Posted September 24, 2013 7:18 am by with 0 comments

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deadoneThe Birth of Display Advertising

In 1980, most of us had an 8086 computer and didn’t have a cell phone (or…if we did, it was an analog cell phone), Prozac and Viagra were not yet invented, and microwaveable popcorn had just been released.

The history of online display advertising goes back to the 1980s, when Prodigy (a joint venture between IBM, CBS and Sears) ran online advertising experiments for Sears products. In online terms, that was eons ago.  Many of today’s thought-leaders of the online advertising industry weren’t even born yet in 1980.

But does the age of display advertising signify its demise or its maturity?

The “Shocking Statistics”

Some alarming statistics about display advertising have been used on many blogs and slideshares lately:

  • You are more likely to complete NAVY SEAL training than click a banner ad.

  • You are more likely to get a royal flush while playing poker than click on a banner ad.

  • You are more likely to summit Mount Everest than click a banner ad.

  • You are more likely to birth twins than click a banner ad.

  • You are more likely to get into MIT than click a banner ad.

  • You are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad.

(Source: Solve Media)

But does this type of sensational journalism and fear motivation mean that the display industry is truly dead?


There is one important statistic you should be made aware of before you discount display:

18.1% growth expected of US display advertising this year to reach a total of $20 billion. (Source: eMarketer)


Twenty billion dollars.  More than the 2013 NASA budget (less than $18 billion).  More than the net worth of Mark Zuckerberg (less than $14 billion), who, incidentally, was not born yet in 1980.  A twenty billion dollar industry is not dead.  The smartphone accessories industry’s market size is $20 billion and walking through any mall or tourist destination proves that it is far from dead.

In fact, the display ecosystem is not only alive, it is currently going through a sort of re-birth.

The Re-Birth of Display

Perhaps the 30-year-old banner has low CTR, but the display industry is not just the 30-year-old banner.  The display ecosystem has adjusted to the times and is going through a re-birth fueled by new technology, diversified channels, and a modernized infrastructure.

Display’s reach is growing thanks to the growth of the mobile market and social networks.  Mobile display advertising has increased its market share of total mobile spending by no less than 8% to 39%, growing at over 120% CAGR (Source: IDC).  About 1 out of every 3 display ads appear on social sites.  (Source: ComScore).

The display ecosystem has been improved by technological enhancements like Real Time Bidding (RTB).  According to agency execs, RTB enables improvements in ad effectiveness anywhere between 20% and 150%. (Source: AdExchanger)

The standard banner worked in its time.  Now is the time for engaging new formats of larger, more interactive canvasses.   51% of ad agencies report a rise in client demand for dynamic rich media ads.

Conclusion: Dead or Alive?

The real statistics show that display is not dead.  It is not only alive, it is thriving!  It is changing with the times and accommodating trends and shifts in the marketplace.  It is a healthy, profitable industry and should not be discounted in marketing efforts for any brand or company.


About the Author

kfirKfir Moyal is CEO of BIScience (AdClarity) and General Partner of Cyhawk Ventures. Kfir co-founded Matomy (previously AdsMarket), a worldwide leader in multi-channel performance based advertising, with revenues of above $100M. Being a savvy technologist and a successful businessman, Kfir’s gift is identifying market trends and new businesses with potential and using his product development, strategic planning, marketing, business development and M&A experience to bring them into the fold as mature, profitable entities. Active in the online industry for more than 15 years, his special focus is on New Media, Online Advertising and Digital Marketing.