Interactive AdsStories

Why I believe in interactive ad tech revolution

Apr. 11, 2023 | by Nikolai Pietiläinen
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Our COO Nikke explains his "why"

Imagine a teenager’s room in the early '90s: there’s a huge, boxy computer monitor in the corner, Nirvana posters on the walls, and there might be a lava lamp somewhere. You know the room. 

Now, fast forward 30 years and look again: what’s changed? 

Well, Nirvana is still awesome, that much I know. But the teenager has grown up and that boxy computer and the monitor have shrunk and are placed in the former teenager's front pocket. But one thing that hasn’t changed is that banner ad on the screen of his computer.

Ads should work the same way the rest of the web does

Why do we still - in the advertising industry - expect people to engage with ads the same way they did 30 years ago? 

Simultaneously we’re aware and even obsessed, rightfully, about the UX and UI of our websites and digital customer journeys, but are we as obsessed – or even thinking about – the usability and experience our advertising offers?

I think we should be asking better, user-centric questions about our ads:
✔️ Is this ad simple to interact with? 
✔️ Do people like this ad? 
✔️ Is the way we expect people to engage with it up to date? 

Without answering these questions, we’re simply designing advertising that has UX that is subpar.

Let's talk about money

Owned, bought, and earned channels are ways for advertisers and brands to divide budgets, but for people, the whole brand journey should be as easy and valuable as possible.   

Now, I’m not here to tell you that the traditional static banner ads that we all know (but do not love) are rubbish. Because they’re not. Against all odds, they’re still there: alive and kicking, new banners going live all the time. I have tried to challenge the position of banner ads for 13 years in my own professional career with alternative solutions and a passion to improve advertising, but so far banners have won every time. There’s a reason for that. 

Looking at the ad tech or mar tech LUMAscape we can see that there are multiple solutions on creative approaches alone that are designed to drive results. Still, looking at websites randomly, we mostly see static banners – and the simple reason is that banner ads are both scalable and easy.

Creating and spreading these static images with a single button has become an integrated part of a vast value chain that is optimized toward efficiency. As the outcome of these ads is constantly on the decline (yes, I am talking about the CTR), value needs to be created through efficiency.

"The ease of banner ads is one of the main factors keeping this fossil of advertising still alive. "

So no, the static banner can’t just be deemed as rubbish, end of the story. But understanding and appreciating that doesn't mean we should stop believing that advertising can be better.

Then why Cavai?

This need for evolution is why I am yet again part of a journey where we challenge the status quo – and partly, we’re challenging the banner too. Going back to that ’90s room, nothing can or should be done with the nostalgia, but it’s high time to take the next step in digital advertising.

"As the focus in the last years has been on the delivery and data aspect of advertising, we believe that it’s time to shift our attention from backend to frontend: to focus on the creative."

Especially in digital advertising, creativity is the way brands get to engage with their audience, so by making it easy, modern, and entertaining, we can uplift the whole value chain. This all starts with wanting to understand users and listening to them. 

Now I’m not saying we have the whole digital advertising figured out. No. We believe that what we’re currently doing is part of the solution to making better advertising. With interaction, people will get information and services that are tailored to their needs, without having to leave the site they are on! And even without the brands needing to use data to do guesswork when we can invite users to actually tell us what they want. All this can already improve the direct results of campaigns, but we still need to find a way to fit the ecosystem of advertising in the most effective possible way. 

We need to find the partners who are not content with the way things are, and who are willing to change. Because in the end, creating something new requires new thinking, new measurements, new resources and also taking risks. 

As Albert Einstein allegedly said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Thus, our aim is to stop the cycle by simply doing things differently in the search for new results. 

If you believe that digital advertising can be better and you want join forces with me in challenging the banner - join us and reach out.

by Nikolai Pietiläinen