Banner Ads and Responsive Web Design

RKopacz's picture

Has anyone out there had any experience with banner ads on a responsive web design on Drupal? I've started on a project assuming there was a solution to this, and it seems as though this is a subject in flux, since banner ad sizes are traditionally a fixed height and width.

If anyone out there has any experience on solutions, I would appreciate hearing about it. I am assuming that the revenue model has to change. Thoughts?


Responsive advertising resource

jpamental's picture


I've been researching this a bit lately and this came up on Friday:

It's got a great set of resources - don't miss all the links in the comments as well.

You can also see more of what at least one commercial company is doing here: (I've not used them but it looks promising)

Essentially the idea is to use images and HTML/CSS w/media queries to create the ads and sell by grouping, not specific dimensions. One thing that the industry hasn't really quantified though is how scale and proportion influence the amount of attention one element has over the other. This changes greatly on a smaller screen, so a smaller ad effectively has greater impact (and performs quite well if you go by the stats in that first article).

It's a start anyway!


Jason Pamental
[ @jpamental ]


RKopacz's picture

Thanks for the quick reply! I'll have a look at those links. I'm learning the hard way that these are issues that small site owners aren't yet ready for.

what's the source of the ads?

jpamental's picture

Are the ads coming from an ad network or do you have more control over them? If you do, you could create ads in HTML (heck, you could even use web fonts and responsive images), so the banners would easily scale.

Just a thought (though only really applies if you're not using DART or some other ad network)

Jason Pamental
[ @jpamental ]

Ads directly sold

RKopacz's picture

These are ads which are directly sold by the site owner, based on existing relationships with the advertiser. He does not produce the ads, the advertiser produces them. I am seeing that there are solutions, but I think that both my client and his advertisers will have to start thinking about advertising in new ways :-o!

Thanks again for the feedback. Keep you posted ;-)!

Publishers selling ads

ResponsiveAds's picture

Sorry about being a little late to the party...
We have a private beta product that lets publishers upload creatives from advertisers and create a flow-line ( this is how you want the ad to look from screen to screen)... the publisher can modify those assets or give credentials for the advertiser to polish them off.

( We are in private beta, so still working out the business model... any suggestions?)

If you sign-up we can work with you on this.!
For back-fill with Google Adsense and other 3rd party networks we have a solution for this as well!

Matthew Snyder

Ad Modules for Drupal (Newspaper)

Pica's picture

I believe we are doing what you are looking for:
For example: is about to launch
We can select the number of ads we want to rotate in a particular position, I typically do 1-3.

Not sure

RKopacz's picture

Thanks for your reply. I don't see it on that site (very nice site, by the way!). For example, in the News page, you can place an ad after, say, the third teaser in the list of teasers? That is the functionality I am looking for.

UPDATE: oops, sorry, I thought you were replying to a different post I put up about banner ad injection into teaser lists! Disregard the above text.

RK, what's a "teaser?"

Pica's picture

The ads you saw in the are very flexible and, if I'm understanding you right, would work for your model. If you have questions contact me thru

Sorry, Wrong Post

RKopacz's picture

When I read your reply, I mistakenly thought you were responding to this discussion. My mistake. However, I will look more carefully at your solution, but one issue is how to make the ad, the other is explaining how this works to both my client (site owner, who is selling the ads) and the advertiser.

Ads: Position-Rotations-Creation

Pica's picture

All off what you're looking for can be done; I do this all the time with my Drupal newspaper clients. Last week in WI I sold $20,000 in web advertising in two days.

I have been working on blog

bleen's picture

I have been working on blog post about this ... so I finished it:

Dude, you are most excellent :-)

RKopacz's picture

Can't wait to read this. Thanks!

nice overview

jpamental's picture

@bleen18 - great article, with some really nice resources.

I'm hoping that given all the attention responsive design has been getting in our industry, we'll put as much attention into coming up with some reasonable guidelines and metrics. The biggest challenge is in conveying relative value - but that requires more information from the usage responsive sites and performance of different ads. It will certainly be a challenge but whoever figures it out will effectively be setting the direction for the industry for years to come. I hope we get it at least more right than we have so far!

Jason Pamental
[ @jpamental ]

it's the usefull info ! keep

topiclaw's picture

it's the usefull info ! keep posting ....

I am a drupal user, and that's the resion i am here !

See: cong ty luat | maxitalk and my blog

I realize this is probably an

Sunshiney's picture

I realize this is probably an unexpected question but given the focus is on responsive ads, I have to ask: Do any of you actually click-through on banner ads of any type? I do not.

In all of my years online, I have come to conclude that:

  • People go online looking for solutions to problems
    *If what's being advertised solves the problem, the site visitor will be interested in what is being advertised
    *If what's being advertised is part of the solution and it's located within the article or as a natural part of the article, response rate increases
    *If that ad is quiet but clear as opposed to yelling "buy me, buy me," response increases
    *text ads, in my experience, have fared always better than banner ads

Any one else agree or disagree? Yes, I understand the value of institutional advertising as well as the long-term value that derives from ads that brand. But when talking about ads that convert to immediate behavior rather than ads that create image, I remain convinced that carefully created text ads remain the best.

solid observations, but not the whole picture (I think)

jpamental's picture

I don't really disagree with anything you've put forth, but there's another side of things that many of us don't often cross, and that is that with large media sites (not just newspapers, but all media from CNN to Engadget to Martha Stewart) 'make their living' from ad sales, because it's still a really tough sell today to get users to buy access to the content.

So the market is still largely driven by those sites needing to sell ad space, and ad networks working to fill that space by selling to brands who want to advertise on those properties. Those ad rates are dictated by size and placement - but the problem is that size and placement is increasingly impossible to predict. Most of the sites that have adopted a responsive design have had to either shoehorn in homegrown solutions or forgo much of their advertising on smaller screens. But for responsive design to really take hold on the largest web properties, this has to be solved in a better way.

I don't click on banners either, but the truth is neither you nor I are the typical demographic being targeted. There are literally millions of web users out there who do click on ads - regularly. I have a hard time keeping that perspective at times, but it's true. We are not usually our own best test case. I don't really know the answers to many of these questions, but it's certainly coming up more and more, so it's certainly got my attention.

Jason Pamental
[ @jpamental ]

Web advertising text vs. display ads

Pica's picture

If you look at many of the national brands, they accomplish both the direct sale with branding / image.
Also, what many people lose site of is that the ads don't often require a click-thru because they stand alone as an advertisement. For example: if I see a Pizza Hut had the has "$5 for any medium pizza" I don't have to click it to get the message.
This is actually the more common web display ad.
These theories about responsive ads or regular web ads being useful is just speculation, the big players have sliced and diced the metrics in volume. They know the statistics, they know what works. (Why do you think ads follow you around the web?)
Don't ever believe it hasn't been figured out, just you can't.

i'm not an expert in this,

dasjo's picture

i'm not an expert in this, but mark boulton just published an article that might be of interest to you

good post

jpamental's picture

Thanks for the post - it's one of the ones mentioned a bit in the Smashing Magazine article as well. It's an interesting subject, and contrary to what @Pica feels, I don't believe for a second that it's actually been researched and sorted out by 'the big brands' at all. Ad rates have been a huge issue for years in trying to adapt a print-based mode of thinking to an ever-changing digital landscape, and it's not getting any easier. We forget that it's still very much a minority of the wider web world that has even heard of responsive design, much less come to grips with everything it brings to light.

Ads are still sold by size and placement - you pay more for 'above the fold'. Seriously. So no, I don't think it's been figure out and that's why there's so much discussion going on. I work with some fairly large media and font companies and they're asking about this too. It's exciting really - but also a really tough nut to crack. It'll be interesting to see what technologies and techniques emerge.

Jason Pamental
[ @jpamental ]

Agreed, Jason, it's still being figured out

Pica's picture

However, to clarify: Responsive is already being modeled and sold as advertising.
I do it as part of a package; the combination of total views on web-tablet-mobile.

Thanks all for the comments / Discussion

RKopacz's picture

Wow, didn't think my post would get this much discussion! Thanks everybody for chiming in.

Just finished chatting with a client and something he said moved me to search in Google, and I came across this (maybe you have all seen it, but just in case you haven't:

AIB Report on Responsive Design

Just skimmed so far, but seems like it's worth a read.

it is a good resource

jpamental's picture

That's what the IAB has worked on with - it's interesting, and clearly they are working on it - but I'm not sure they've worked out the differences in ad value from small screen to large. Their work seems to focus primarily on the technical part of making an ad asset that is responsive. The business model is still less resolved (though I have to read the report more carefully as well - I've not gone through it in its entirety yet)

Jason Pamental
[ @jpamental ]

Business Models

ResponsiveAds's picture

Yes- we are working deeply with the IAB and others to establish the right business models in this space. ResponsiveAds works in two modes. SWAP = changing the creatives, and STRETCH= Responsive Creative. We are still in private beta and have not launched the full business model, but for us we want to give publishers the ability to scale with their existing processes and systems and build a new revenue stream around mobile and responsive web design. We work separately, then providing a turn-key-site and ad solution, but rather provide solutions to complement existing sites. STRETCH creatives also work on non-responsive sites.

If you have a site and would like support, please let us know.... we are open and looking to work with the community and have a lot of reference cases. We have been on this now for about 1 year..... including a couple of Drupal sites :)

We are now working with publishers with ad sales.... that also back-fill with networks and use or not-use an adserver....


ok - read it more carefully

jpamental's picture

And to their credit they do bring up a lot of good references (some mentioned here already) and a lot of outstanding issues and questions (again, many already brought up in this thread) and not a lot of answers yet on the business/revenue side. But at least there's a conversation going.

Jason Pamental
[ @jpamental ]

The Windows 8 touchable

Jim Rowan's picture

The Windows 8 touchable environment absolutely brings a new dimension to online advertising. The responsive desktop environment demands a responsive ad unit and a responsive delivery platform and reporting on what dynamically happened in real time. The responsive ad unit cannot simply shrink or expand itself. Rather it must re-arrange its creative elements to fit perfectly in a dynamically changing space by user interaction to provide a complete and high quality ad experience. The Liqwid Ad Technology platform delivers responsive ads into any responsive environment on any device, all while using a single ad unit. Now, the user experience is not about scrolling a fixed page with fixed ad sizes, it is about interacting by touch with a far more dynamic user experience.