By Jennifer Farley

New Web Ads: Now Even More In Your Face!

By Jennifer Farley

opa logoJust when you thought there were too many ads on the web, the Online Publishers Association (OPA) have created a new set of advertising units. The idea behind the new advertising formats is to improve on the old banner ads we all love/hate (delete where appropriate).

In March of this year, the OPA announced three new ad formats. And in case you’ve been having difficulty seeing the current crop of ads and banners on the web, you’ll be delighted to know that the new ad units are even BIGGER.

The Fixed Panel, which is 336 pixels wide by 860 pixels high, and will be embedded in the page as normal.
The XXL Box has dimensions of 468 pixels wide by 648 pixels high, and will have video capability and functionality allowing page-turning.
The Pushdown is weighing in at a hefty 970 pixels wide by 418 pixels high. (No need to use your glasses to see the ads anymore) The proposed use for this one is to initially open full size and then roll up to the top of the page.

The ads are currently not available for everyone to use. An exclusive club of 27 publishers are the first to experiment with new ad units, and they really are the big boys. Initial participants include CNN, MTV, FOX News and The New York Times. Trials started in March and will continue until July.

From the OPA press release;

“As consumers and advertisers increasingly turn to digital media, we must create formats and programs that support and sustain the differentiating aspects of our businesses,” said Martin A. Nisenholtz, founding chairman of the OPA, and senior vice president, digital operations, The New York Times Company. “Agencies must be given the tools to build brands on the Web and publishers must provide the formats for their advertisers to thrive, while balancing the needs of their users.”

If the ads are successful during the trial period, it’s fair to assume it won’t be long before they become commonplace on the web. So as designers, this will be another factor we will need to consider as part of our web design and layout. All of the ads are fairly large, so the challenge will be to ensure that the important content you’re trying to get your users to focus on, is not dominated by the ad. Or it could be the case, where like TV, the ads are sometimes better than the programs.

Having said that, it could be a really exciting time for internet ad designers. It will be interesting to see some results from the trials. The Pushdown ad sounds like it could be intensely annoying for visitors, even if it rolls up quickly, but for a web designer creating ads, this could be great fun.

So what do you think? Will these ads add to the nightmare, or is it a new opportunity for designers?

  • Quest

    Sounds like an awesome opportunity for advertising designers although I can see how this can potentially be annoying to visitors. I am wondering if these formats will help or hurt advertising on the web. Hopefully these trials will reveal the results.

  • codemypantsoff

    Always wondered what made these guys the arbiters of what works basically they cram something down the big buys throats and everyone else thinks it works – is there any research to say these are better?

    As for oportunities as soon as they are mainstream every web site owner will want the same thing where they can so they look like the big boys

  • Two words. Ad blockers.

  • Andy Kaiser

    The Fixed Panel scrolls to the top and bottom of the page as a user scrolls but is 860 tall (seems that some areas will not be visible in some screen sizes…)

    Why not create a new unit named: Gozilla Panel, 100% wide & 100% tall and with no option to close it? lol!

  • Rosser

    This will just make ad blockers more popular, they are shooting themselves in the foot.

  • Tom Waterhouse

    418px heigh at the top of the page?!
    Soooo, users on a 1024×768 screen will see approximately 210px of content below that advert… That’s ridiculous!
    As if it wasn’t hard enough designing for advert blocks… oh well!

  • SpacePhoenix

    Dan Schulz Says:
    May 28th, 2009 at 1:48 am

    Two words. Ad blockers.

    If implemented Ad blockers will probably become 10x as popular. People don’t mind the current sized ads but I doubt that many will put up with the proposed new sizes. The XXL Box is the most worrying as it could be annoying if used for video.

  • tiggsy

    This might be the one thing that finally pushes me to install Adblocker. These sound much too hard to ignore…

  • Stevie D

    Adverts are often irritating, especially when they are distracting or interrupt the flow of reading.

    Video adverts are just intolerable. Those of us using older computers really suffer, because the video takes so much processor power that they just gtind to a halt. Especially given the usual propensity of ad providers to make them as inefficient and power-hungry as possible :-(

  • Boycott. Of the four commercial providers this article lists, I frequent two of them regularly — CNN and the New York Times. (Because I’m such a fun guy….) You can be sure that I will let them know, on a regular basis, just how off-putting I find their ads, and how much better it is for me to fill my news void with content from other providers. By myself, it won’t mean much. If a lot of people start hitting back, it will begin to have an impact. How much remains to be seen, but any impact is better than supine acceptance.

  • I don’t really mind ads, except for the ones that jump in front of the text when I’m trying to read something. I don’t go to websites that use these super large ads, and now I have another reason not to visit them!

  • Meginoz

    When are these people going to realise that the more ‘in-your-face’ ads are, the more resolutely people ignore them? I don’t mind unobtrusive ads like Google ads, and will usually look at them as they are at least to some degree targetted to be relevant to what I’m reading. But anything big or flashy I go out of my way to NOT look at them, and anything that covers my screen and hinders my reading will make me leave that site very quickly. Even if I never click on an ad, at least the small text ads I have looked at and registered the name of the company in my mind. Most big flashy ads I have no idea who they are for as I have got so good at getting rid of them or scrolling past them before I even see what they are.

  • I have never heard of OPA before, the places I have worked all use IAB standards.

    I don’t see how covering a whole page with ads is going to be acceptable to users. I suspect these ad types may hurt page counts as users click away due to not spotting the content amongst the ads.

  • michelbranco

    I think at the point where an ad gets annoying when you try to read something, its just bad. Bad for your visitor or potential customer. Maybe good for you wallet.


  • Sounds great for the designer, annoying for the user. Personally I tend to just ignore most web ads. I don’t like the animated ones that cover up the text.

  • daniweb

    I thing … I will make an ad blocker soft. :)

  • If implemented Ad blockers will become more popular.

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