Is it time to put all those static banners ads on the digital shelf?
I initially set out to write about the merits of standard banner advertising vs. rich media ads. I was all set to pit the two against each other and weigh the good, the bad and the ugly. But the more I researched, the more I realized it’s really a one horse race and rich media wins every time. So while I’ll still be comparing the two, know this: You should be using rich media ads. And there are 3 great reasons why:
- Breaking Blindness
- Increased Click-Through Rates
- Higher Engagement
But First, What is Rich Media?
“Rich media is a digital advertising term for an ad that includes advanced features like video, audio, or other elements that encourage viewers to interact and engage with the content.” Thanks Google! Or you know, advertising that’s NOT static. If you don’t mind me nerding out for a second, the difference between static banner ads and rich media makes me think of photographs in the Harry Potter universe. Static banner advertising is like the type of photo a muggle (non-magical folk/you and I) takes. A still image of a single point in time. Rich media, however, is the type of photo a witch or wizard takes. It moves, talks and interacts with you. It literally has the ability to wave its hands and scream “look at me!” Which stands in stark contrast to a typical static banner ad which sits there and quietly tries to get your attention. That’s pretty powerful. Take a look for yourself.
Reason #1: Breaking Blindness
Believe it or not, as users we have a debilitating eye affliction: Banner Blindness. It’s a thing! What it basically means is we are growing so used to seeing lots of “things” on a web page, we’re just ignoring them. Static ads are no different than any other static element on a web page and us users are just glossing over them without even knowing it. But rich media breaks that. Rich media grabs our attention and breaks that blindness. (See hand-waving and screaming above) And that at its core is what gives rich media the attention-seeking upper hand. It has the power to directly communicate or interact with its viewer and stand out above the crowd. Which makes it more memorable and creates better brand awareness. In other words, it’s difficult to ignore and forces you to pay attention.
Reason #2: Increased Click-Through Rates
Reason #2 and #3 go hand-in-hand. You see now that you have the attention of your customers, you want them to act. And again, rich media comes out on top in this area as more and more users are clicking-through. Now back in 2014, users were clicking through at an extreme high rate of 267% more than static ads. But by 2016, that came down to a more realistic rate of 69% globally and 50% in North America. That’s still pretty staggering, but it’s only part of the equation. Because with rich media, you don’t always have to click on anything or leave the ad to fully engage your clients.
Reason #3: Higher Engagement
Rich media allows us to move beyond just simple clicks and look at interaction and engagement and what you see is that customers are more likely to engage with rich media ads. A majority of the time, everything the consumer can/should do is completely contained within the ad itself and you never have to leave. They are watching videos, playing games, sharing and liking rich media at a very high rate. That’s why it’s important to look at more than just the CTR. Rich media lifted engagement 7.44 times more than standard banners globally and 8.07 times more in North America. All-in-all, that’s a significant jump. And it’s that way all across the board all over the globe.
The Big Dance
Picture online marketing as a big dance. You are sitting on the bleachers with everyone else from your school hoping someone comes over to ask you cut a rug. What do you think would be more effective to get someone’s attention? Standing still as a statue with your hands in your pockets or dancing in your seat with megaphone shouting “who wants to boogie?” I think the answer is pretty clear. It’s why static banner ads are a waltzing, fading relic of the past and rich media is the #inmyfeelings challenge (look it up) of today. So put on your best bib & tucker and get out on the dance floor.