Ever since the late 90s, the effectiveness of traditional banner ads has been plummeting. As an increasing number of people got exposed to an ever-growing number of banner ads, more and more have become banner blind. Scientists coined this term in 1998. to illustrate the phenomenon that people began consciously or unconsciously ignoring all banner advertisements on websites worldwide. Luckily for advertisers, a solution for this issue exists today, and it came in the form of rich media ads.
This innovative ad format that started gaining traction over the last decade solved many issues that traditional banner advertising suffered from. Rich media ads felt like a breath of fresh air with their interactiveness, highly engaging visuals, and overall better user experience. They were the perfect solution for the bad taste that banner ads left in many peoples’ mouths.
According to VIEO Design, 83% of consumers agreed that not all ads are bad, just the obnoxious ones. And yes, you have to agree that the old-fashioned online advertising methods like pop-ups and banner ads were obnoxious!
So what are these rich media ads? What makes them so superior to traditional online advertising? How can they help improve user experience and drive more conversions? These are just some of the questions we’ll address in this extensive guide. So let’s begin with the basics!
The definition of rich media ads is pretty straightforward — they are online advertisements that use rich media visuals to appeal to users. Rich media formats are things like:
These can (and often will) include text too, but it will be mixed in with one of the above highly interactive visuals to stand out in the sea of generic adverts.
The dynamic possibilities of rich media formats allow advertisers to easily catch users’ attention when scrolling down a web page. From movement in the form of animation and videos over attention-grabbing sounds to interactive elements like expanding the advertisement itself, hovering over it, or taking specific actions on it, rich media technology proved to be the perfect choice for revitalizing your advertising endeavors.
After all, what would you prefer to see on a website — a dull, static background brimming with all kinds of irritating banners or a dynamic backdrop that reacts to your on-site movements and actions, bringing the website to life?
We believe the answer is clear!
Rich media ads are quite distinct compared to other online advertising formats and carry plenty of benefits. Here are some of the most notable features of rich media ads that make them stand out:
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|Feature||Rich Media Ad Specs|
|Format||HTML, .gif, .png, .jpeg, .mp4, .mov|
|File Size||>200 KB|
|Use of Video||Video Supported|
|Interactivity||Expansions, Sounds, Video, Actions|
|Tracking||Can track multiple clickthrough links|
|Special Features||Polls, Minigames|
Before we begin exploring the different types of rich media ad formats, let’s clearly emphasize the reasons you should use them:
Now that all the benefits of these ads are as clear as day, let’s see what rich media ad formats are there.
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Like most aspects of digital advertising, advertisers have plenty of choices between multiple rich media ad formats. There is no single best type out there, as different ads will suit various business needs. That is why your choice will entirely depend on your brand’s budget, means, and goals. Here is a short overview of the three general types of rich media ads, followed by some specific examples to help you decide:
In-page ads appear in-between the contents of a web page or on the page’s sides as various types of banners. These ads don’t distract users from the contents of a web page too much as they usually disappear as users scroll down the page.
These types of ads aren’t bound to the web page you’re viewing and usually manifest in the form of various pop-ups. These types of rich media ads are the least favored among users as they negatively impact their on-page experience due to pop-ups. We suggest you avoid this format whenever possible.
This ad format is restricted to video ads and encompasses pre-, mid-, and post-roll video ads. These ads play before, during, or after a video finishes and are among the best advertising options for publishers with a lot of video content. Instream video ads are regarded as better options for UX than their outstream counterparts.
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The following examples of rich media ads are just some of the most popular types currently used on the market. Take a look at how professionals use them nowadays and their pros and cons before settling for any.
Didn’t we just condemn banner ads as ineffective? Traditional banner ads, maybe. But rich media technology brings an entirely new dimension to them, making them a feasible choice if not overdone.
Here are some useful tips you can follow to implement banner ads into your rich media advertising campaign successfully:
Not even rich media can do magic on banner ads, but it can make them useful if done correctly. As you can see from our advice above, the key to success with banner ads is to use them sparingly, not overdo them, and not have high expectations. In other words, rich media banner ads are a decent choice for a supporting advertising method, but not even rich media technology can make them a highly converting traffic source.
Expandable ads are a handy rich media ad type that allows users interested in the advertised message to learn more about it without redirecting them to a landing page. This ad type is an excellent choice for marketers who wish to make the most out of a banner-advertising model but want to optimize the user experience.
There are two key things to keep in mind if you wish to give these types of ads a try:
If you’re still skeptical about the effectiveness of expandable ads, don’t be. According to research by IAB, users exposed to expandable rich media ads were 25% more likely to convert than those exposed to regular banner ads.
Interstitial ads usually appear as a full-screen pop-up that users need to turn off to access a page’s contents. These ads are most commonly used on mobile phones and are most effective when used as CTAs once users finish interacting with a web page’s content.
Although this type of ad can be considered disruptive, if it’s backed up with animations, rich visuals, or inviting users to interact with it, it can be quite a potent tool in any brand’s marketing arsenal. According to AppFlod, interstitial ads accounted for 70% of the mobile market ad revenue back in 2014. Unfortunately, these ads are nowhere nearly as effective on desktop, so consider how your audience accesses your content when deciding whether to use these ads.
Pushdown rich media ads are an excellent alternative to expandable ads. Unlike their expandable counterparts, these ads don’t overlay the page’s content but instead push it down. Because of that, these ads support a variety of different rich media formats and usually get more impressions and interactions than expandable ads. Unfortunately, they still suffer from the same issues as their counterparts regarding potential UX disruption on mobile devices.
Slider ads usually appear as an image or video acting as an outstream ad unit and appearing from one of the corners of the users’ screen and following them as they scroll down the page. Depending on how these ads are set up, they can be highly intrusive or effective in gaining users’ attention.
For instance, if the slider ad appears as a sticky video ad with autoplay enabled, it’s likely to frustrate users. If the slider ad is too big, it will take too much of the users’ screen. That will likely result in their shutting it down or leaving the page. These types of ads are a double-edged sword, so be careful when implementing them.
Do you think rich media ads are worth incorporating into your marketing campaigns with all of the above in mind? We sure do!
These ads provide better ROI than most traditional forms of online advertising and offer various design options, ranging from animations and gifs to full-length videos. These possibilities allow advertisers to tell their brand’s stories in a much more compelling manner. At the same time, they offer the long-needed solution to banner blindness. And in a world where user experience is becoming more crucial by the day, these ads provide plenty of flexibility to optimize for it.
So what are you waiting for? Start brainstorming, choose the rich media ads that best fit your business goals, and start converting!
Best of luck to you!