How Floating Ads Work

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Floating Ads is a type of rich media Web ad that appears uninitiated, superimposed on a user-requested page, and disappears or becomes unobtrusive after a specific period of time (usually 5 to 30 seconds). The most basic floating ads simply appear on the web page, in full screen or in a smaller rectangular window. They may or may not provide a means of escape, such as a close button. More sophisticated versions can be of any shape or size and include audio, animation, and interactive components. Floating ads use a variety of technologies, such as a combination of Flash and Dynamic HTML (DHTML), and may have the ability to display differently depending on the browser’s capabilities of the user. United Virtualities and Eyeblaster are two advertising media companies that offer floating ads.

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Floating Ads

If you’ve ever visited a website that uses them, you know what “floating ads” are. These are ads that appear when you access a web page. They “float” or “fly” on the page for five to 30 seconds. While they are on the screen, they hide your vision of the page you are trying to read and often block the mouse input.

A screenshot of a typical floating ad for a Norton product: This ad is fully animated, with four or five moving parts. The ad is played for about 15 seconds. Note that it has a “Close” button, so there is a way out of this ad. Many floating ads do not have this feature.

This page has been configured for a floating ad to appear each time you load the page. If you have the right combination of browsers, you should have seen the ad when you clicked on this page. The ad takes about 5 seconds. It floats on the page and should then settle in the upper right corner. If you’d like to see other examples of floating ad campaigns, check out United Virtualities and Eye Blaster.

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Reasons Floating Advertisements

Floating ads appear more and more frequently for several reasons:

They certainly get the attention of the viewer. They are animated. Many now have the sound. Like TV commercials, they “interrupt the program” and force you to watch them. They can occupy the entire screen. So:
From the point of view of the brand, they are much more powerful than something like a banner ad or a sidebar advertisement. They can not be ignored.
They have a high clickthrough rate, averaging about 3% (which means 30 people will click for every 1,000 impressions of a floating ad).
The high clickthrough rate and higher branding power means that advertisers will pay much more for a floating ad, anywhere from $ 3 to $ 30 per 1,000 impressions, depending on the advertiser and ad. Because they can pay a lot of money, websites are ready to serve floating ads.
The only problem with floating ads is that they annoy people. Some people become furious with them and will send death threats and insults of three pages by e-mail. That’s why you do not see them everywhere yet.

Problems Encounter

The problem of boredom, however, signals something interesting about advertising. When pop-up ads first appeared, they bothered many people and you did not see them on many sites. After a while, people got used to them and stopped complaining, and now pop-up ads can be found on tons of sites.

Television provides another useful example. If television programs were ad-free today, and suddenly a TV channel would start broadcasting eight minutes of advertising every half hour in the middle of the programs, people would go to NUTS! There would be, most likely, riots in the streets. But as we all know TV commercials, they do not bother us much. In fact, during the Super Bowl, commercials are a big part of the show!

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