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A live banner is a banner ad which is created dynamically (or whose content is created dynamically) at the time of display, instead of being pre-programmed with fixed content. Live banners function the same way as traditional web banners: promoting a brand, product, service, or an event, except that the banner content is variable and may even update in real time. Live banners are built using technologies such as Adobe Flash, Java, or Microsoft Silverlight, and usually employ animation together with text, images, graphics, sounds and video to catch the viewer’s attention. Depending on the banner design, any of these multimedia elements may be defined as dynamic and therefore variable.
In order to display current or relevant content, live banners typically have the ability to retrieve external data from a web server and display it on the fly, enabling them to present marketing opportunities in real-time. For example, a live banner for an airline might promote last-minute seat availability on the day’s flights, at special prices. Other forms of live banner can detect the viewer’s location and tailor the advertising message accordingly, for example by switching to a different language or showing a price in local currency.
Live banners have been used by major advertisers to launch or showcase special events, such as Nike’s launch of www.nikefootball.com in May 2008. Images of Nike athletes performing at the highest level of competition were captured and crafted into banner ads within minutes of the action happening on the field.
GE, working with Beeby Clark+Meyler may have been the first company to deliver a live webcast of their annual report to investors in a banner ad campaign, using technology from rich media company EyeWonder to stream Chairman-CEO Jeff Immelt in February 2008.
In March 2009, Visa Inc. announced a global advertising campaign called “Go” featuring rich media banner ads with live video feeds of people enjoying themselves in six major cities, with Google map-based ads showing merchants close to the viewer. The campaign was created jointly by AKQA and TBWA\Chiat\Day.
An editing & publishing platform for the management of live banners was introduced in 2009 by Studio Magenta, a Thai company. The platform, named Immedium, is used by web advertisers to update online advertising campaigns using only a web browser, or to feed live banners with content from on online database.
In December 2008, a Danish company called LiveAds, introduced a new banner editing platform, allowing the users to edit their online banner campaigns directly through a web interface. LiveAds is built on flash technology, which allow the users to create feature-rich banners, by creating their own graphic and text animations, editing layers and contents on the fly.
Live banners have been slow to catch on with advertisers generally despite their potential to alert customers to immediate or time-sensitive sales offers. The reasons for this are not well known but may be related to the costs and technical complexities and the cautious response from media portals to displaying dynamic advertising content which they are unable to view and approve in advance.