|Rethinking Banner Ads: Where Rich Media Trumps Click-Throughs|
|by Catherine Spurway|
According to market research firm Dynamic Logic, as more advertisers move their ad campaigns online, they are failing to capture the attention of banner-blind consumers. In fact, they say, poorly created ads can even hurt marketing efforts, reducing brand favorability and purchase intent.
Instead of buying lots of inventory to deliver static impressions, marketers should worry more about making impressions to tell their stories. It's the difference between watching "Avatar" in plain old 2-D, and feeling like you're living in another beautiful world viewing it in 3-D.
Rethinking banner ads means taking advantage of the immersion and engagement capabilities coming this year on the rich media front - both on the PC and iPhone - where the wave of a mouse can automatically trigger interactive video, expandable video, polling, gaming, click to call, photo uploads, real-time movie listings, send to a friend, data collection, mobile alerts, calendar reminders, sweepstakes, coupon downloads and wallpaper downloads.
Rich interactive digital marketing will push the envelope even further in technology, creative, targeting and measurement, allowing marketers to capitalize on relevant, localized consumer experiences across all digital formats, including display, social media, mobile and more.
If it's time to rethink banner ads as a 3-D experience, here are four technology capabilities you can take advantage of before the end of 2010:
High speed Internet connections have made Augmented Reality (AR) finally come of age. Blending computer-generated imagery over live video streams to create real-time dynamic video content, both Best Buy and Wal-Mart ran technology trials last year, and recently, Procter & Gamble gave it a test drive with its Always Infinity campaign.
Basic AR was just seen this past Super Bowl Sunday with the first down and line of scrimmage markers on NFL broadcasts. When more sophisticated programming is applied to online campaigns, the creativity factor can explode: for example, users can tap their inner graffiti artist to paint, pour, and spray their own banners... or advertisers can overlay customized store and model data over running video of the latest car model tearing up a test track.
Almost half of Internet users already watch online video and this number is expected to reach 85% in 2013, according to eMarketer. What will make 2010 different is the non-linear and more interactive video experiences that will take hold in the community. Marketers will increasingly leverage custom video experiences, synched ad units, high definition video, and interactive content to create a richer, more dynamic experience. In 2009, it was the campaigns of Kellogg's Special K Challenge, Ford's Mustang Peel Out, and the Sears Weed Wacker introduced the public to highly interactive and compelling video executions, paving the way for even more creative video in 2010.
Here is how these innovative video units will work:
• Custom video experiences and page takeovers can be produced by synchronizing site content and graphics with branded messaging and imagery.
• Synched units surround users with your brand's message, encouraging interaction with the ad, improving effectiveness.
• High definition (HD) ad units offer an eye-catching experience with unparalleled video quality.
• Video with interactive capabilities engages users with your brand, and increases time spent with your content as well as message association and brand recall.
Mobile software advances mean rich media growth
Mobile has been the tidal wave too big to ignore. Tap-to-expand rich media and video campaigns were served for the first time into the native iPhone environment in 2009. But this year, we'll see a gradual rollout of richer mobile experiences that will offer metrics and reporting, multiple creative and format capabilities as well as access to iPhone features such as GPS, accelerometer, contacts, camera, and the iTunes library.
When Adobe releases Flash Player 10.1 on smart phone mobile devices (including Nexus One, Android, Palm Pre) by the first half of this year, flash-powered ads will be served in that environment immediately expanding the mobile advertising landscape. With some slight optimizations specific for mobile phones, the same creative concepts that one sees on a web page can be brought to mobile.
Moving from Metrics to Actionable Learnings
Savvy marketers are moving beyond the click to understand the direct and indirect influences that interactive and engaging digital ads have on their brand. As comScore's chief research officer points out, many marketers miss in evaluating success by relying solely on the click: "Compelling selling messages, delivered in creative new ways and formats... evaluated based on holistic measures against communications objectives are never going to get old in this business."
In the coming year, actionable learnings will replace passive metrics in helping advertisers and agencies better understand the key drivers and insights that are fueling conversations and netting the best ROI. As targeting and data overlays become more important in engaging consumers, analytics and insights must be equally easy to implement and measure.
For example, with eCircular campaigns retailer and CPG marketers are now able to gain deepened audience intelligence and product preference data including which products, offers and creative elements drive response for a particular audience segment down to the geo, gender, age, behavior level and more.