Display advertising is very important to marketers – according to eMarketer they are expected to spend more on display than search this year – but the truth is that not all ads are created equally, with some formats resulting in low ROI and very few promising engagement metrics for marketers. Unfortunately, these bad banners are what many in the industry refer to as “standard” – ads with simple, often static, creative that is served to consumers and, in all likelihood, forgotten.
Marketers need to avoid these inadequate formats, and instead capitalise on rich media ads to reshape how consumers see and experience the brand’s advertising online.
Perhaps the best way to think of rich media is as the overlooked piece in the triangle of the digital ad ecosystem, along with programmatic and dynamic creative optimisation (DCO). Programmatic has revolutionised the mechanics of how online ads are bought and sold, and the steadily growing numbers prove that it is a permanent fixture. DCO is a perfect match for programmatic, because it allows a marketer to adjust the creative permutation that is delivered depending on different criteria, including the audience, their physical location, the weather in that location or even the consumer’s past purchase behaviour.
Programmatic and DCO govern how ads are bought and delivered. Rich media is the component that makes ads matter to the consumers. If brands are using programmatic to deliver targeted, data-driven buys, and investing in creative personalisation in order to get the best results, then it’s logical that they’d invest in rich media to deliver the most engaging creative.
Here’s a simple truth: consumers will engage with a brand if you give them a way to do so. Interactive rich media elements and “choose-your-own-adventure” style storytelling compel users to engage and remember a brand message. Consider video, which is another online format experiencing tremendous growth. Brands can choose to invest in pre-roll inventory, but if that same advertiser delivers video in a rich media banner or out-stream unit, and also includes interactive rich media elements, then consumers are much more likely to engage.
For ads to stand out in today’s crowded media marketplace, they need to follow a recipe that is equal parts appropriate targeting, relevant messaging, and interesting creative. Trying to execute a campaign without one of these elements would be the same as a BLT without the tomato, or a gin and tonic without the lime. Yes, it’s a similar experience, but there’s very clearly something missing.
So-called “standard” banners ads can only deliver that subpar experience. Even packaged together with programmatic delivery and creative optimisation, these ads can only go so far. To get the most out of online media’s impressive data capabilities, marketers need to leverage rich media to deliver the kind of interactive elements that consistently drive engagement and brand recall.