Beware these 6 banner ads

Banners aren’t disappearing anytime soon, no matter what you hear about the growing influence of native advertising. There were 4.7 trillion U.S. display ad impressions in 2013, according to comScore.

There’s opportunity for publishers to actually make banners more palatable to readers. First, though, they need to know which banner ads should never see the light of day.

Here are six types still sneaking onto publisher sites:

Offensive ads:
This seems like a no-brainer, right? With programmatic channels serving ads, it’s getting tougher and tougher for publishers to know exactly which ads are coming from where. For example, we found this display ad on the Spanish-language news site La Opinion just last month.

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Deceptive ads:
Too often, publishers run these ads not knowing that they are in fact deceiving the reader. Take this ad we found on the U.K. version of, also in May.

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Totally not a joke. If you believe that, then I have bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. When you click on the ad — because you think you just won a new car! or 20,000 euros — you get to a page that wants your email address.

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Malware ads:
Which is more disturbing: the fact that malware still exists or that malware is still very effective? In this phishing scam, the advertiser showed a message to the user that mimics a Firefox update message.

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Even worse, the banner tries to automatically download a file to the user machine with malware – this is a Trojan for detection for password-using keyloggers.

When people clicked on the ad below, it automatically started to download a file that includes AdWare. Infected computers would then be served all kinds of other ads when they were visiting sites.

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Ads that slow down the page:
Ads that take a long time to load (e.g., flash high CPU) or very big file size negatively affects the page. This influences the loading time of the page, and visitors may opt to leave site if it takes to long time to load (due to the ads). Other problematic ads that slow down pages are ads with auto-sounds. Autoplay is a terrible digital ad tactic.

Faulty landing pages:
Landing pages are another land mine. This could be landing page error 404 or landing page that has no content. This ad on the Australian version of The Economist, for example, led nowhere when we clicked on it a few weeks ago.

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App redirect ads:
On mobile devices, the current most problematic ads are mobile auto redirects. This when the app user, after clicking on the app, will be redirected from the app to the Playstore or iTunes. Worse, though, is when an auto-download of other applications begins, like this ad on the Columbian site These types of redirect ads can, in some cases, contain malware.

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Not all’s doom and gloom; there are ways to combat this. In order to prevent these types of ads from popping up on their sites, publishers can look to ad verification services to detect these low-quality ads.


  • GeoEdge is the premier provider of ad verification and transparency solutions for the online ‎and mobile advertising ecosystem. The company ensures high ad quality and verifies that sites ‎and apps offer a clean, safe, and engaging user experience. GeoEdge guards against non-‎compliance, malware, inappropriate content, data leakage, operational, and performance ‎issues.‎ Leading publishers, ad platforms, exchanges, and networks rely on GeoEdge’s ‎automated ad verification solutions to ‎monitor and protect their ad inventory. To find out how ‎GeoEdge can enhance your quality assurance and verify your online and mobile campaigns, ‎head to ‎
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