Author: Gary Dalton, Director of Client Strategy, Juice Design
March 13th 2012 - A common online definition of rich media is 'a broad range of interactive digital media that exhibit dynamic motion, taking advantage of enhanced sensory features such as video, audio and animation.' The key word here is 'interactive' and the fact that advertisers can use animation graphics, video and sound to create seriously compelling online ads, which are at least worth a second glance.
The term 'rich media' was once used to simply describe an online advert with a file size over 40kb. Thankfully, things have moved on a bit since then and now with 'adservers' such as MediaMind and DoubleClick and the advent of 'polite downloads' file sizes are far less of an issue - which opens up a world of opportunity to seriously engage with customers new and old.
For some time now there has been a move away from judging online advertising solely on 'click through rates' (CTR) and to start focusing on interactivity, engagement and most importantly dwell time.
Consumers no longer want to be sold at and advertisers want to give their consumers an ever more innovative, entertaining and positive brand experience. Rich media ads can deliver all of this by providing valuable and worthwhile content that viewers will want to engage with, talk about and share.
The exciting thing is that with the ongoing introduction of new technologies and formats, and restrictions being lifted, the potential is limitless.
What are the benefits?
The benefits of rich media advertising are clear. The first key thing is that consumers are in control. They can decide if and when they want to interact with an ad and they decide how much of it they want to consume.
Done in the right way and ensuring relevant, interesting content the units will drive sharing, data capture and referrals making them work much harder than standard online ads, without being intrusive.
They can also ensure a much richer brand experience for the consumer and allow an organisation to deepen their connection, drive differentiation and build reputation. And what's more all the research shows that done correctly rich media ads drive far better results and a much higher ROI.
According to MediaMind's research in every region worldwide rich media click through rates (CTR) outperform standard banners by an average of 3.5 times. In Europe average CTRs for rich media ads are double that of standard banners.
Our own experience of creating rich media campaigns for clients has seen CTRs doubled or even tripled, which can largely be attributed to the increased engagement and dwell times. In fact ads with high dwell time convert 69% more web traffic according to MediaMind research.
It goes without saying that video content is a key ingredient to encourage interaction and dwell time. Research has shown that it doubles the amount of time users spend in the ad and makes them 25% more likely to interact with the ad in the first place.
The effectiveness of rich media ads is being enhanced further by the increasing number and more innovative formats coming into force. Expanding MPUs, skys and leaderboards will always have a part to play but formats such as sidekicks, expanding floor ads, homepage takeovers, video extenders and pushdowns are proving very effective as once activated take up a larger portion of the screen.
This gives advertisers the opportunity to provide an even more compelling brand experience, increases the amount of content and gives the best possible experience away from the website.
Rich media works. Of course it's more expensive than knocking out a few standard banners or rotating gifs, but it doesn't have to cost the earth and will not only deliver a far superior brand experience for consumers but it will also significantly increase CTR through far better engagement and dwell time.
The really exciting bit for agencies and advertisers alike is that with ever increasing new technologies the possibilities are literally endless. Our own personal experience is come up with an idea and if you can imagine it then it's largely do-able.
Some examples of our work
Gary Dalton is Director of Client Strategy at Juice Design, a Surrey based design agency who specialise in digital rich media advertising campaigns