Let’s Try HTML5 Banner Ads?

Entrepreneur

Static display ads are fine and good except when they are competing with rich media ads (aka HTML5 banner ads). Our books department at Entrepreneur wanted to experiment by adding HTML5 banners to their advertising tool-belt.

Approach

One Must Learn To Walk Before They Can Run

I can fumble my way through building a page with HTML and CSS but beginning this project I knew I would have to do my own research before making promises.

Adobe has a tool called Animate that assists in a multitude of tasks, including the creation of HTML5 banner ads for people like me who are more accustomed to After Effects, however I was still unfamiliar with the program. After taking a course in creating HTML5 banner ads I felt comfortable enough to spill the beans that this was something I was capable of doing.

(Fun 300x250 ad to promote Entrepreneur Insider)
(If you can’t see anything here, turn off your ad blocker 😉)

Immediately after I told our books department know about these animated banners, they wanted to take them for a test drive.

The Flow

Since this was one of my first projects working with animated banners, my workflow was still being defined but for the most part I would follow the same path I typically took for drafting animations.

First I’d sketch out the keyframes including any copy and CTA’s at the end of the sequence. From there I used Keynote to prototype a higher fidelity draft that gave the sense of motion from each keyframe to another. At this point, I’d present to the books department and ask for edits making sure to let them know that this was a simplified draft and intended to get something they could see as quickly as possible.

Once approved, I finished up the banner ad in Animate, making sure the ad itself had the proper click tags and was ready for handoff to our Ad Ops team.

Takeaways

Mixed

After about a month running the set of ads that I built, we knew we needed to take a look at the numbers to see if there were any improved engagement or conversions. Unfortunately, there weren’t any noticeable improvement (womp).

I was told by our Ad Ops team that we’d need to run several more sets to get more meaningful data and if creating these HTML5 ads would be worth the time investment. The books department decided to not go forward with animated banner ads.

Even though this project didn’t lead to a plethora of others, it did make me more curious about the complexities of banner ads and how they create value for a specific audience. It also helped me start being more critical of the static banners we create at Entrepreneur. Who is the audience? What is the value proposition? Why would they find this valuable? Constantly asking these kinds of questions to myself has allowed me to be more engaged in the marketing process and enabled me to thoughtfully respond to copy that fails to address these core questions.

(Ad for an Amazon book promotion)