BuzzFeed, which has long eschewed banner ads, tried out one, for the NBCUniversal streaming comedy service Seeso, over the weekend.
The digital media site has long favored custom-made native ads over external banner ads. The add for Seeso, which was first spotted by a Politico Media editor ran only on Saturday and Sunday. NBCUniversal, of course, invested some $200 million in BuzzFeed last summer.
"It is a one-off test for a client, and we're constantly experimenting and testing with our ad products," a BuzzFeed spokeswoman said.
BuzzFeed has long run banner ads that connect to in-house native ads. Those ads, the spokeswoman said, generally drive brand awareness, rather than purchase intent. The Seeso experiment was meant to see whether a banner ad could actually drive intent.
BuzzFeed's antipathy to the traditional banner is even mentioned on the company's jobs page. It reads, in part: "BuzzFeed is at the forefront of a major shift in the advertising industry away from traditional banner ads towards 'social advertising' that engages consumers, inspires sharing, and produces social lift, or 'earned media.'"
At this point, it doesn't appear that BuzzFeed is jumping into the banner ad game, though it's worth noting that some of its digital competitors, such as Mic and Mashable, have found banner ads to still be worth their while.