While the revered banner ad may be celebrating his 18th birthday this year, the rich media ad has gone through many transformations and rebirths — much like everyone else’s favorite 18 year old, Justin Bieber. Through proper media strategy, creative innovation, and emerging technologies rich media can be the most effective component of your digital campaign.
But, how do you achieve this Rich Media Enlightenment in an age of buzzwords, industry acronyms, and the threat of the newest, shiniest object in technology?
Follow these 5 simple guidelines and you will reach total rich media enlightenment.
1) Harmony – it is more than what you won’t hear when I sing karaoke, it is a successful driver at increasing engagement with rich media ads. In my 10 years working in the world of rich media and online advertising, I’ve seen how ads on sites with related content are not only timelier and more relevant, but produce better results. I call this Content and Format Harmony – by getting the message to consumers when they are consuming content on a related topic they are more receptive to a related brand message.
One of my favorite examples is when data can pulled into the ad from the page the ad is on. Think about dynamically pulling in the price of a the vehicle the consumer is doing research on, cross-referencing that with current interest rates for auto loans and showing the consumer that the exact vehicle they are looking at, with those wheels and the cooling seats – they can have that for $XXX a month all by financing through their friendly ABC Bank. For the consumer it is simple and straightforward – because it is not a technologically overpowering ad, it is clear, effective, and relevant. Almost harmonious.
Content and Creative Harmony can extend to understanding the actual page the ad will be delivered and how that can allow for unique and effective creative ideas to come to life. A page takeover is typically intrusive, but with Content and Creative Harmony it becomes a symphony of brand awareness and interactivity.
2) Seek Attention – In seeking Rich Media Enlightenment it is necessary to seek attention first. By grabbing the user’s attention through engaging, eye catching animation and an inviting call to action, brands can cut through the advertising clutter and stand out amongst the page content.
All too often a creative concept is well thought out purely from an interaction and dwell perspective with loads of great rich advertising content, but the prompt for the user to initially engage is an afterthought.
Something to keep in mind is my Reverse Rodeo Rule: in an online ad you up to 8 seconds to grab the user’s attention, after that you have missed the opportunity to engage with the consumer as they have either scrolled down the page or are looking anywhere but at your ad.
While auto-expandable or outside the box concepts can work well, they can cause more headaches because of varying publisher specifications and of course from upset consumers. The best ads I have seen provide a clear and sometimes playful request for the consumer to engage and interact. Whether it is someone calling out to the user to “rollover here” or straightforward copy that makes a promise to the consumer that if they perform your desired action, you as the marketer will reward them with something. This digital tangible could be purely informational, entertainment, or maybe it is something of monetary value that will save them money or is that something they truly want and need.
Just cause you built it, doesn’t mean they’ll dwell. Seek the user’s attention and tell them what they will get in exchange for their time spent with the brand.
3) Targeted Message – Contextual relevancy is powerful, but what about behavioral, geographical, and based upon demographics? Don’t make online ads harder on themselves – make sure you always deliver the best message to the right consumer all the time.
In world where Dynamic Creative Optimization is a reality, there is very little reason to not have every single ad your serve have some level of customization for the consumer the ad is being delivered to. MediaMind has seen Smart Versioning lift just about every measurable metric available. It is both what you know and who you know.
By optimizing the consumer’s ad experience, you are connecting with them at a new level of authenticity and developing a level of trust with them. Most consumers do not trust online advertising, because they have had bad experiences and feel like they are being shouted at. Create a great experience and talk to them.
4) Make Them Dwell – So there is harmony amongst the ad and page, you’ve engaged with them in a targeted and relevant manner, now it is as simple as getting them to spend time with your brand. Well it is not that simple for most folks, but it can be.
Through advances in technology and broadband penetration, any rich media ad can have as much content and interactivity as a microsite. Polite loads, sub SWFs, streaming video, you name it – there are some amazing ways to pack your ad with minutes (even hours) of new experiences.
Ads that have more content to interact with, will have longer dwell times and higher dwell rates.
Creating customized content for your ads can be as simple as repurposing existing site content and additional post-production for video. We’ve also seen exclusive, online-only (sometimes banner only) content work incredibly well, too. There is something especially powerful about limited availability and our innate interest in being one of the few that has seen something someone else hasn’t.
5) Get Them Talking – If a consumer has engaged with your targeted attention grabbing, harmoniously placed rich media ad, that has all sorts of great interactive content for them to dwell on, the next and final step for Rich Media Enlightenment is to get them to spread the good word about your brand, product, service, etc.
By using word of mouth to influence friends and followers, you can extend your paid media dollars to a whole new set of consumers that may have been missed in the original media buy.
But, if you want them talk, why not make it easy for them. Tap into your customers’ preferred social networks enabling them to quickly and effortlessly share. Just make sure what they are sharing follows rules of relevancy, authenticity, and is actually valuable and interesting enough to share.
With these 5 best practices, you can achieve total Rich Media Enlightenment, and an incredibly successful digital advertising campaign.
What do you think — did I miss any? How have you used any or all of these for a successful online ad campaign?
Let me know @rmanchee.
Ryan K Manchee is MediaMind’s resident technology visionary and creative strategist for North and Latin America, providing agencies, marketers and our technology partners with a prescient and strategic perspective on the shifting media landscape.