Last year, Google and MediaVest reported on a brainwave-tracking study about banner ads. According to the ad giants, banner ads rated a 6.3 in effectiveness—which was said to be a "very encouraging score." But combined with overlays, the effectiveness of banner ads increases to 6.6. This is because users find the combination of overlays and banners especially "compelling and engaging."

Now, New Media-lytes, it's time to put these stats to good use. Q1 of 2009 is an ad buyer's market: the media sites your demographic loves to visit are dying to drop ad rates and cut deals. Google and MediaVest's findings indicate creativity is key, and engagement crucial. Some ideas:

Play with your medium. Last month, Apple wowed consumers—and a very chatty blogosphere—with this display ad effort on Yahoo Games, where the website actually danced to the rhythm of an iPod touch. And at, a clip for Wario Land: Shake It!, starts out innocuously enough, then wreaks havoc on YouTube itself!

Use rich media. If you find site shake-ups a little too gimmicky, consider a rich media ad where creative can play outside the lines, like this eyeball-seizing effort for TombRaider by Eyeblaster. (Eyeblaster makes it easy to execute standard video ads and overlays, too. They even help with demo-targeting and conversion tracking.)

The Po!nt: Change that tune! While rivals let the doldrums get them down, you can serve a huge range of entertainment-starved users by trying out a couple of easy new media tricks.

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