How Digital Execs Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Banner

The lowly, oft-derided banner ad is back in fashion. Call it pivoting from video.

BuzzFeed’s announcement earlier this week that it was going to start selling banner ads on its web site signals a shift that has taken place among some social networks and publishers. For years those companies have complained about banner ads, hated and frequently blocked by consumers. Instead the companies have focused on ways to attract some of the $79 billion that flows to TV advertising every year. That’s the driving force for Snap, Twitter and Facebook talking up their video-ad pitches and various publishers’ hamfisted announcements that they’re “pivoting to video.”

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The bottom line for publishers and social networks is they need to come up with more compelling ads that people will want to watch or force people to sit through ads in a way firms like Snap and Instagram haven’t been willing to do so far. Otherwise, we’ll all have to get used to more banner ads.

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Snap CEO Evan Spiegel wasn’t exactly a fan of the static ads concept when employees first presented the idea a few months back. But he eventually came around, the person said.