Top Friends” (an independent application on the Slide network). 10 million virtual bottles were conveyed in just eight days, Slide boasted.

There are few obvious connections between interactive online advertising and real-world purchases. But one major benefit to this form of product dissemination is it is less expensive, and potentially more beneficial to brand equity, than merely paying for passive CPM-based advertising.


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